STYLE BEE - 32

32

05.08.19

Last week I celebrated my 32nd birthday and while we were driving to our weekend getaway Dave asked, “So how does 32 feel?”. In the past when I’ve answered this question I’ve always said, “Oh you know, about the same.” but this time I responded with, “Actually, pretty different!” and it’s true. Something about 32 really does feel different, as if a light has turned on and a subtle but undeniable shift is happening.

The best part about 32 so far? I’m feeling more like myself than ever before and at the same time, less resistant to change. This surprised me because change is usually something I avoid whenever possible and yet lately I’m feeling drawn to it. Maybe it’s my age or the spring season we’re in but it feels good and I’m rolling with it!

In today’s post I thought I’d share my birthday mantra, a few of the ways in which I’m leaning into a clearer sense of self at 32 and how small steps are leading to big changes. So let’s have a chat!



A BIRTHDAY MANTRA


I don’t put a lot of stock in astrology but I do enjoy the occasional indulgence. Nadine Jane is a favourite astrologer of mine and this month the Taurus Mantra really spoke to my core. It reads:

My life is changing. More than I would like it to. And while I am always the salt of the earth, I can’t help but change too. So this month, my month, I am going to grow into the new me. I am going to feel so attuned to myself that I won’t even notice you noticing me. I will feel the wholeness of my beautiful work in progress. 

– Nadine Jane Astrology

Reading these words left a lump in my throat. As they sank in I realized just how much I needed a reminder to believe in myself and to let go of some of the fears I’ve been holding onto.


STYLE BEE - 32
STYLE BEE - 32

LETTING GO OF PERFECTION


I’ve spent most of my years on this earth trying to please. Trying to be perfect and make everyone close to me happy. It’s exhausting and, of course, an exercise in futility. Perfection is highly overrated and you sure as sh*t can’t please everyone!

Loosening my grip on these debilitating tendencies has been a long process and I’m just getting going. Thanks to some professional help and guided introspection I’ve been able to start making small but noticeable changes.

So far it’s been as simple as things like; prioritizing down time, deciding not to stress about my grey hairs in photos, letting go of clothes that don’t fit right anymore or simply starting to create without a finely tuned plan. I’ve been learning that the steps to letting go might be small on their own but they can add up to something significant.


STYLE BEE - 32

LEANING INTO REAL LIFE


This year I made the decision to take a step back from my digital self and a step towards my real self and while slightly scary at first, it has been truly liberating. Releasing myself from some of the self-imposed pressures of social media has been incredibly impactful on my mental health and life overall.

I’m not suggesting we all quit social media all-together and yes, of course, it’s an incredible tool for lots of things. For me though, it had taken over more of my life than was healthy. Some people seem to be gifted at sharing their lives and selves so openly and so often. I’m realizing that perhaps I’m not one of those people and that’s ok.

Now my approach is to take it daily, weekly and monthly without putting any expectations on myself to post to IG. I share stories when there is new content on the blog or when it feels right on the feed.

I’m still letting my thoughts on this experiment percolate but so far I feel as though I’ve become a better partner and friend, a more present family member and a less distracted person in all areas of my life. I can also confirm that just because you didn’t ‘gram it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen!


STYLE BEE - 32

DREAMING BIG AND SAYING ‘WELL, MAYBE…’


This is my second year of self-employment and I’m beginning to feel more confident as a small business owner and creator. While those nagging fears of an overdrawn bank account and a radio silent inbox will always be present, I’m turning their volume down a little. Next on the list is that irritating little voice that asks, ‘But what will everyone think?’. That one needs a mute now and then too.

I’m ready to stop holding back and start moving towards new opportunities and big ideas. Even if the changes begin as small as new props in a photoshoot, trying different hairstyles, sharing a new topic or pursuing a skill I’ve been meaning to nurture. It doesn’t need to be a huge change to be a profound one.

