This is 34

This photo was taken 10 years ago at my 24th birthday party with girlfriends at Coast (BYOB sushi) in Wicker Park // no filter, probably taken with a Blackberry phone, less responsibility, more makeup // remember going out tops?  //  So much has changed in ten years that it makes my head spin.

I turn 34 tomorrow, on November 21st and I can’t believe how fast it’s snuck up on me.  Once I started to think about my age along with what happened while I was 33, I became overwhelmed.  34 seems so…grown-up–so, mid-30s.  Yes, I have kids, a home, etc, but there’s something about that pesky number that’s looming.  A lot of things have happened while I was 33 that made me feel more grown up, too (slight trigger warning below):

  • We went under a contract with a house we loved.
  • We lost the house we loved when the sellers decided not to sell.
  • We bought another house (the house we live in) and it’s now our home.
  • We sold our condo in Wicker Park (I miss it).
  • We moved to the suburbs – I mean that alone was the biggest culture shock of all (read why we did it here).
  • I decided to leave my job of 6.5 years to pursue blog opportunities and to work on a passion project (that will hopefully be more of a full-time gig next year)!  That was a VERY big change.  I don’t think I fully realized how much of a change it was until a couple months in (read about my career change here).
  • I decided to stay home with my kids two days a week during the transition, which was another huge departure from working 45+ hours a week in an office.
  • We took the kids on their first international trip (the Bahamas, but still–they needed passports!).  They had an amazing time.
  • I took on several renovation projects (see painting and powder room remodel here); our house is currently under construction (master bathroom/bedroom) as we speak.
  • I got pregnant.
  • I had a miscarriage (last month) – it was pretty traumatic.
  • I’m hosting my first ever Thanksgiving in our new home (and Christmas!  But I’ll be 34 by then).  And now with the holidays approaching, all I think is how I wish my dad could see our new home.

Quite the year – and I know that’s not even everything.  Life is chaotic, beautiful, stressful, and goes by faster with every passing year.  I’m grateful that you’re following along with me, whether you’ve been around for years or are just tuning in.  Thank you for being here and cheers to a new year.

49 comments

  1. I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. I’ve also had one and never expected it to be so difficult to deal with. Allow yourself time to grieve, talking about it definitely helps! Thinking of you!

  2. Hi! Been following along with you since you were about 26, now I’m 25 and I still love reading and sharing in what you post.

    Thank you for being vulnerable and just real in the digital space. I’m sitting here drinking coffee before I pack up to head home for Thanksgiving and reading your post, feeling a lot of the same feelings but for different reasons as I’m more or less a stage of life behind you.

    It feels encouraging and hopeful to read your blog. Happy 34th!

    Emily

    • Thank you, Emily! I love that you can relate–we all go through these emotions no matter where we are in life. Hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. I turned 34 this year as well and this is so relatable. Bought our first house in the boonies as well. I love it, and also hate that I can’t get to the city in 10 min anymore. Life is so crazy with the ups and downs. So sorry to hear your loss, but how amazing to have 2 healthy babes. I thank God for mine every day. I had my second in March, and developed a scary bacteria infection post birth. Was in the hospital for 8 days with a 2 week old and 4 year old. Hardest thing I’ve ever been through, but the perspective I’ve gained on life and what is important has been life changing. Cheers to 34 years mama.. may you not need Botox yet.. like me 🤪

  4. thank you for being so open. So so sorry for your miscarriage- it IS so traumatic- sending you my thoughts….
    I also had a miscarriage and lost my dad to lung cancer last summer. His absence hits me hard at the most random moments, from the mundane to big milestones. I know holidays are especially hard. Stay strong!

    • Oh, Sophia, I am so sorry for your losses. Losing a parent is so incredibly painful…the holidays are especially hard for so many nostalgic reasons. Hope you can find a way to enjoy Thanksgiving. Take care of yourself! xo

  5. Thank you for sharing this–I’m a long-time follower and am rooting for your happiness! I’ll be turning 35 in January and that “mid-thirties” classification is indeed terrifying. My husband and I have not been able to have children (early trimester miscarriages), but we also did the house thing (and moved my mother-in-law in!) and career change at 33-34. It’s a lot, but we’re better and stronger for it. Wishing you luck with your Thanksgiving dinner (I have no doubt it’ll be a huge success) and hugs for all of the changes and bittersweet nostalgia the holidays bring. <3

    • Julie – I’m so so sorry for your losses. That’s just so hard…plain and simple. Congrats on the new house, though and hope the transition is going smoothly for you! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family. xo

  6. Happy 34th! I turn 40 next week, and found that I enjoyed my late 30s much more than my early 30s–I felt more confident in myself and my decisions and where I am.

