Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

12 Things I Wish I Knew Back Then

A while back, I decided that although my past contains moments that I’d like to change, or do over, I worry about altering my now by altering anything that happened then. Which basically means that I wouldn’t change even the crappiest of the crappy moments or past decisions because somehow, each of them mattered in some way. Each of them led me to Here.

And while Here can be messy and crazy and full of worry and too many toys in my pantry, here is Here, and it’s mine. Ours. Here is where my family is. I guess what I’m saying is that I wouldn’t change anything about the yesterdays because of the todays. And that there’s so much love in the today, even when it’s messy and long, and I find a new blue Crayon mark on my sofa that I swear was not there last week but that my son promises has been there “since he was little.”

So, while I wouldn’t change anything about my past for fear of any changes making my now foreign, there are a few nuggets of wisdom that I wouldn’t have minded having, back then. 12 Things I Wish I Knew Back Then:

12 things I wish I knew

  1. A tan looks great on the young. The after-effects of a tan gotten while young, when you’re now in your 40’s? Not so much.
  2. Apple wasn’t actually failing as a company during the 80’s or 90’s, and it was the perfect time to purchase their stock, even when your dad tells you wanting to buy stock in order to support a company you love is not a good reason to buy stock. Also? When you figure out that your dad owes you hundreds of thousands of dollars based on following his advice and not buying the stock, he will laugh and say “Too bad it doesn’t really work like that, huh?” So buy the stock. Even when buying it for an emotional reason.
  3. Trust your gut. Or your heart. Or whatever body part speaks to you. See number two.
  4. When your baby is a baby, and entering something scary like special needs preschool, crying in the parking lot is absolutely okay. You’re doing the right thing.
  5. Listen to the people who know more than you do about things. Like special education teachers (see number four) or stock? Wait. Never mind the stock.
  6. That day at school when you thought you’d die of embarrassment? You won’t actually die, and it will make a great story at a bar in about 15 years. I promise.
  7. The person who doesn’t love you back doesn’t know shit about shit, and knows even less about you. Let it go. It’s not you.
  8. Birthdays matter. Celebrations matter. Celebrate them, even when you feel like you’re too old, or too sad, or too whatever. Celebrate. Too many people don’t get the chance to experience another when they desperately wanted to.
  9. Never start smoking. Really.
  10. Don’t assume that you’re ever the dumbest person in the room. Even when you’re in a room of experts who are experting on Quantum Physics, I bet that you know something that they don’t.
  11. Do not ever buy into anything if the reason you’re doing so is to psychologically equalize yourself with anything or anybody. Ever. This is why sociopaths purchase guns. To level the playing field that only they can see. Of course, it’s okay to buy expensive face creams, but do so knowing that they will help, but not stop, the wrinkles. Just saying.
  12. Say no. Say yes. Say what you mean, and don’t say it for anybody but you. Unless, sometimes, you say it for the sake of a child, or a person who really really needs to hear it. Being true to you is the ultimate though, and say no, or say yes, because it feels right, not because you feel as if you must.

Those are the 12 things that I wish I knew when I was younger, and are the things that I remind myself of today. I’m sure I’m leaving some important ones out, so what are some of the things that you wish you knew, back then or now?


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Today’s sentence is “I wish I knew…”
Host: Kristi Campbell (me!) from Finding Ninee
Co-hosts: Mardra from Mardra Sikora and Jill from Ripped Jeans and Bifocals

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  • Kenya G. Johnson - So once upon a time before Apple had Steve Jobs you wanted to purchase stock? Wow! As for my birthday I really need to do better about mine. I’d shrug if off if I could but I’m right in the middle of mom and Christopher.

    And I always so no first. Even if I think about it and say yes later. 😉July 30, 2015 – 10:13 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      Yeah, it was when they were going through a lot and there were rumors that they may close. I told my dad I wanted to buy stock to support them. I wish I would have!!! Don’t shrug off your birthday!!July 31, 2015 – 5:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Oh, #6. I still have to remind myself of that, because I am still embarrassing myself as a seemingly wise and mature adult.July 30, 2015 – 10:38 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - Okay a few of mine to add if you do not mind….

    1) Love with all your heart.
    2) Be exactly who you are without apologizing.
    3) Sometimes you have to lose the battle to win the war.
    4) Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. Give frequently.
    5) Life in the end is all comedy. Everything even your worst heart breaking story eventually will be funny.
    6) Be kind to other and if they are no in return thast is their problem.
    7) Never react but act.
    8) Never get so mad at someone you do something out of character.
    9) Never tell your own secrets or pthers if you would like to keep their confidence.
    10) Laugh! Laugh! Laugh!July 30, 2015 – 10:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Mimi - I wish I knew how you put together such an awesome, funny, insightful post so fast! Loved this. Full of humor and good advice. #8, Celebrate! I’m going to keep this in mind as I get ready to celebrate the big 4-0 in a couple of months. Excited but nervous about gathering people together for it. I wish I knew how to just let go, both then and now. Thanks for this!July 30, 2015 – 11:03 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re so kind, Mimi! Thank you very much! For me, the big 4-0 was easier than 30 for some reason. More resigned I suppose. I hope your celebration will be magical and one you remember forever.July 31, 2015 – 5:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Yes to all of the above and I would add that the day I passed out giving my first public speech in college would also make for a very interesting tale many years later, as well. Just saying 😉July 31, 2015 – 2:03 amReplyCancel

