Thursday, March 19, 2009

What I know now that I did not know then

Yesterday was my 40th birthday. It was such a fabulous day. I had many calls from friends and family singing me silly songs and telling me what a special person I am. I had 6 Etsy orders including one from my amazing friend Jen - thank you honey! I went to lunch with my Aunt Mary whom I only see once a year but have a special kinship with, my mother and my husband. We dressed up like civilized people and had the full meal at a upscale, swanky bistro. I savored a scrumptious mussel appetizer, a lobster and avocado BLT with a lovely salad, and french pressed decaf with fresh berries for dessert. It was such a wonderful meal that I'm still going over the details in my mind. Then Tim and I went to a late afternoon matinee to see Watch Men which was a bit violent for my taste, a little depressing too, but a REALLY cool comic movie if you are into that sort of thing which I am. (I watch Heroes and Star Trek too).

When we got home, my kids had been fed and were waiting with anticipation to give me the beautiful gifts they made for me. My mom also gave me a gorgeous purse that I had drooled over a few months back. Not because I do the whole fashion thing, but because I want to learn how to make these!!
I am hoping my pal Sooz will able to look at it more closely while we are at Inspired and tell me how to approach making my own version of this. She is such an AMAZING seamstress!
And to finish off a perfect day, I watched Damages and Lost - 2 of my favorite shows. I fell asleep peacefully. Just before I drifted off I thought about what I know now compared to when I was 20. Either it is a cruel joke or a built in checks and balances system, but isn't it ironic how when we look our best, have the most energy and "potential", we tend to have so many more insecurities, far less contentment and often very skewed goals? I spent most of my 20's feeling fat (even though I was 15 lbs. lighter than I am now), feeling unlovable (even though I was totally loved) and chasing aspirations that are so far from what I want for myself today. I thought I knew it all and that I was invincible.

So I decided to construct a list of "20 things I wish I had known when I was 20". I am also having a drawing for a vintage goodie pack including several pieces of beautiful jewelry and some amazing ephemera.

  1. Wear sunscreen all the time
  2. Boys are not a hobby - find a passion that is not tied to another person and let it fill you up
  3. The best way to find happiness is to give to others
  4. Develop the habit of exercising everyday so when your older it will already be ingrained in you
  5. People are not thinking about you all the time. They do not care if your purse matches your shoes. They are too busy focusing on themselves.
  6. It does not matter how many friends you have, what matters is how you treat people
  7. Tell the truth.
  8. You do not have to be the center of attention to be noticed and you are not invisible.
  9. Be kind to your parents and grateful for the things they do for you. They are people just like you.
  10. Compassion does not mean taking on others problems
  11. Drama is not as attractive as you might think
  12. Make a gratitude list every day
  13. Dreading something does not make it easier to experience, it just prolongs the discomfort
  14. Just because you do not feel like doing something, does not mean you do not have to. This is when you probably need to do it the most. Just put one front in front of the other - who knows, it may be fun.
  15. Do not choose a major because you think it will allow you to make the most money. Do what you love and success will follow. Do what you hate and success does not matter.
  16. "Be the change you want to see in the world" -Ghandi
  17. Release negativity of any kind - it is poison. pursue forgiveness and kindness and you will be filled up with the power of love
  18. Be yourself without apologizing nor adapting to your surroundings. If you can find a way to be authentic and let go of what others think of you people will see your strength and be drawn to it.
  19. Trust that everything will be alright - it may not look the way you thought it would, but it will still be OK.
  20. Hug yourself and thank your body EVERYDAY for all the things it does for you - protecting you from disease, healing wounds, cradling your soul so you can experience life.
OK friends - let's hear your thoughts. Tell me something you would tell your 20 year old self. A prize awaits you! I will announce the winner tomorrow AM.


  1. Oh, Jilliene, what a GREAT post! I love your advice to your past self. I'm reading a book called "What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self" that's a compilation of letters written by women to their younger selves... advice they wish they would have followed back when. So good!

    I really loved your advice that "boys are not a hobby." I really wish I would have followed that one!! Numbers 2-5 and 10 are all dead-on with me, love those the most! Additionally, I wish that I would have known 20 years ago (at that critical age of 13) or even at age 20:

    Your family does not have to define who you are.

    Where you come from does not need to determine where you are going.

    You are WORTHY. Stop apologizing. Expect people to treat you well. YOU ARE WORTHY.

    High school will NOT be the best four years of your life. Learn all you can and endure and move on.

    It is not your job or your place in this world to make everyone else happy at the expense of yourself. Giving people happiness can be a wonderful gift but realize that if someone's not happy it's not your burden.

    The world is FULL of possibilities. You can do things you can't even imagine now. Keep your eyes open. Ask questions. Listen. Ask more questions. Strive, imagine, have faith, and keep striving. You can do it. YOU ARE WORTHY.

  2. It is absolutely a humbling experience, thinking about myself at 20. So many choices had to be made at that time, so I guess I would tell myself to weigh the pros and cons of decisions, considering all of the consequences. I think that advice works when you are a little older, too!
    Gloria L.

