Things I’d Tell My 37-Year-Old Self

Soon after I blogged about the Things I’d Tell My 17-Year-Old Self, I wondered what I might tell myself in right now, if I was 57, and looking back 20 years in the other direction.

Then I thought: Hey- my Mom is 20 years in the other direction.

So I asked her if she’d be up for sharing her thoughts on the subject, and about a week before Christmas, she gave me an envelope with a piece of paper inside.

It read…

1) Some of those crazy, heart-stopping fears you have are really just crazy. Red lights on your car dash do not always mean IMMINENT DANGER: CAR ABOUT TO IMPLODE. Dentists are there to help, not hurt. Dogs and horses that run away almost always come back for food. Overflowing toilets only get worse if you run. Wasps are very small and can be smooshed, if necessary, and seaweed is not an underwater monster trying to drown you…it’s just seaweed. (PS- At 57, you will hardly fear anything at all!)

2) You need to take care of your body. Brush and floss – MOISTURIZE – stretch and exercise – MOISTURIZE – drink lots of water – MOISTURIZE – eat unprocessed foods – MOISTURIZE. Vanity aside, at 57, you will have a lot of things left to do on your ‘bucket list’ that will require you to be in relatively good physical condition for several more years.

3) Money for retirement requires planning and diligence. Remind your children of this often. Also, quite a few of your bucket list items will cost some money. If you save a teeny $10/week over the next 20 years, you’ll have over 10,000 ‘bucket list bucks’ when you’re 57!

4) Almost-adult children need help deciding how to make their way into the real (big) world when they leave the nest. Spend lots of time helping them learn their strengths and passions so that they can have a successful, enjoyable career, and take care of themselves in any lifestyle they dream of. When you feel totally unqualified or need answers- search out capable guidance professionals, mentors, ministers, hypnotists- somebody! The old saying about “moms being as happy as their unhappiest child” is very true.

5) Family and close friend relationships need cultivating. Dig: find the real stuff. Aerate: expel the issues. Renew: forgive…it enlarges the future. Keep in touch, even if it means just being there to listen. Everyone needs, and deserves, people to catch them when they fall, and to cheer them on when they’re finding their footing. “Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

Thank you, Mom! I love that you read my blog, and that I’ll have your words of wisdom saved right here forever! I’ll refer to them often…I promise.

Here’s to being fearless, fit, diligent, encouraging, and close with friends and family.

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  1. says

    Great advice. I love that your mom is recorded on your blog telling you this beautiful wisdom, so sentimental and sweet. Like moher like daughter. Wish you and your family the best in this new year.

    God Bless,
    Cha Cha

  2. says

    I love your Mom’s words of wisdom. I especially love the one about friends. Good, lasting friendships don’t just happen to people. Your Mom is so right. They need to be nutured and cultivated to be sustained. My husband and I have worked hard on that since we moved back “home” 2 1/2 years ago. And It’s been so worthwhile.

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing this. It brought tears to my eye. I’m a little older than 37 but I can relate to so many. I have young adult children and you don’t often find advice on how to be a parent even after they’ve left the nest. My mom passed away when I was just 19, so I feel like I’m in virgin waters at times. Reading your moms words felt like they could have been written for me.
    I don’t know if I’ve ever commented, but I read often and find so much inspiration. I actually linked to your blog in a post I wrote yesterday. Thanks for sharing not only your talent, but also your heart.

  4. says

    I just came across your blog and I loved this post. What great advice and I hope I’m as wise as your mom some day. Reminds me very much of the type of things my mom would say.

    My New Year’s Resolution is to follow your mom’s advice :)

  5. says

    This is a great list. Thanks, Layla’s Mom! I’m almost 50 and I agree with her. Great thoughts for a younger generation.

  6. the domestic fringe says

    I love that list! Your mom must be a very wise woman. Since I’m on the verge of 37, I’m definitely taking every single bit of that advice. Thank you!

