Dear Younger Self: My Life Lessons to Date

Show Notes:


Valerie Hatcher reflects on the major life lessons she has learned and shares her wisdom with listeners. She emphasizes the importance of maintaining individual interests and passions in relationships, seeking balance with a partner who shares similar goals, being open to varied roles and lateral moves in a career, embracing continuous learning and education, managing stress through self-care and reframing mindset, and taking responsibility for one’s own happiness. Valerie also provides financial advice on living within one’s means and avoiding excessive debt.


00:25 Introduction to the podcast episode

00:57 Health hack: Importance of daily stretches for mobility

03:26 Lesson on maintaining individual interests in relationships

04:37 Lesson on seeking balance with a partner

05:58 Lesson on being open to varied roles in career

07:38 Lesson on embracing continuous learning and education

08:12 Lesson on managing stress through self-care and mindfulness

09:32 Lesson on reframing mindset to avoid wasted anxiety

10:19 Lesson on finding happiness within oneself

12:28 Message to future self: Pursue passions and stay curious

14:37 Financial advice: Avoid taking on excessive debt

15:59 Closing remarks and call for audience engagement

Key Takeaways:

  • Maintain individual interests and passions in relationships for personal fulfillment and longevity.
  • Seek balance with a partner who shares similar goals and ambitions.
  • Be open to varied roles and lateral moves in a career to expand your skill set.
  • Embrace continuous learning and education to stay competitive.
  • Manage stress through self-care and mindfulness practices.
  • Reframe mindset to focus on solutions and avoid wasted anxiety.
  • Take responsibility for one’s own happiness and pursue passions proactively.
  • Live within your means and avoid excessive debt for financial freedom.

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* Email at

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See you soon as we continue to age with grace, style, and a touch of sass.


0:00:25 Valerie Hello, Ladies, and welcome back to our Aging with Grayson Style podcast. I'm your host, Valerie Hatcher, and as always, I'm excited to embark on yet another fun episode with you. Grab your favorite beverage, or if you're in the car, turn up the volume and settle in. We're going to get reflective and talk about the major life lessons experience has taught us so far. Hindsight is 20/20. If we had a time machine, what wisdom would we impart on our younger selves?

0:00:57 Valerie While we can't go back and change the past, we can take the lessons we've learned and carry that wisdom forward. I'm excited to share a few key insights with you today. Get ready to reminisce and reflect with me on this special wisdom episode. But first, here's our health hack to start us off on the right foot. As we age, it becomes so important to maintain flexibility and mobility through stretches.

0:01:33 Valerie Simple daily stretches for your hips, hamstrings, and back can help increase your range of motion and reduce aches and pains. I recall a few years ago, after working from home for well over six years, I returned to the office. I had about a three-hour drive each day, and then once I was in the office, I pretty much sat all day other than bathroom breaks. Then when I got home, I sat, logged on and worked some more.

0:02:04 Valerie Needless to say, exercise of any kind, including stretching, went by the wayside. So I went from going to yoga three to four times per week to nothing. I was constantly stiff, sore, my low back hurt. You name it, I felt it. I was at the doctor more than I have ever been to the doctor. So in the long run, I found out it was osteoarthritis in my hip, and some of it was attributed to inactivity and not lubricating the joints through mobility.

0:02:43 Valerie So take a moment each morning when you wake up or night before bed and do a few easy stretches. It really makes a difference over the time. All right, now, time to limber up for some life lessons. All right, let's dive into our topic life lessons we've accumulated through the decades that we wish we grasp. Sooner, we'll all gain a little more perspective from the ups and downs of life. Today, I will share some realizations around relationships, careers, managing stress, and finding happiness that have shaped me.

0:03:26 Valerie So let's reminisce first. Let's start off with relationships. When it comes to relationships, one lesson that took me time to learn was the importance of maintaining your individual interest and passions outside of your partnership. In my youthful bliss, when relationships were new, I had a tendency to make the person the center of my universe, letting my own hobbies and friendships and interests fall by the wayside.

0:03:58 Valerie But then, on the flip side, I've also experienced partners completely revolving around me in what could be an unhealthy way. As flattering as it feels, initially to be put on a pedestal, it can become stifling, suffocating and isolating. It's important to make sure that we empower each other's autonomy in a partnership. While sharing your life with someone special is wonderful, continuing to nurture your own identity is so key for personal fulfillment and longevity as a couple.

0:04:37 Valerie Have fun you time doing activities you love and stay curious about your own growth in the world. According to Valerie, I believe your partner will love you even more for it. Another impactful lesson was seeking balance with a partner who shares a similar drive in life as you do. This provides such a solid foundation. Having similar ambitious career goals, similar interest, or adventurous spirits helps you envision and build a rich life together.