  3. 1. Where sunglasses when outside to prevent eye damage.
    2. A bar is no place to meet the right man, Church is a much better choice.
    3. Live by the want vs need logic and you'll have a nice retirment savings.
    4. Parenting is a job till you die.
    5. Don't look at the outside of a person, many jewels are covered with a little dust.
    6. Cherish and keep in touch with your hs and college friends. When your older you'll miss that friendship.
    7. Travel is the best gift to give yourself, go see the world.
    8. Be nice to you siblings, some day you will need them.
    9.True love is a deep friendship that matures into love. It doesn't happen between stranges.
    10. Buying a new car every 3 years is a way to loose a lot of money, since they depricated so much.
    11.Losing weight is harder the older you are, try to stay healthy all of your life.
    12. Keep your personal life away from your job life, they don't mix.
    13. Be good to yourself, go to the spa, get a pedicure once in a while.
    14. Think long and hard before you have kids, they grow into teens.
    15. Be yourself no matter what, if you try to youself you'll pay for in the end as you loose you.
    16. Plant bulbs, they are beautiful to come home too.
    17. Forget fancy flower gardens, they take a lot of time. Wild flowers thake care of themselves.
    18. Keep your house picked up, you never know who will drop by.
    19. Make your kids pay for things, work for money, they will learn an appreciation for money and see a job is how you get money.
    20.College does not prepare you for the world. I give you knowlege but you need to learn street smarts too.

  4. What would I tell my 20 year old self??????


    Geo Berzans

  5. I love the new blog header Jilliene! Pretty cool. Thanks for the opportunity to win some goodies. Here is what I would tell my 20 year old self...

    1. Always say what you mean and mean what you say.
    2. Your actions teach people how to treat you.
    3. Don't be afraid to admit when your wrong.
    4. Accept responsibility if you make a mistake and then move on.
    5. If you have a bad feeling about something, it's probably not a good idea.
    6. The word NO is a sentence and sometimes no further explanation is needed.
    7.Communicate, communicate, communicate. The people around you are not mind readers.
    8. Learn and live by the law of attraction
    9. Saying the words "I'm sorry" do not mean you are a weak person.
    10. Be nice even when you don't feel like it.
    11. Stand up for what you believe is right even if it is not popular.
    12. Don't let yourself be mistreated
    13. Love without fear of loss

  6. Love your "thoughts" to your 20 year old self!!
    If I may add....
    Life is short...Live each day as if it were your last...tell friends and family they are loved.

    Your are an intelligent woman, you CAN achieve your goals.

    Have to echo Cameron...You are Worthy!!!

    Belated Birthday Wishes

  7. believe in yourself as an artist and go for it!
    heck, this is something my 35 year old self needs to hear too. lol

  8. Great idea Jilliene and Happy Late Birthday!
    Let's see...I was 20...
    1. Don't freak out - it's not cancer, but the surgery will still suck!
    2. Take more pictures of the people you are with during the trip to England - not just all the cool places!
    3. You are a great friend and people admire you for being who you are.
    4. Regardless of what the doctors say, you will be a mom one day (two times over).
    5. Ignore the haters and stick with Jim - he's the best husband in the world - let them be jealous.
    6. Avoid jealous, negative people - they don't bring out the best in you and will only bring you down.
    7. You have a good head on your shoulders - use it!
    8. A big butt and a smile WILL get you places - use 'em, don't abuse 'em!
    Yep, that'll do for now!


  9. first of all.... yesterday was your BIRTHDAY?? OH, happy day! it sounds like it *sparkled*

    and second... your advice is perfect. and i'm going to read it to my 8 year old and then write it in my journal.


  10. Hello Jilliene, Birthday wishes to you!
    I would tell my 20 year old self a few things...
    save money while you are making it
    and be true to yourself before you can be true to others.
    I hope to meet you at inspired

  11. p.s. I just came back to say, OH MY GOSH HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! :)

  12. happy birthday jilliene!!

    I would tell myself:

    -what you think is so important right now will not matter a bit later.

    -i'd give myself a list of what to look for in a mate.....unselfishness being one of them and a long list of others.

    -pick a career that you can do anywhere.

    -if a guy makes you chase him....forget him.

  13. JIlliene,

    I'm so glad you had such a wonderful birthday!

    I just heard a wonderful speaker named Tina Seelig at Stanford called "What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20". Here's the link.

    Tina Seelig was SO INSPIRING!!

    My ideas are:

    Appreciate your children every minute, even when they are driving you crazy!

    Take time out for yourself, even if you have to lock yourself in your room for five minutes - Mommy time out! :)

    Do what you love. The dishes will wait.

    When you don't know where to start, take the broom and sweep in front of your feet.

    If a friend calls and says, "I need you" - GO!

    Be selfish sometimes.

    Try to get enough sleep!

    It's so nice to hear from you Jill. You are inspiring too! I wish I could go to Inspired with you - I'm on the waitlist! (fingers crossed!!)

    Take care,


  14. Happy belated Jilliene! I'll be joinging the big 4-0 club in July. I've following along on the Inspired Yahoo group, but I don't chime in much.

    You should have listened when your mom said eat your veggies. It is so hard to eat well when you have let it slide out of your routine.

    Never spend more than you can pay.

    Just enjoy each day. Don't let the stress get you down.