  7. Bernie says

    I AM 57 too!!! May I add “Wear SUNSCREEN” to the list? And “Dont Blink”…the next 20 years will fly by, even faster than the last 20 years. Find something to enjoy, EVERY SINGLE DAY. You worry more about “adult” children in their 20’s, than teenagers….you’ll just have to trust me on that one. I agree with everything your mom says. Smart woman. ps I wouldnt go back to 37 if you paid me. 57 ROCKS!

  8. says

    What timely advice. At 41, I find the older I get the more a yearn for reflections like this from older women who hold the advantage of wisdom and experience. Your mom is a certainly a treasure; I recognize many qualities in her from my own mom. Blessings on your New Year, Jaimee

  9. says

    Wow! This is kind of amazing.. My mom always says stop being so hard on yourself, in 5 and 10 years you are going to look back at pictures and remember how that day your hair looked ugly and you felt fat and now you’d kill to look like that!

  10. says

    Beautiful wise words. You are so blessed to still have your mom, and she is so blessed to have a daughter who realizes how blessed she is! :)

  11. says

    Such lovely and useful advice…this 40 year old self will take it all. I love the wisdom of women farther along in this life journey. Thanks for sharing your mom with us!

  12. says

    I’m closer to your mom’s age than yours, and I think she has some very sage advice. I especially like the last bit about treasuring relationships, not possessions. That is actually tops on my list of resolutions this year: to nurture relationships.

  13. Frances says

    Great advice! My resolution this year was to save MORE. Looks like I’ll be investing in a good moisturizer too! :-) Thanks TLC mom!

  14. says

    Hi Layla,
    I’m sort of new to your blog and this is my first time commenting. Your mom seems like a wise woman. Treasure every single minute you get with her. My mom was diagnosed with dementia 3 years ago. She has slowly slipped away until she’s almost gone. I don’t have any regrets though because we were very close and spent a lot of time together. Thank God for that. You sound like you love your mom very much. Just don’t forget to tell her that. Happy New Year…

  15. says

    terrific points to ponder! my mom passed in 2006 and i wish i would have asked her questions like this. thanks so much for sharing this. it means more than you can imagine.
    happy new year.

  16. says

    At 55 I can tell you have a very very sage mother! Everything she said is so very true! She picked the gooduns too!! lol
    Happy New year to the both of you!

    Hugs Giggles

  17. says

    Your mom is brilliant. Moisturize!!! I am 51 and feel I have seen some of my bucket list and learned from the wild ways of my youth, which believe it or not, seems not so long ago!! You will always feel younger in your heart and mind, so take care of your body to match it!

    I have SO enjoyed following your blog this year. Best wishes to you and Kevin in all you do!!


  18. says

    What a great idea to have mom share her insight. We should go to our parents more often and truly seek out what they know and listen to what they say…even when we think we know more (at 15, 18, 37 or 57.)

  19. Eileen@cottage beach house says

    Your mom is a very wise woman. So eloquantly written. I agree with her on the savings and the moisturizing! A little bit adds up over time. Thanks Layla for sharing this special note,

  20. Louise says

    What lovely advice, and what a wonderful relationship you obviously have with your mom. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. says

    That is one awesome Mother! Really though…. I love every single bit of advice and encouragement that she gave :) You are a lucky woman to have her! P,S Great idea to ask her to write this… its so fun to hear these types of things from your parents and elders!

  22. says

    such a great post! i love hearing from wiser women about what they wished they’d known. thanks to you and your mom for sharing!!

  23. katrn says

    That’s fantastic! I’m going to ask my mom to do the same thing. What a wonderful idea! Thank you to you and your mom for sharing such priceless insights.

  24. Aunt Chriss says

    Wonderful! Shared on my FB page…think I should read this at least once a week for the rest of my life.

    • Jude says

      Thanks Chriss!! You seem so brave, look SO YOUNG, are married to a super financially wise man, and have goal-orientated kids – I’m honored to think you could learn from me! :-)

  25. Lin says

    I am 59 and I agree with your mom’s awesome wisdom! I wish I had know these things when I was in my 30s. I am going to send them to my 35 yr old daughter and hope she will realize how important they are. I do agree to add WEAR SUNSCREEN! So important! Love you Layla and your mom!