  • Mardra - Yes. and Yes. and now I kind of want to write a whole ‘nother post, cause you’ve inspired me. But its late and I’m tired and there’s a deadline looming and YEA for Finish the Sentence Friday – I so LOVE this hop and all of the bloggers you’ve gathered.
    So – there ya go. 🙂
    – MardraJuly 31, 2015 – 2:09 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Mardra,
      I loved your post! It was beautiful! YEA for Finish the Sentence Friday – I love it too and am so glad that you’re a part of it. Thank you for co-hosting with me this week!! xoJuly 31, 2015 – 5:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - You won’t actually die, and it will make a great story at a bar in about 15 years.

    Share!!!!!!!!!!! 😉

    (BTW, great list! Lots of wisdom, and several that I’d wished I’d followed. That Apple stock one definitely sticks out!!!)July 31, 2015 – 2:34 amReplyCancel

  • Sandra - I wish I listened to the tanning thing, but I can’t stop now. I know I’ll regret it when my jowls are hanging down to my knees due to excessive sun damage, but for now, man, I look good with a glow. It conceals the bags under my eyes. And your dad does owe you thousands, just sayin’.July 31, 2015 – 2:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to your jowls hanging to your knees Sandra! I bet you look completely awesome and YES my dad really does owe me thousands!! 😉July 31, 2015 – 5:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Absolutely loved your 6,7,8 points and agree 110% on it 🙂

    happy to link up too!July 31, 2015 – 3:15 amReplyCancel

  • Kirstenjill Hudkins Robbins - #4 and #10…okay, pretty much all of these things. Love this list and love you!!!!!!!July 31, 2015 – 11:42 amReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - “Don’t assume that you’re ever the dumbest person in the room. Even when you’re in a room of experts who are experting on Quantum Physics, I bet that you know something that they don’t.”

    Yes! I say this to myself all the time. 🙂July 31, 2015 – 11:46 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You do? How cool that we both do that!! It’s hard to remember sometimes, but every once in a while when I’m feeling ill-informed, I remember this and crack myself up.July 31, 2015 – 8:38 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - 7.The person who doesn’t love you back doesn’t know shit about shit, and knows even less about you. Let it go. It’s not you.**

    Excellent insight!! xxxJuly 31, 2015 – 2:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - Oh jeez – I have certainly cried in parking lots before! And I will again.
    I love all of these. I’ve never had a cigarette too! I guess that was at least one that I knew.July 31, 2015 – 4:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Maybe crying in parking lots is a common thing? It must be, at least at preschools and kindergartens. Good job on the never having had a cigarette thing. Seriously.July 31, 2015 – 8:39 pmReplyCancel

  • ivy - I so preach many of these…especially #6… thus the I wish I was wearing a better bra after I accidentally removed my shirt on the escalator at Ikea story….July 31, 2015 – 9:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG how is it even possible to “accidentally” remove your shirt? LOLOL On an escalator? Holy shit. I’m kinda in awe.July 31, 2015 – 11:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Organ - Great list. I especially like #10 and 12.August 1, 2015 – 9:00 amReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - Brilliant list, Kristi. It took me a long time to get used to crying in public. Now I can’t seem to stop those tears from spilling. As for smoking – I had smoked less than five n my entire life when I got the role of a gal who smoked nonstop. This was at college. I had to come to all the rehearsals and sit there and smoke, even when I wasn’t on stage. The director “needed” my smoking to appear natural. Coughed my way through the whole experience. Hated it.August 1, 2015 – 1:31 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw to crying in public, Kelly! And gah the smoking. I’m glad you hated it.August 1, 2015 – 8:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Bev - Yes to all of this! #10 is so important, especially in light of going to blogging conferences this year. It’s easy to feel like you don’t know what you’re doing, but chances are you know at least one thing someone else doesn’t know. Great list!August 1, 2015 – 2:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - So true, Bev! Even if you don’t “know” something that somebody doesn’t (which we all do), we have a unique perspective on it, and I think that’s important. Thank you!August 1, 2015 – 10:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki - YES! Yes yes yes.. can I say yes 12 times and then 12 more times? Number 7 is my absolute fave, but they are all wonderfully true. And I so appreciate what you say about not changing anything then because it means now would be altered and now is good, it’s where we are.August 1, 2015 – 6:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Nicki, you can say yes a billion kazillion million times Google times infinity and number seven is one of my favs, too. xoxoAugust 1, 2015 – 10:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie Martinka Severson - Yeah #6 and #7 would’ve been fabulous to know way back when and saved me oodles of agony. Especially the dying-of-embarrassment moments. So many in my past. And you’re right. They make our future conversations at bars and dinner parties much more lively. But, unfortunately, that does nothing to soothe my teen, tween and pretween when they’re red in the face.August 2, 2015 – 1:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - I love the part about saying yes and saying no – and the sunblock and that celebrations matter:)! Hell ya!

