Julia Watson and I bonded over boots at a blogging event (as you do!) .. since then I have watched on as this extra-ordinary human has launched her book ‘Breakfast, School, Run Chemo’, appeared on 60 Minutes, and as she goes about life as a young Mum with Stage 4 bowel cancer. It is hard to express how much respect I have for Julia. It is her humble, wicked funny, very real approach to life .. and her generosity in sharing it all publicly that I adore!
Julia seems to have this amazing sense of hope that thrives no matter what her cancer diagnosis throws at her. I hate that she endures what she does, I love that she has found herself and the bravery to live with complete freedom through it all. I am so grateful that she shares so authentically.
Inspired by Julia Watson:
Where in the world do you call home?
I live in Frankston, bayside Melbourne.
Describe your home and neighbourhood:
Our big rambling house, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms is tucked away in a quiet court of only 5 houses. We love the neighbourhood, on Summer nights in daylight savings we can be at the beach in 5 minutes. We often stay down there on hot nights until sunset, and eat pizza on the beach or dine at the beachside restaurant, the cheap and cheerful Sofia’s.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Cheerful, optimistic, driven.
What is the purpose at the heart of your blog and book?
This has really evolved. It started off as just a kind of therapy for me to process my day to day thoughts and dilemmas around terminal cancer. As it was shared more and more, I could see the need in people to feel understood in their own lives with cancer, or as a Carer, friend or family member, and they were being helped by my blog.
If I could put it into words, in a way that helped even a few, then that was an honour and something I was very keen to continue. Then it became even bigger when I was offered a publishing contract to release it as a book. It was an extension of all of the above, a way to connect with other people. As I had put so much of myself into it, and had never held anything back, no matter how hard it was to put into words, it will serve as a legacy for my daughters .. to know how much I loved them, how much I was willing to fight to stay with them, and ultimately the person who their Mother was, well beyond the chief cook and bottle washer.
What do you ultimately hope to achieve?
I hope to keep showing people that no matter what their circumstances, life is there to be lived for as long as we are taking breaths, that it has value, no matter how long or short it is. That there is great wisdom that comes from facing death – that if there is anything you want to do, any dream you want to realise, any change you want to make, if it is not to be at the hurt or detriment of others, you should just go out and do it. None of us knows how long we have. Live your best life, every day. Its not always easy, but its worth it.
What do you think is the most important thing to teach our children?
Resilience, hard work and that the world doesn’t owe them anything. They must work out what they want from life, and go after it with everything they have.
How do you take care of yourself?
I make sure I regularly socialise with friends, lunches, dinners and nights out. My husband and I also have a 4 hour date night every fortnight where respite workers look after the children, and we treasure that time. Going out, both separately and together teaches the children that we are separate entities, with our own interests and passions, and I think that is something important for children to learn.
Is there a charity you are currently supporting?
Yes, some of the proceeds of my book are donated to the Jodi Lee Foundation. It was set up by her husband to honour Jodi Lee who died of bowel cancer at the age of 39, leaving two very young children behind. We have a great screening program for bowel cancer in Australia, but the problem is that it starts at age 50, much too late for Jodi Lee, me and the thousands of other young men and women under 50 who are diagnosed with bowel cancer in Australian every year. The Jodi Lee Foundation promotes awareness of bowel cancer in young patients, as well as screening programs, advocacy and awareness.
What has been your greatest life lesson so far?
If you are real, and live your truth, people will be drawn to you, not away from you. Everybody wants to be loved for who and what they are.
What is your best advice for anyone who has a dream to be a little extraordinary?
Believe in yourself. I am not saying that is easy, or something that can be achieved overnight, for some people it takes decades, years, lifetimes. If you achieve it, if you just chip away at it a bit at a time, until you can stand in your truth and say ‘I believe in me’ and what I’m trying to achieve, your whole life can change. Mine did.
Sweet treat: Chocolate, most kinds!
Holiday destination: Italy.
Colour: This changes all the time, but at the moment I have a thing for yellow.
Word: Epiphany – its got a pretty sound, and they are amazing things to have!
Memory: When my first child was placed on my chest. You never forget, and the ones that follow are no less special, but there is nothing like the first time you see your first child.
Blog: I have been a fan of Babymac from way back, and Woogsworld. I am very big on being real, and flawed and not being afraid to show those flaws, as it helps others to know they are normal, and these ladies have been embodying this long before anyone had ever heard of me!
Smell: Even though they are bigger now, still freshly bathed children!
Julia’s writing will enrich your life, you can find her here: