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.
Here are the three biggest lessons I learned in the last year as well as my hopes and dreams for the year to come. And read my updates from 33, 32, and 31.
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.
Love this message! I am 32 and I can relate to all of these “learnings,” especially the asking for help part. Happy birthday and please keep the blog posts coming!
Thank you so much, Molly! And glad you can relate xx
Happy, Happy birthday fellow Cancer! ♋️ Thank you for your inspiring and thoughtful content!
Love me all of the Cancers! Thank you for following along.
Hope it is a wonderful day and a beautiful year ahead for you. All the best. Happy birthday.
Thanks Maureen xx
Happiest of birthdays to you! Hope you have a wonderful day being spoiled by Anel and Amalia!!
Happy birthday! I love how you broke this into what you’ve learned and hopes and dreams – I used to make lists each year of things I wanted to accomplish related to the number of years old I was turning, but stopped at 25 (it’s a lot!) and this seems like such a great way to reflect!
Hahaha yeah I can maybe accomplish 3, def not 34 lol. But love that idea in theory!
love this post! happy birthday friend! xoxo
xoxo love you!
Sounds like the best year yet, Happy Birthday!
Happy happy happy birthday, Julia!! You are an incredibly insightful person, and that is something to be proud of! Thanks for being a constant source of inspiration for me! So, I hope you CELEBRATE today!! Treat yourself to that glass of wine, or extra dairy free ice cream! 🙂 You deserve it on your day!! HBD!!!!
Thank you so much, Libby! And thank you for being such a loyal and engaged follower.
Happy Birthday Julia!
This post makes me so happy for your happiness…here’s to much more of that xo!
Aww thanks Kelly. You’re the sweetest and the best!
I am working really hard on #3 but some don’t seem to understand about me needing a moment to myself. Oh well. I will keep doing me!
It’s a hard one…
Happy Birthday sweet girl. Keep shining brightly for all of us. XXOO. Bondud
Thank you so much, BD! xo
Happy birthday! I’m a new mom of two (almost 5 week old and almost 3 year old) who has had major anxiety – i love your motherhood and anxiety posts bc I can really relate!! I hope this year brings you everything you are hoping for! 🙂
Congratulations on the new baby! I’m so sorry that you suffer from anxiety but glad that I bring you some comfort. We’re in it together!
Julia, I’ve been flowing your blog for a few years now and have loved flowing you through life’s many changes. As someone who has just turned 30 and has been an avid believer that my 30s will be my best decade yet, I say happy birthday to you!! I admire how you stay true to yourself and true to your followers. I always return to your blog for your take on raising a toddler ( I have bought many products you have recommended), to style inspo and so much more. Keep doing you girl and I look forward to what 34 has to bring.
Happy Birthday to YOU! I absolutely love your outlook! Thank you for being such a positive and realistic light. I am turning 30 next week and am so very excited for the next chapter that is to come, but sometimes still feel so unsure. Immersing myself in your blog posts help alleviate any fears I have and remind me to just breathe and remember I’m human. Thank you for being a little bit of “bubble-gum” for my brain & for sharing your journey with us!