10 Things I Would Tell My 20 Year Old Self

  1. More important than being liked is liking yourself. Forget the drive for popularity–and the angst that comes from not having it.
  2. You’re neither as good nor as bad as you think you are.
  3. Embrace your differentness. It ain’t gonna go away and no amount of sandpapering the rough edges will smooth who you are in the world.
  4. Remember all the things you wanna be when you grow up? Do some of them. All of them. Maybe one or two of them.
  5. Regret is a six-letter word, no better than the four-letter ones you love to use.
  6. ‘Tis better to have laughed at everything than never to have laughed at all. In other words, enjoy the joke that is the human condition. Don’t take yourself or others so seriously.
  7. You do not have to be the best, the tops, the most anything. You just have to be–and that’s the hardest to achieve.
  8. Cut other people a break and, hey, cut yourself a break too. We’re all meaning to do the best we can, even when we don’t.
  9. Keep that sure sense that everything is possible, provided you’re willing to work for it.
  10. On the other hand, embrace failure. Nothing will paralyze you more than trying not to fail.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kathleenlwalker Kathy Hicks Walker

    Amazing advice for twenty and beyond!

  • DuchessOmnium

    The one thing I would tell my 20 year old self is, Whatever you are thinking, don’t do it!

  • julie danis

    Embrace failure, being different – embrace life. Thanks for the advice!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mindy.klappertrotta Mindy Klapper Trotta

    I love that, “You are neither as good nor as bad as you think you are.” Don’t want her to get too cocky or feel too dejected now! That looks like a passport photo. I hope you went somewhere great!

  • Kim Prince

    I saw this in the blog hop linky thingy and I knew the photo was you. You are that same beautiful girl, my friend.

  • Walker Thornton

    Wise words. I like #10.. the fear of failure does stop me… as does the fear that I’ll succeed. Jane, I love your picture.

  • Priska

    All so true. #7 & #8 especially speak to me, they took much longer than 20 years to sink in.

  • http://twitter.com/CarpoolGoddess Carpool Goddess

    Cute photo! Best line: “Regret is a six letter word.” And can sting much worse than the four letter ones.

  • Helene Bludman

    What a beautiful photo. And great words of wisdom, too.

  • Lynn Forbes

    Thank you, oh wise one.

  • http://twitter.com/audreyvp audreyvp

    I need to give this to my 20 year old son!

  • Lisa_GrandmasBriefs

    So true this: “You’re neither as good nor as bad as you think you are.” Something I still must remind myself.
    That photo is as everyone says – beautiful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/karenwendy.irving Karen Wendy Irving

    Beautiful! And yes, laughing–at life, at ourselves–is often what makes life bearable.


  • http://twitter.com/midlifequeen Laura Lee Carter

    All so very true, and so hard to believe at age 20… Excellent! -Laura Lee

  • florabrown

    Love #6. Your 20 year old self managed to learn these over time. She couldn’t have absorbed and fully understood all of them at once.

  • Jo Heroux

    I loved the whole thing and then…number 10….WOW. That is the best advice to give anyone ever. Failure is a great teacher and fearing failure will so often keep you from living. I love it!

  • Chloe

    I love your picture. It reminds me of a very young and beautiful Barbara Streisand.

    Learning to embrace failure is probably one of life’s best lessons. I wish as a mother I would have been more tolerant of my children’s failures. Heck, I wish I was more tolerant of my own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=569617891 Shani Ferguson

    This is a fantastic list.

    I particularly like #6. Oy.

  • Lib

    Le sigh. This is all so true. And that picture of you? It’s giving me LIIIFE! Hope you have it framed somewhere.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.w.taylor Karen Williams Taylor

    This is wisdom every 20 year old needs to hear.

  • SharonGreenthal

    That picture is just fantastic. You were fabulous, just like you are now. Words of wisdom!

    • Janegassner

      Aw shucks, Sharon. I love your picture too. I see it and feel like I knew you then.

  • Robin

    So true “Nothing will paralyze you more than trying not to fail.”

  • http://twitter.com/notasupermom Anne Parris

    I want to stitch this on a sampler. Real wisdom here!
    Also, I LOVE that picture of you. Love the hair, the clothes, the expression on your face. What a great picture.

    • Jane

      Thanks, Anne. That photo was taken in one of those 25 cent machines that were stuck in dusty corners at Woolworth’s. I was posing for my serious model girl shots, which never got further than that machine.

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