Family Life

Dear High School Graduate,

You have conquered one of the first biggest steps of your life. While my high school graduation day was May 28, 1998, I do remember it like it was yesterday. I had so many big plans. I was confident in what my future was going to bring me. Boy was I wrong!

Shattered Plans

You see, I had planned to become a teacher ever since I was in the fifth grade. Then when I hit college and had the opportunity to teach K-5th grade computers, science, and math while going to college, I found out how little I could discipline kids in a classroom. I knew if I couldn’t keep a managed classroom then there was no way I could teach. Even in 1998, kids were starting to get unruly. That completely shattered my dreams!!

Life became even more complex when I had to give up my emotional support horse. I spiraled into the deepest darkest depression.

I had planned to marry the love of my life on July 19, 1998. However, in my depressive state, I broke things off completely with my one true love! I nearly committed suicide a few times. In turn, I made even more reckless relationship decisions.

I got married to my first husband and we had our daughter. Our marriage was short-lived because I compared him to my true love in every argument. I also was dealing with postpartum depression and had no clue.

Then I moved from Ohio back to SC due to my mom getting cancer. Low and behold one of my best friends since middle school who always had a crush on me still wanted to date me and be with me. We agreed to get married out of convenience so that we could live together without tongues wagging.

Then about six months into our marriage, I got a phone call that yet again would change my life! My true love called out of the blue to offer me a free movie since he worked at the local movie rental place. My then-husband saw how I practically melted and could not stop trembling in delight from hearing his voice on the phone. He told me right then that our marriage was over. He couldn’t compete against my first love. (He clearly remembered how much I loved my first love from middle school.)

Then when we separated, I did go back to my first love and we have now been married twelve years and have two beautiful kids of our own. Plus, we have our kids from our prior marriages. So, we have a total of five awesome kids who we are quite proud of. Two of those kids are high school graduates this year too! So, this letter is for them as much as it is for you!

After my marriage to my true love, I did finally obtain my associate degree in accounting. Ironically, I don’t even use that degree at all.

The point of telling you the big pieces of how my life turned out since I was a high school graduate is to showcase how you can have the best well laid out plans and life can throw you major curveballs.

Just look at our society right now, none of us expected to have over half the world shut down due to a virus. We certainly didn’t expect to have to deal with major destructive riots all around the US right after the whole virus ordeal.

You have finally reached the point in your life (if you’re over 18) to make your own decisions about where life is going to take you. I hope that you make choices that lead you down the road to success.

Here's all the words of wisdom I wish someone would have told me when I graduated high school! I hope these words of wisdom will help you avoid life mistakes.

Here are some of the key things I wish I had done differently:

Live Your Life For YOU

Success for you can look different than what your parents or anyone else envision for you. Remember this is YOUR life! Once you are living on your own and over 18, then you are the one in the driver’s seat of your life. Make sure that you are living your life based on what makes you happy not what makes others happy.

Your parents nor anyone else should be dictating how you live your life. The rule of thumb is unless they are paying your bills, you are doing something that will directly impact their lives in some form, or it’s illegal, then they have no say so! Now if those three things apply, then you need to heed any advice or requests given from that person. However, once those strings are cut off then it’s time for them to accept how you live your life.

Followed My Broken Heart

I wouldn’t have let the fear of losing something else I loved to stop me. I wouldn’t have run away from my true love! I would have married him on the original date. However, our marriage is strong and true today. I’m blessed to have been given as many chances as I have had with him throughout my life! 

Have Better Money Management

Choose to spend AND save your money WISELY. If you can’t buy it outright, then save up for it. The only true thing you should invest in on credit is a house and MAYBE a car.

I stress maybe a car because if you can save up enough funds to get a quality used car, it’s a far better choice. That savings may save you from paying a car payment over the next five years. Plus, if something happens with the new car then your upside down and in a pickle.

If you choose to get a credit card, I highly suggest you stick to only getting one or two MAX. Be sure you make your payments monthly. One good way to help your credit is to buy your monthly gas with it and pay it as soon as the bill comes in.   

Since I work directly with helping people with their retirement pensions, I have learned how valuable it is to ensure that you start saving for your retirement early in life. It’s also vital that you provide companies with all the various ways that they can contact you! Sometimes the difference between getting access to funds or making corrections can be stopped just because there isn’t a phone number or email on file.

Dave Ramsey is the king of providing remarkable financial advice. If you follow his advice from the beginning of your adulthood, you’ll most likely be a rich person!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff  

The older you become the easier it is to have the small things in life start to bug the tar out of you. Many adults forget to stop and smell the roses. So be sure to appreciate the small things in life, but don’t let the small things that annoy you bring you down either. Find that happy balance and stick with it. Remember the golden rule, if it won’t affect you in five years don’t spend more than five minutes on it.

Fight for Your Relationships

One thing has become extremely clear to me after starting over several times in my adult life, materialistic items can easily be replaced with hard work and dedication. However, our loved ones cannot be replaced. We only get one life to live, and we need to ensure the mark we leave behind on those that matter is worth remembering.

Marriages are worth fighting to save. You made a vow to get married till death do you part. If there is no physical abuse or affairs taking place, I believe in fighting to make it last for life. There are many books for the discouraged wife worth reading. Just a side note, even relationships where there have been affairs can survive and sometimes be even stronger than they were before the affair.

Maintain relationships with other family members and friends. Those relationships are a part of your life to help you grow and be nurtured in your various parts of your life. They are as important for you as they are for the person you’re connected to. Ensure you make time for girl’s night out/in. Make time to spend with your parents.

Final Thoughts

Overall, no one can predict what their future is going to hold. Life will most likely throw you curve balls you never saw coming. The trick is always taking the time to appreciate every moment you’re given. Use your time, money, and energy with wisdom and live with no regrets.

Not everything needs to be in a photo or shared online for it to be remembered. Yet, make sure you take as many photos as you can because they are the most treasured possession after someone passes. Plus, it’s always fun to share with your kids memories from your past in photos and videos.

No one needs to know your business unless you want to tell them. Even then, beware of what you share because it may bite you in the behind if you share too much.

May your life be all you hope it to be and more.


A woman who has lived a lot of lives in one lifetime.  

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