Dave, my fella, runs his own business as well and he’s extremely motivated and forward thinking in his planning. Since the day we met (almost 10 years ago) he’s known what he wanted and has slowly but surely carved out a path to his goals. Now, more than ever, I can sense the rumblings of big things for our future together. Until recently my instinct has often been to play the grounded, pragmatic side of our partnership but I’ve noticed that my usual response, “No, I don’t think so…” is becoming, “Well, maybe…”

So on that note I’m embracing 32 with a mindset of, well, maybe…this could be the best year yet!


STYLE BEE - 32

Now I’d love to hear from you! What are some of the things you’re ready to let go of and lean towards? Big dreams, little musings, I’m here for all of them and I thank you for being here too!


SHOP THIS LOOK

JANE BLOUSE | DÔEN (low stock similar option here and here) // MID BLUE CIGARETTE DENIM | EVERLANE // BROWN BELT | ATELIER B // PARIS WOVEN MULE | ST. AGNI // CIRCULO TOTE | gifted ARTISAN & FOX



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Leave me a comment here!

  1. Happy birthday Lee! The 30s is such a wonderful decade. Still young but you have a lot more confidence than in your 20s. Enjoy!

  2. Alejandra says:

    Hi Lee!
    Happy birthday! I learn now that we both share the year we were born 🙂
    Anyway, though we miss you there in IG, I totally get you when you talk about your need to step back. I am also constantly struggling with that need too.
    An idea that has been on my mind lately (specially since I became a mum) is how difficult to me is to be and remain present. My mind is ALWAYS one step ahead of me, and that is so tiring. I want the motto “be. Here. Now” to be my mantra, but heck is it difficult sometimes! I guess just being conscious about it is a great step, though.
    Thanks for sharing your trip through life!

    • Thanks for these kind words Alejandra! I can only imagine how much one’s thinking and awareness changes after becoming a mother. You’ve always got 1000 things to anticipate. I think you’re completely right though, just acknowledging that you want to be more in the moment and catching yourself when you find it slipping is a huge step. Thank you for reading lovely! xo

  3. Samantha says:

    What a great post Lee! I have to agree that 32 also has me feeling more comfortable in my skin and self-assured. It was lovely to read about your birthday experience this year, I found it very relatable. I’m enjoying the fact that turning another year older isn’t so much about just celebrating but also about that self reflection and growth. It’s empowering! I really try to get the most out of every experience, every interaction and activity. Efficiency plays a big part. However I’m definitely trying to lean into not over planning and more spontaneity. I think it provides some of life’s best moments. Mindfulness and slowing down are two of main focuses this year for sure! Keep up the amazing work, it’s always a go to for inspo 😘

    XO from Montreal

  4. Briana says:

    Happy birthday, Lee! So much of what you wrote resonates with me and I always feel both soothed and inspired in your presence. When I read about the changes you’re interested in, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading all of your reflections, style-related AND otherwise, and happy to follow you along different paths.

    • Briana, Thank you for such a kind note. This week hasn’t gotten off to a great start but your words really boosted my spirits today! 🙂 xo

  5. Elizabeth says:

    Congratulations on such thoughtful growing. It’s a lifelong process. Tomorrow will be my 62nd birthday, and I’m still working on growing up. Around the start of 2019 I decided to delete my Instagram account (mostly for ethical reasons to do with Facebook) and live more in the present. I’m lucky enough to be at the stage of my life that I don’t have to live off my knitwear designs. Letting go of the constant social approval was tough, but at the same time so liberating.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience with social media Elizabeth. I know what you mean about the constant approval being hard to let go of but also how freeing it feels to not need it. Hope you had a wonderful birthday and weekend! xo

  6. Melissa says:

    Two days after my 32nd birthday, my husband and I took a dream trip to Rome. When I returned to work I tendered my notice and spent the next 6 months taking care of me & being a housewife! It was the best decision I ever made – I liked my job but after 10 years of working 60 hour weeks and at times up to 3 jobs, I was exhausted. I eventually returned to work but never at that pace again. 17 years later, I have a job I love with a great company, we moved out of New Jersey, and have continued traveling and embracing our life. I think everyone has an age where they feel a shift in how they view/approach life. Happy Birthday and the best is ahead of you

