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. 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! :-)

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

    • Kathleen says

      Karen, what a lovely dream. Reassuring and wise.

      Sent by a much older and wiser woman . . .

  4. 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.

  5. 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 :)

  6. 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

  7. 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. :-)

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Pat says

    What a wise Mom. I am 55 and called my 20 yr old daughter to chare with her as well.

    • Jude says

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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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 !

  14. says

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

  15. Laura says

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

  16. 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. =)

  17. says

    I am 57. {Can’t believe I’m admitting this in a comment section} Anyway…listen to your mom…she is right.

  18. 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 :)