Tomorrow I’ll be turning 27, it’s my birthday! Aside from being excited this week to celebrate my actual birthday, I’ve been spending some time really thinking about this past year and what it means to me. If you’re like me, most birthdays come and go and then you move on with your life. I am not one to celebrate all week, or month, or have a big celebration or anything. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing that though, I just don’t! Each year I typically look at my birthday as just another year of getting older, but this year is different. This past year has shaped me and changed me in so many incredible way. In fact, so many pivotal moments this year for myself that I needed to write a whole blog about it!
I can tell you this about my life right now: I have never felt more like who I truly am as a person than I do today, and it’s all thanks to this past year! This past 26th year of life, I really feel like I found who I am as a person and I really feel like I ‘know’ myself now. For a number of years now, my business has been my life. I defined myself as my business and my work. However now, I know what defines me as a ME, and it’s such a wonderful feeling. One of the greatest things that happened to me this year was a desire to run my first race, it came from nowhere. I wasn’t a runner, had no idea where to start…but I just knew I wanted to do it. Like I said before, for years I identified myself as my business, it was WHO I was. In the years past, I didn’t have many hobbies. So when I asked my husband one day if it was a crazy idea for me to run a 10K and he responded with ‘no, you should totally do that!’, to say I was surprised was an understatement. Not that I was surprised at the encouragement, Daniel supports me in everything I have ever done! I was surprised because I wasn’t a runner, and hadn’t been very athletic in years previous. So with his support & encouragement, I went for it. I took it very seriously, training for the 10K. I wanted to be able to run the entire time and to feel strong, so I trained and I worked hard. I took the training and actual race day probably more serious than some, I really wanted this for me and I was determined to do it. On the race day, Daniel dropped me off and I wondered by myself to the starting area. Yes, I ran completely by myself…kind of weird but again I was doing this for me! At this point you’re probably thinking ‘Julieanne, it’s just a 10k…’. You’re correct! However, I feel like it’s important to note that through my entire life I was never very athletic. I never played sports growing up, I hid in the back during dodgeball in high school, and the idea of running before brought one word to my head: TORTURE. So the race day comes and I remember standing at the start line, by myself surrounded by other runners, and all of a sudden I got teary-eyed. I was actually doing it, the time was now! The race began and off we went! I ran the entire race, all 6.2 miles of it. I don’t think there is another event in my life that I am prouder of than my very first race, I had worked really hard and achieved a major goal for myself. For the first time I had achieved something for myself, not a financial goal, not a business goal…just a goal for me.
I’ll never forget seeing my husbands face as I approached the finish line, his hands in the air cheering me on! Hearing my mother in law yelling ‘go Julieanne!!!’, above anything else, accompanied by my father in law & sister in law. Seeing their faces and excitement brought such an incredible emotion over me. Like I said, I never played sports growing up so I didn’t really understand the feeling of having loved ones cheering you on & the pride they have in you. At 26 years old, I felt that and it’s a feeling that is still with me. Now, this blog is NOT any kind of mushy, sappy post I promise! It’s an exciting one! Because of that 10k, I’ll be running in my first marathon in seven months…and I couldn’t be more pumped! Every time I sign up for a race now, whether it’s a 10k, 5k, or a marathon, it reminds me that I am capable of anything I set my mind to! Let that story serve as your reminder today that anything is possible!
This past year in my business, I feel like my work and what I stand for is 100% authentically me. It’s so hard at first when you start a business to really find WHAT your business will stand for, and the FEELING you want your business to disperse. Now more than ever, I don’t feel like my business is WHO I am. Rather, who I am, IS my business. Every part of Studio Lund and the work I do, it my heart and passion. It’s a scary thing to do, having your business become so open and authentic. Since it’s 100% authentic to me, I had fears if couples would like that? Would they like me? Would they like what I stand for in my business? Would they like me and Daniel? Now more than ever I feel like our ‘clients’ are an extension of us, I hate even referring to them as ‘clients’! Our SL couples embody everything we stand for in our company. We love all of our couples and it is such an honor for us to be there on their big day, the level of trust our couples place in us is incredible. Okay, story time! I used to think it would be too weird if I used any kind of rap music in my insta-stories…since I use one insta for my personal and business. Anyway, one day I just started doing it because lets face, it I love rap music. The suddenly I was talking with one of our brides about music and she was telling me how much she loves Post Malone too…BAM. The minute I became 100% authentically me in all areas of my business, I started connecting with our couples even more than before, and when you’re comfortable with someone the trust is there! It’s a gift I would never trade! PS: not to say you have to love rap music to work with us…I’ll still love you!!
As amazing and great as this year has been, it’s also had it’s struggles. Basically in my entire life I have always had problems with food. Occasional stomach aches and pains, as well as bloating here and there. But what used to be just a stomach ache has now transformed into something much different. In recent months sometimes I’ll eat a regular meal and hives will pop up all over my face. Other times, I’m fine. Sometimes I’ll eat something that’ll send me into so much pain that I end up in bed or on the ground clutching my stomach, feeling like knives are twisting around in my lower abdomen. Other times, I am fine. Sometimes I’ll eat something that’ll make me so bloated to the point of pain, other times I am fine. It’s not something I like to share, because let’s face it…it’s embarrassing. Who enjoys talking about stomach aches?? I am happy to say though, things have gotten better for me! This past year has been a learning experience about food for me. I’ve taken food sensitivity tests that have helped, and have read books and tons of literature on a variety of different topics to become educated in this area. I’m lucky that my issues have become basically controllable with a stricter diet, other people aren’t so lucky. So why bring up this topic? Well as frustrating and embarrassing as this has been to navigate and deal with, it’s been EMPOWERING. I have learned so much about food, the properties of food, food intolerances and allergies, it’s actually been exciting to learn so much! Instead of letting myself just continue on with how things were, I took action and got to work on how to make it better for myself as we wait for some answers. It’s all about perspective in situations like this, we have the opportunity to stand up and take action. Or we can just ride the ride and see what happens. I obviously chose the first option and it has been such an adventure. I’ve learned a lot as I said before, but I still have a ton to learn. I was so hesitant to share anything about this part of my life, but I casually mentioned in on insta one day and the response was amazing. So many people deal with issues related to food, it’s shocking. I felt like at that point I had no options BUT to share my struggles and story! There is something so empowering about taking control of things going on in your life, rather than just waiting for answers. I am so proud of myself for everything I have learned and the progress I have made so far! It’s amazing that changes in our life and decisions we make for ourselves can impact our lives so much in a positive way. In no way shape or form would my progress so far have been possible without Daniel, he is constantly my number one supporter and partner in ALL of this!
If I have learned anything this year, it’s that we weren’t created to just be on this earth and go with the flow, ride the ride, take the punches…whatever you want to call it. We were created to thrive in life, ALL of us. We all have issues or problems that will happen in life, but it’s how we handle them that shapes us. We get to wake up each morning and decide WHO we are and WHAT we stand for. No one gets to tell us who we are, what we stand for, what we are good at, or what we should do. It’s up to us to take control of our life and shape it into what WANT for ourselves. This year has been an incredible year of growth for me, I am so thankful for my 26th year and cannot wait to see what God has in store for 27!