    And I am so sorry to hear about the miscarriage. Though I (gratefully) did not ultimately have one, I had a complicated second pregnancy and the threat of miscarriage was ever-present. It was a terrible, frightening, draining time. I hope you are being gentle and good to yourself. Best wishes.

    • Thank you so much, Laura! Your message gives me some hope that the mid/late 30s are going to be the best of times 🙂 . Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. So sorry to hear about your loss. I’ve had several and know how devastating it can be. Time will help but it’s okay to heel on your own timeline. Sending hugs your way.

  8. Sending you love… can’t imagine how painful a miscarriage and missing your dad is, especially around the holidays. That’s for sharing this part of your life, and for sharing your sweet kids.

  9. I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks this past June and July (it was a long process). It was really brutal physically and emotionally. I’m so sorry for your loss and I thank you for sharing. I like it when people with a platform talk about their own miscarriage experiences (if they feel comfortable). It really normalizes (? is that right word?) the experience for me. (I still feel like I’m going through it a bit, months later. Especially since we’re still hoping for another baby).

    • It HAS been a long process (another thing I wasn’t prepared for); I’m so sorry for your loss…it just sucks (not eloquent, but it does). It is weird how hush hush miscarriages are, but I don’t feel uncomfortable sharing it, so I thought I would..we’re all human and bad things happen to all of us. Hoping some good news comes your way soon! xo

  10. Happy birthday, my fellow scorpio/sagittarius! My birthday is this weekend and I’m turning 47. It feels like yesterday I was 34. Big changes, big happenings (joyful and otherwise) are the fabric of life, especially in your thirties/forties. I’ve enjoyed your journey immensely this year except for that news about your miscarriage. Miscarriages are awful. Had a bunch. It still hurts and it was years ago. Hug your cute boys and husband tighter. Have an amazing 34th year!

    • Happy early Birthday, Jen! Ugh, and I am so sorry you went through many miscarriages…it’s horrible! Thanks so much for the note and Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. First – Happy Birthday! I think you will find 34 amazing and fun. I hope it’s filled with new adventures for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. One of the things I love about following your blog and social media is how open you are. Like a poster above I hope you’ve been able to take care of yourself amongst the busyness that is all around you. Have a fabulous birthday and cheers!

  12. Anna, I’ve followed your blog for a long time and it’s a favorite of mine. I’ve never posted a comment but felt moved to say that I’m sincerely sorry for your loss. I hope you are finding much comfort and love in your family and friends – including your blog readers – we’re all rooting for you! Happy Birthday!

  13. Hi, Anna! I am long time lurker and huge fan of your blog. I’m so sorry for your miscarriage, but thank you so much for talking about it. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and it was really devastating. It always feels awkward to talk about for some reason, like it’s some taboo secret, but I’ve been comforted by the times I’ve been able to talk about it with other women who have had similar experiences.

    Getting older is weird, isn’t it? I’m also in my thirties, and I keep forgetting my age…like I accidentally tell people I’m a year younger than I really am when people ask and then have to correct myself 30 seconds later! I think this is the best decade so far though. Happy 34th!

    • I’m so sorry for your loss, T. I also took comfort in friends/family members telling me of their experiences with miscarriage. Nothing I would wish upon anyone, but it helped me get through it.

      Also, I still think I’m 27, although the mirror says otherwise 😉

  14. So sorry to hear of your loss. There’s nothing worse- something you wouldn’t wish on your enemies. Hugs to you. You are so good at what you do. Keep it up! Happy birthday.

  15. Sarah Bradley says:

    33 was quite the year for you and your family. Many ups and downs. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry to hear about the miscarriage. It is so traumatic and you definitely aren’t alone. Hugs.

  16. First, you rocked 33 and it shows! It’s such a pleasure to follow along on your blog, and you always come across as very authentic. It’s a treat to read every post! Happiest of birthdays to you! Secondly, I am so deeply sorry for your miscarriage and the loss of what could have been that comes with it. While I have not experienced one myself, I personally had a health scare and emergency surgery this year (followed by a lengthy hospital stay to treat the infection that had spread throughout my body), and goodness, does such an event put your heart and mind in a tailspin. You just want to hug your babies so hard afterward (I couldn’t and still can’t get enough hugs and kisses in with my own two boys). Biggest of hugs to you for sharing this grief with your readers. I am wishing you a light and love filled 34th trip around the sun.

  17. I’m sorry for your miscarriage. I had one this year as well, at 12 weeks. It was difficult but I very much felt God with me through the whole process, and it gave me even more gratitude for the son I already have.
    Thank you for sharing, I don’t know why they’re always kept so hush-hush when they happen to so very many people. It is helpful to hear other people’s stories and know you’re not alone. Wishing you healing and recovery and a better 34.

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