The Older Sister / I Wish I Knew Then…… | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


There is something to be said for getting older. You gain experience and hopefully learn from that. But, the older I get, the more I seem to hear people say “I wish I knew then what I know now”.

I got to thinking about that and put a question out to my classmates from high school on our Facebook page and by email to a select group of friends and family. I asked them all “What is one thing you would tell your younger self that you wish your older self knew sooner?” I got some terrific answers.

I’ve broken the answers into categories. You’re going to like these.


1. Like most teens, I thought I was indestructible. Then I tore my left knee up pretty bad playing football on wet grass. After rehab I took up skiing and running and did more damage to both knees. I would tell myself, you’re gong to need those knees for just about everything when you get older. Take care of them, proper weight training etc. I’m hoping to avoid knee replacement surgery with exercise, stretching etc! 2. Take care of your knees..every extra pound you carry is 10 pounds on your knees.

3. I agree, the knees. Take care of your knees. I have had surgery on the left and need it on the right, just have to find time to have it done.


1. Plan for the future. Consistently put away money that you don’t take out for anything else than retirement. It is going to cost a lot more than you think. 2. Save money and have a budget that you STICK to religiously. That way later in life you will be able to freely enjoy the benefits of life.

3. Continue to plan for the future but don’t live in the future, remember to live in the moment.


1. I would tell my younger self that he is correct in his thinking that continued exercize is important but to diversify it up. Specifically, I wish I would have gotten into the triathlons sooner in my life. I also wish I would have had the same respect and awareness for some things like I did cigarettes. I never smoked and there are some things I would have just said no to. 2. Don’t sit on your ass for 30 years like I did. Keep with a regular healthy diet and exercise regularly. 3. I wish I knew when I was younger that dynamic stretching is better for you prior to you exercising than static stretching. Static stretching should only be done after the muscle has been warmed up. Could of prevented a few pulled muscles. 4. Stay fit at all ages – weight falls off easy in your twenties – but hangs on for dear life beyond forty!! 5. I guess, I wish I’d stuck with exercise..I’d always done some exercise..just not consistently.also I would have tried to keep my weight gain during pregnancy under 25 lbs. 6. Workout,exercise,be active. Make it part of your life yesterday and all the days ahead so it won’t be a chore now. 7. I would tell myself be as active as you can, whenever you can and to not think of exercise exclusively as a workout. I would tell myself being active throughout the day is just as important to my journey as specific workout sessions. 8. I would tell myself that exercise is something you can do with your kids (as well as for them) instead of always trying to do it when the kids aren’t around! 9. Strength training is important. It’s not about how you look – it’s about being healthy. 10. Exercise really isn’t that bad. And running really is something you’re going to enjoy. A lot. (I wish I had been more fit in my 20s. BAD.)

11. Not to wait so long to start strength training!


1. Half portions…of EVERYTHING. 2. Portions. Its all about portions. Stay away from all sodas. 3. Cut out as much sugar as possible from your diet. 4. Moderation!!! You don’t have to give up all the foods you love. As long as you exercise and eat right, you can absolutely still eat the crap you love!!! Don’t completely cut it out because then you will binge and be less likely to keep your healthy habits. 5. Learn to eat more fruits and vegetables. They’re more important than we think they are at a young age!

6. Juicing…..putting good stuff in my body.

Sound Advice

1. I have realized that I thought I knew a lot “back in the day”….but the reality of it is that I did not even know the questions. So, I guess I would like to tell my younger self that no, you do not have all the answers. You hardly know the questions. 2. Use sunscreen daily. Make exercise part of my life. Drink lots and lots of water. Eat more fruits and veggies. Spend time in prayer and meditation. 3. Just because the girl next to me can touch her toes, doesn’t mean I have to. Just because the girl next to me is skinny, doesn’t mean I have to be skinny. Be who God intended you to be. 4. Stop comparing yourself to others, you will never be them! Be the best you that you can and that’s all you need to be concerned with. Eat to be healthy, not skinny. Exercise to be healthy, and you will succeed ! 5. Think long and hard about your career choice. The rest of your life is a long time. 6. Treat everyone just as I would want them to treat me. 7. Teeth – brush and floss – you will be glad you did (and so will you bank account). 8. As we care for our bodies through exercise and good nutrition remember to also have time each day to nurture the spirit! 9. No matter how cool you think it is, don’t pick up that first cigarette. 10. Value yourself. Don’t let anyone make you feel less. 11. I would tell myself to go for what I want and not be afraid of what people think. Take chances. And to take care of my body from the beginning because its so damn hard to get fit and healthy once you let go.


Two personal favorites

1. If I could send a message of advice to myself when I was in my 20s and 30s, it would go like this:

Although it seems like you have lots of time Mary, it’s flying by at the speed of light. These should be some of the happiest days of your life but they can be soured by a guilty conscience or regret. You always have the best of intentions but you tend to put things off. You have to stop that immediately. When there’s something important to you, or something important to someone you care about, or even something important you could do that would just give you peace of mind, you’ve got to do it as you come to it. Procrastinating because it’s hard or complicated will only push it to the bottom of the pile where eventually it will be forgotten and when you do think of it, it will be with regret. Procrastination is the enemy of serenity, inner peace, and happiness. The old adage ‘never put off until tomorrow what you can do today’ was surely written for you.

2. I would tell my younger self… Surround yourself with the people who are happy for your accomplishments and who are there to pick you up when you need picking up. Genuine people. Real friends. People with love in their hearts. Huggers. Embracers. —- Recognize the false friends. You know who they are. Walk away sooner.

My Thoughts 1. Marry for love. It will take you a long way. 2. Learn the art of compromise. You can’t always be right. Really, you can’t! 3. There are no magic pills. The only way to health and fitness is by eating less and working out more. Period! 4. Stand up for yourself. Don’t let ANYONE make you feel small or weak or insignificant. 5. Laugh! 6. Tell people that you love them. You never know when you won’t have that chance again. 7. Never tell yourself that you can’t do something. You’ll never know that for sure unless you try. There is no shame in failure if you tried. The shame is in being afraid to try.

8. Travel and make every trip an adventure.

Thank you everyone for all your help. There is a lot of good, sound advice here. Maybe we can help someone younger learn sooner. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone told us sooner?

One final thought…
Eat more, drink more, and watch more TV…..Oh, Curt!!!

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I’m a 60 year old wife, mom and grammy. I am the ‘Older Sister’ around here! I’ve been married to my wonderful husband for 41 years and we have four daughters and four grandchildren. I’ve been chosen to be the mature voice of the Sisterhood and I couldn’t be more excited. My passions are my family, photography, Notre Dame football, Chicago Cubs baseball and my new found enthusiasm for fitness and weight loss. In a moment of crazy, I signed up to walk the 2013 Indianapolis Mini Marathon and believe it or not, I survived!