    • Thank you for sharing this Melissa! I can imagine that would have been a scary decision, especially after a decade of pushing non-stop. I always find I’m most ready for change when I’ve stepped away from something for a bit via travel or time off. The distance suddenly puts everything into perspective. Hope your week is off to a great start! xo

  7. Andrea H says:

    Happy belated Birthday Lee! I enjoyed this post so much. Particularly the part where you shared this:

    “So far it’s been as simple as things like; prioritizing down time, deciding not to stress about my grey hairs in photos, letting go of clothes that don’t fit right anymore or simply starting to create without a finely tuned plan. I’ve been learning that the steps to letting go might be small on their own but they can add up to something significant.”

    So much wisdom right there! I love how these things are manifesting in your blog, your content has been so interesting lately. Great post. Also, love your hair here! 😉

    • Thanks so much dear friend! That means the world coming from you. You are constantly inspiring me with your work ethic and style! Hope the week is off to a great start and talk soon 😉 xo

  8. Happy Birthday! When I read you had just turned 32, I was struck with my age which is exactly double yours, 64. A number that surprises me every time I write it or say it out loud. I’m glad also to read that at 32 you are more determined than ever to serve the master of your choosing which strikes me as very organic with your partner, Dave, his work as a photographer and your work as a stylist and author. I think you should congratulate yourself on reaching what will undoubtedly be your first platform 🙂

  9. shelby says:

    Happy belated!! I love all that you’re shifting towards this year. It’s clearly going to be an amazing year for you!! I’m turning 33 in less than a month and I’m excited for it – my 30s have been sooo much better than my 20s! I’m obsessed with learning and growing, and since the beginning of 2019 I’ve taken some pretty big steps toward some dreams: I created and launched a podcast (13 episodes and counting!), decided to begin a private practice, and went on my first yoga audition since becoming a certified teacher a year ago. It’s a lot in addition to working full time as a counselor at a local university, but it gives me so much energy and life! I love it. It’s so cool to be stepping into my self-worth and nurturing my potential, after years of keeping a lampshade over my light, as a good friend of mine says. I continue to work on releasing fear, and calling upon a new mantra: “don’t think, just do.”

    • Shelby, I can feel your energy, positivity and excitement for your work and life in your words! That’s incredible. Congratulations on all you’ve been working on and accomplishing. I love that metaphor of lifting the lampshade! Thanks for sharing this sentiment and for reading. Have a wonderful week! xo

  10. Kimberly Baker says:

    Hi Lee, Happy Happy Birthday! I love your shift in focus away from social media to ‘real life’ relationships. I recently heard a statement ‘busy is the new status symbol.” If this is true, perhaps, we need to rethink about the ways we are filling up our time. For example, I work full time, and am completing a PhD and starting a Peace Museum. Yup, I’m busy!

    When I recently bought a horse my family and friends were so surprised. They said, “You’re so busy, why would you buy a horse? It doesn’t make any sense. But this is what my horse offers me. An opportunity to truly live in the moment. Living life in the here and now without the worry of meeting everyone’s needs, and meeting my own perfectionist expectations is a relief. I can just ‘be.’ I can’t explain it but I feel so happy. My advice to you Lee is “just bee.” When all is said and done, the best gift we can give our family & friends is to ‘bee’ present.

    • I think we must have been listening to the same thing because that phrase stuck with me too. I was chatting with a friend on the weekend about how it takes real effort and determination to not let ‘busy’ take over life.

      Congratulations on your new 4 legged friend! I understand what you mean about truly living in the moment with horses. I was an avid equestrian growing up and times spent with my horse (Wanda was her name) are some of the memories I treasure most in the world. They are such special creatures. Enjoy your time together! xo

  11. Darlene Kroisenbrunner says:

    Happy 32nd and on into your 33rd year! Sounds to me like you are doing what is right for you. Let me tell you it took me a lot longer than age 32 to recognize these same things. Congrats you are the way to a most fulfilling life. Can’t believe this is only your 2nd year with your own business. Attended one of your stream line your closet evenings at a local library. I found you knowledgeable, confidant and open to ideas and questions. Doing great Lady, keep up the great work.

    • Thank you so much Darlene! That’s awesome that you were able to attend the library workshop! I was super nervous but had a great time and everyone was lovely. I really appreciate you following up and the words of encouragement. Have a great week! xo

  12. Kristi says:

    Well said, wishing you a very happy birthday, Lee. 💃🏼

  13. Rebecca | Seven2Seven8 says:

    Happy birthday!
    I think 32 means something. I felt it at 36, 39, and 40, too (currently 40). The good news is that it only gets easier to be okay with YOU as time goes on. I am currently mulling social media’s place in my life. I am fairly extroverted and like connecting with people, and am a frequent sharer of bits and pieces, but it does feel like I’m online too much. And I am finding I make less time for things I do feel passionate about (reading being a HUGE one of those, though some of the issue is also parenting three young children). I took a Facebook break for Lent (my third) and am feeling more conflicted about my return this time. I think I have a lot of company (and my enjoyment of Instagram has definitely gone down, and quickly, as it becomes more and more like its new parent company, Facebook).

    • Thanks for sharing these thoughts and your experience Rebecca. It’s certainly not an easy balance to strike with social media time, esp with 3 kiddos! I know what you mean about it being hard to go back. I thought the ‘break-up’ period would be tough but going back is where I’ve struggled most and there is something to be learned in that for sure. Thank you for reading and the b-day wishes! xo

  14. Leanna says:

    Lee, thank you so much for this post! The honesty and introspection is so inspiring! I love your blog and so look forward to every post. I am drawn to the care and thoughtfulness that imbue your work. I feel like a kindred soul, and totally understand your sentiments. I agree that small changes can add up to something significant. Cheers to 32!!!

  15. Kirra says:

    Happy Birthday Lee! Great positive approach to change and the future, thanks for sharing. I am 36 and am currently having a year off to take a postgraduate study course in Europe, though I normally live in Australia. It’s my first time living away from my home town but the course is fabulous and I’m such a great time and learning a lot as well.

    I definitely agree it’s not worth trying to please everyone, I did that in my 20’s and it didn’t work out well, I just ended up feeling frustrated and used. You need to be kind to yourself as well! Good advice to take a break from technology too, always good to hear.

    • Thanks Kirra! So awesome that you’re able to explore Europe and have been enjoying your studies. I always dreamt of going on exchange to study (actually Australia was the ultimate destination!) but it never quite worked out. Take advantage and travel lots! I’m currently planning a trip to Europe and can’t wait to get back over there.

      And yes, 100% to being kind to yourself! xo

  16. Jessie says:

    I love this message. So empowering to look at age as a development and accomplishment rather than something to fear. I also love the mantra, Nadine Jane is incredible! Happy Birthday x

    • Thanks Jessie! Nadine Jane is pretty incredible! I always read what she has to say about my friends and husband’s sign too and it’s so interesting to see how things play out.

  17. Suzanne says:

    Excellent post Lee, perhaps the best ever! Happy Birthday from Vancouver 😊🌺

    • Thanks so much Suzanne! Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful west coast spring! We’re just starting to see blooms over here and it feels magical haha.

  18. Martine says:

    I recognize a lot in this wonderful post, eventhough I passed 32 a long time ago 😉
    For me my mid fourties were an important periode in my life.
    I finally was able to leave the office environment where I already spent 20 years being unhappy.
    I found a great new job in a store as a saleswoman and I never have felt any better.
    The stress I always felt is gone, I now have a parttime job which I wanted so badly so now I have some time left for me, the contact with the clients is very nice and even inspiring sometimes and my colleagues are the best.
    It took me so long to get here but it was worth all the suffering and the tears.

    • Thanks so much for sharing this Martine! It’s wonderful that you’ve been able to find work you’re inspired by and enjoy. How lucky we are to have that! I’ve heard many women say that their 40’s were a real turning point too. It seems every decade has merit and propels us into a clearer sense of self. So much to look forward to! Thanks for being here! xo