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5 things I would tell my younger self

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

At 55 & 22


Take care of your body. You see yourself as strong, fast and flexible. Don’t give that up.


Don’t just be happy to get the job and accept any offer you get. Negotiate how many days you are willing to work. Know your worth and ask for it in dollar bills. Work is not an all-or-nothing thing. You do not have to fully give up work to be a fully present mom.


Don’t fight to get into anyone’s good graces or push to have them accept you. The time and resources you waste will be better used on those that already love and accept you.


You are strong, but you cannot change anyone. You cannot make anyone be happy. Just love them and let the rest go.


You are smart and capable. Don’t doubt, hesitate and half-ass things you know you are called to do. Full ass it! Your intuition has always been right. Your voice, heart and ability to inspire and cheer on others is needed in this world.

Like most 22 year olds I am sure I would have given some 55 year old women a sideways look when she tried to give me her sweet advice. If I had gotten it and taken it to heart, I could have saved myself a lot of time. I know now that time is the one thing you don't get back. So seriously consider advise given, don't automatically dismiss it. There are people who can give you the gift of time by cutting down the days, months and years that some lessons take to master. I know I waisted lots of time and energy on these five very important lessons.

This 55-year-old looks back at that 22-year-old girl and smiles. That girl was pretty badass at 22. She had a really good sense of herself and had pretty great self-esteem for her age. As she got older, gaining weight didn’t even get her to doubt her sexy self. With each pregnancy she gained 30 pounds and only lost half every time. After 3 pregnancies she was 45 pounds heavier. I used to kid and say I had body dysmorphia, but in an opposite way, because at any weight, if I made myself up I felt pretty fly. This could be because I married a man who always reinforced that thought. I want my younger self to know that weight has more to do with your health, not your looks. And your health, flexibility and strength is everything as you get older, and older you absolutely will get. Don’t carelessly put on pounds.

I would tell her never to accept the first offer for any job. Know your worth and ask for it. My first job out of college was working at a boy’s detention facility. I was so happy to be hired that it never occurred to me to negotiate my salary. I just accepted what they offered. The job entailed helping incarcerated boys 13-18 learn skills to help them be productive, independent, self-sufficient people. I learned so much, was great at what I did and was fully invested in the success of the boys I worked with. But the hours were long and the work was emotionally draining. I did not think I could be a good mom and keep that job at the same time. My last day working was just days before giving birth to my first daughter. I wish I knew that I had the right to asked for something more flexible so I could have kept doing what I loved. Ask for what you want.

I lost my mother when I was 36. She loved me unconditionally; she was a rock that was always there no matter how many times I F’d up or put her low on my priority list. I took my time with her for granted. Much of that time that I should have spent enjoying her company, I waisted, trying to get my mother-in-law to accept me. The realization of this monumental waste of time hit me like a brick the day my mom died. On that day my mother-in-law took a backseat when it came to my efforts. After that day, April 26, 1999, I was always respectful but never gave more than I received from her. We as a family rarely saw her after that. If someone doesn’t like you just accept it and spend your time with people who do.

I used to say, I love like a bulldozer. A friend who has known me since I was in my teens described me as a moth flapping its wings against a window trying to get to the light on the other side. I have spent too many years seeing where someone I love should shift their life to be happy, ”according to me”, and made it my goal to get them there. Flapping my wings against a window, because no matter how badly I want something for another human being, I cannot change their path for them. This is something I still struggle with but am getting better at. My mantra is “Just love them, set a good example and let the rest go. I am not in charge.”

I spent too many of my adult years doubting my intelligence, feeling underqualified and fearing being judged. My reality has shown me proof that I can put myself and my ideas out there and people see me as smart, more than enough, qualified, inspiring and helpful. Don’t dim your light, for people who don’t understand your unique magic.

"If your early in your career and they give you a choice between a great mentor or higher pay, take the mentor every time. It's not even close. And don't even think about leaving that mentor until your learning curve peaks." -Stanley Druckenmiller

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