  26. Karen says

    I recently had a dream where a much older and wiser woman sat with me and told me to be true to myself, to go with the flow and to believe and it would happen…at the end of the dream she so lovingly tucked me into my bed..when I asked who she was, as I didn’t recognize her, she turned to me and said “I’m you”… And quickly vanished!
    I was amazed by this encounter and have never forgotten it…I guess the point of this is to listen to the person in you for you already know what you need to do in your life..just listen!

  27. says

    I am 60 and my kids are 27 and 25, respectively. If I were to write a letter to them right now, I would say almost exactly the same things that your mother said. She seems like a wise woman. I wish someone had told me the one about the $10/week twenty years ago … whew! Maybe I will write them letters for their birthdays this year. Thanks.

  28. says

    Your Mom has some wonderful advice!!
    One thing to add to #4 (since I am also 57…although rarely if ever admit it)
    Tell your children:
    Find your passion. Follow it. Don’t just find a job.

    Great blog, so glad I found you!

    Sara :)

  29. says

    Great advice!! Love the moisturize advice – too true : )
    Happy New Year – I love checking in here to see what you guys are up to. Good luck with HGTV!!! xo

  30. says

    Oh, that is terrific! Your mom must be a sweetheart. I think it’s really special that you have such a close relationship. Not all moms and daughters are like that, so don’t take it for granted. :)

    • Layla says

      It’s so crazy because we weren’t close at all until I was about 19 years old- but it’s been a real blessing getting closer with her since then. :-)

  31. says

    I turned 40 last year and on my 40 1/2 birthday I emailed 40 women friends over 40 asking these questions:
    What is one thing that has become more important to you as you’ve grown older?
    What is one thing that has become less important to you as you’ve grown older?
    What is one book that you would recommend I read in the coming months/years?
    What is one quality/virtue you would encourage me to cultivate in my life?
    What is one question that you would encourage me to ask myself (by way of personal reflection) as I approach this milestone in my life?

    The responsse has been so humbling and consistent. Very similar to your mom’s words. Wisdom comes with age for sure.

  32. says

    Layla, Please tell your mom that I love her list! I am 56 and agree with her 100%. I wish that I had realized when I was 36 to just be myself. Being “me” is just fine.

    • Jude says

      I do wear sunscreen and drink lots of water, religiously, everyday – I forget that I even do it!! Thanks for the reminder. :-)

  33. Amanda M says

    What a clever idea you had ! Your Mom is one smart and level headed lady.

    Thank you for making my day today.

  34. says

    If you don’t moisturize when you are 37, then when you are 57, you will look 77! So true! I’m definitely closer to your mom’s side and enjoy sharing what I think to be helpful to my daughters and other younger women. In fact the Bible tells we older women to do this. In Titus 2:5 the Bible says, “That they (the aged women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Gail

  35. says

    That was beautiful, and just what my 41 year old self needed to hear today, as my 19 year and I looked first her first apartment over the weekend….time flies, I want to savor every moment…and remember what matters most, and of course to moisturize !

  36. says

    Such great ideas! After reading, I went right to and opened a “bucket list bucks” account for my 57 year old self :)

  37. Laura says

    Great perspective! Good Advice! Especially about saving $10/wk for the future! Cannot emphasize the importance of this enough! Thanks!

  38. Stephanie says

    Your mother sounds like a very wise woman. Love all the advice & I need to heed some of those myself. At 27, I love hearing advice and wisdom from mothers. =)

  39. says

    I’m 50 and your mom is right on. My mom passed away when I was 38. I had not even thought of what I would like to ASK my mom about being 58 or 68 (her age when she passed). I would have LOVED to known if she even went through menopause-if she did, she never complained! I would have like to have known more about her deep passions as a senior woman (outside of her kids, grandkids, family). I was able to ask if she had any regrets-she told me not one single regret :)

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