Hello, I’m Julia and today I’m turning 34, which, in my opinion, sounds much older than it is. Because today I feel happier and more vibrant than I have in years!
Last year on my birthday I was still bogged down with anxiety but didn’t fully understand that at the time. I was still learning how to be the best mother that I could be and still take care of myself. It was a struggle every day but it felt normal because it was all I knew. I’m happy to report that one year later I feel confident in my parenting skills, and I’m living (mostly) anxiety-free.
Today, at 34, I am really living. I’m wearing crop tops in public (who’d have thought), being more social than ever (a big deal for this introvert), and enjoying every moment (ok most moments, not the meltdowns) with my daughter.
It feels like I’m heading into a big transitional year where I hope to figure out the next steps of life. Everything finally feels comfortable and settled in my life for the first time in a long time so I’m in no rush to make big changes, but I know they’re on the horizon.
Top and Skirt Set (gifted)
3 lessons I learned this year
1. Ask for help when you need it. In the past, I’ve often felt like I have to be superwoman, getting everything done on my own and powering through it even when times get tough. This year, that changed. I ask Anel, family, and friends for help without any guilt. And I’ve learned that the people you love want to do favors for you, the same way you want to do favors for them. It’s ok to ask and ok to accept a helping hand.
2. Never stop learning. Never stop growing. I’ve learned a lot this year, and hope to continue to do so in the next year. The second you feel too comfortable, learn something new. I’ve been trying to educate myself on sustainability over the last few months and I feel like I learn something new every single day. There is so much knowledge out there and so many causes that we could be more educated on, so pick the ones that matter most to you and do the work to educate yourself on them.
3. Protect your mental health. It goes without saying at this point that my mental health has been a major focus over the last year. And part of that was learning how to protect it. I no longer put myself in situations that make me panicky. I avoid the things that make me feel out of control, and I explain to the people around me when I need a minute to myself.
My hopes and dreams for 34
Family: I finally feel ready to start talking about having a second baby. Last year I wrote that it might happen but we never felt ready. For a while, I felt pressure from family and friends who constantly asked when we were going to do it. But they’ve backed off since Anel and I have been super clear that we’re going to wait until the time is right for us, not for everyone else. Although at this precise moment in time, it’s still not right, we do feel like that time is getting closer. Will it be this year? I honestly don’t know. But if we make that decision, I’ll be excited about it. And I’ve yet to feel that since Amalia was born.
Work: Blogging has been an incredible journey for me over the last 10 years, but the landscape changes so much and so often that it can be exhausting to navigate. It feels sometimes like everyone else is moving onwards and upwards to the next big thing whether it’s a podcast, a book, a clothing line, or another business. It’s not that I’m lazy, but I don’t feel like I have it in me emotionally to take that next step yet. Some days I get super jazzed about this one idea I have (not ready to share it yet!) and then others it seems totally overwhelming and I give up on it. This year I hope to either become fully ok with where I am or figure out what’s next!
Wellness: I feel healthier and stronger today at age 34 than I ever have before. Which I never thought would happen after having kids. My goal is to keep that going for as long as possible by eating (mostly) clean, exercising regularly, and not taking any of it too seriously. Part of the reason that I’ve lost some weight this year, I think, is because I stopped being so stressed about it. I’m enjoying my life in a way that I never have before and doing the things that make me feel happy. And I hope that I can keep that going at age 34, 54, and 94!
Photos by Julia Dags.