    How are you? School starts Thursday – I know it’s a coup[le more weeks for you, but need to catch up!August 2, 2015 – 3:34 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Allie! School starts Thursday? YIKES. Also, hooray? We do have a couple more weeks which is good because I am so not ready for first grade. Gulp. And yes, we ned to catch up!August 3, 2015 – 12:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Mike - Hi you! Absolutely awesome list, Kristi. I liked each one. One of very first field trainers I had (who became a really good friend) bought not only Apple and the ripest moment but also Yahoo! (right when it went public). I remember him sitting next to me that morning saying, “Hey Mike, have you ever heard of Yahoo! the browser company? I just bought a boatload of their stock because I think it’s going to be a really good deal. You might look into it, kiddo.” *sigh* I did buy Twitter when it launched! It really comes down to being true to yourself in every life aspect doesn’t it, sweetie?? Have a great day and give that little man a big ol’ hug from me 🙂August 3, 2015 – 12:10 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - MIKEY! Hi hi hi friend! How are you? Gah to your friend who bought Apple and Yahoo at the perfect times. Makes me kinda jealous. And you! You bought Twitter when it launched? Wow. Good for you! Here’s to being true to ourselves and thank you so much. Hug given and sent back to you. xoAugust 3, 2015 – 12:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Deb - Interesting. I love the part about being afraid to change the past for fear that it will render the happy present null and void. I wonder about that. How much could I alter about the past but still end up with my lovely family. Thanks for making me think. I’m in the process of writing two posts, btw… hope to actually finish this month. So wonderful to see you in July. xoxoAugust 3, 2015 – 12:28 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Deb, I think about things like that a lot. Like what if I’d not spent those years with that guy… did I need them to get here? It feels too scary to say no somehow. YAY to you writing two posts. I can’t wait to read them and loved seeing you in July!! xxooAugust 3, 2015 – 12:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Rabia @TheLiebers - I love your list! If I had to look back at my former self and offer some advice, I’d say “Don’t worry so much.” and “Don’t settle.” But, like you, I’m glad I ended up where I did.August 3, 2015 – 1:32 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Rabia! Reminding our younger selves to “not worry” and “don’t settle” are awesome pieces of advice! In fact, I can still use the don’t worry one!August 5, 2015 – 1:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Michele @ A Storybook Life - Kristi, this list is GOLD. I live #8 faithfully but need to be a little better about #7 and #10. Thanks for sharing!August 4, 2015 – 12:24 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Michele! I’m so glad to read that you celebrate birthdays! It seems so many parents don’t and birthdays are awesome. And yeah, I struggle with 7 and 10 too. It’s hard to not feel like the dumb person in the room sometimes. But really, we’re not.August 5, 2015 – 1:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Stacey DeHaven Gannett - What a great post, Kristi! I totally agree with #9! I did when I was 11, and now I am 42…And #3 is a definite amen to that! Hope you have a great week!August 5, 2015 – 5:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni AaMom - Aaaaaah!!! You reminded me about Apple!! Our dads collectively owe us millions of dollars!!August 5, 2015 – 11:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - Out One Ear - Oh Kristi! I wish I’d bought Apple stock too, but I don’t have anyone to blame that bad decision on because I wouldn’t have had even one dime to invest back then. As far as #6–the embarrassing things. You are so right. They make incredible stories later. Living through the embarrassment brings you closer to others who’ve gone through similar things. Well, at least that’s been my experience and Lindsey has done plenty of things to embarrass me at the moment. I love the rest of your list too. How in the world do you keep up with all the writing???? I want to be like you. 🙂August 6, 2015 – 2:14 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That’s so true about how living through embarrassing things brings you closer to others – I suppose that’s true about all things and connections. And as to the writing, I’m definitely not posting as much as I used to. And awwww. You’re so awesome. I’m actually in Amherst, MA at a writing retreat right now. It’s pretty wonderful. xoAugust 8, 2015 – 7:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Velvet Rose - Great topic and list! Sometimes you really have to listen to your own gut and ignore advice you get, even if from family members.

    Julie 🙂August 6, 2015 – 3:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - LOVE this Kristi. I totally agree with them all!! Damn, I would struggle with the Apple stock advice… maybe you should add one about forgiveness… LOL Just THINK about the MONEY you would HAVE!!

    I like your last one the best. No wait- I also like the others just as much, so never mind. 🙂August 8, 2015 – 4:58 amReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - #6 and #8 YES YES YES!!!August 10, 2015 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

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