0:05:16 Valerie It's kind of like you're rowing the boat in sync rather than fighting the current. It can be hard when one person is the one who's always pushing and striving for more, and the other is I'm good. I'm good with the status quo. The desire to grow is so important, in my opinion. Next up we have career. When it comes to career, one insight was being open to varied roles and lateral moves within an organization or industry in order to expand my skill set.

0:05:58 Valerie Also not letting fear hold me back from taking chances, getting uncomfortable and seeking growth opportunities outside of my comfort zone. Early on, I had a tendency to keep my nose to the grindstone in the same stable job, rather than pushing myself to explore how different roles could add to my capabilities. While building expertise in one niche has value, exposing yourself to new teams, projects and subject matters keeps you agile.

0:06:34 Valerie Understanding how other departments operate and gaining cross functional knowledge ultimately made me a stronger, more versatile candidate when bigger advancement opportunities arose. But some of the biggest leaps in my career came when I gathered my courage and said yes to new challenges and roles that I wasn't 100% confident I could tackle. The more you test your capabilities, the more your wingspan expands.

0:07:05 Valerie So take those big chances. You'll grow in ways that you can't even imagine yet no regrets. Being curious, flexible and stepping outside comfort zones unlocks growth. Another huge lesson has been embracing continuous learning and education. So early in my career, I thought I could just rest on my education laurels. I mean, I'd gone to college and obtained a bachelor's degree. Wasn't I done learning?

0:07:38 Valerie I quickly realized how staying competitive requires constantly absorbing new information to expand your skill set. Whether it's training courses, mentorships workshops, or even online programs, keep exposing yourself to knowledge. Curiosity is what keeps you valuable when it comes to dealing with stress. One insight was learning that I couldn't just power through by ignoring issues or plowing ahead.

0:08:12 Valerie I used to think I was invincible and could handle anything through sheer willpower. No wonder burnout was a constant risk. What I've learned is that taking intentional moments throughout the day for self care provides the recharging needed to take on challenges from a centered place. A little mindfulness, like a short meditation when you feel overwhelmed, a yoga session, going for a quick walk to get fresh air, or calling a close friend to vent for a few minutes can provide the mental reset that you need.

0:08:51 Valerie Thank goodness for my friend Tanya. We are, let's say, each other's sounding boards for good and not so good stuff that happens in our days. Don't think that you have to tackle everything alone in a frenzied state. Be proactive about activities that help relieve anxiety and bring some calm stress compounds when it builds unchecked. Relatedly reframing your mindset helps avoid wasted anxiety. I used to live life scared of what was next and focused on worst case scenarios the glass half empty person.

0:09:32 Valerie But letting fear of hypotheticals dominate keeps you from feeling or from fully embracing each day. Release what you can't control. Focus on solutions, not avoiding problems. I know it's easier said than done, but try to shift your perspective. Your outlook can shape your reality. And my last lesson learned category, we'd say, is around happiness. When it comes to happiness, a key insight was realizing I was responsible for my own joy.

0:10:19 Valerie I couldn't rely on others to provide it. At times, I would put everyone else's needs, or even sometimes work so far ahead of my own that I felt drained and resentful. I discovered happiness comes from within, chasing validation through people or possessions. It never works out. The moments that I have felt most content have involved actively doing things that enliven me, like dabbling in photography and videography, working out, learning new things around technology, hanging out with close friends who uplift me, traveling to places that ignite my spirit, and doing creative projects just for myself.

0:11:10 Valerie Don't wait for happiness to find you. You have to pursue it. Proactively through self care and exploring your passions. Guard your energy, set boundaries, and learn when to say no if people ask for too much from you. I've gotten really good at saying no as I've gotten older, and honestly, it doesn't bother me. I'm going to do what I want to do, and unfortunately, if others don't like it, well, I'm really okay with that.

0:11:44 Valerie Now that's a big lesson learned. So I'd say tend to your own garden first. Your joy will overflow to others when you're fulfilled. Okay, I'm calling this part message to my future self. Looking back on these lessons, if I could talk to my future older self, here's what I'd say don't stop pursuing your passions. Make time for hobbies interests and experiences that spark joy. Learning new things, planning that dream trip, writing a book.

0:12:28 Valerie You're never too old to follow your dreams. Heck, I'm 60 and I still have a lot of things that I want to accomplish. I tell my future self, keep an eye, keep an open and youthful spirit. Continue challenging yourself to grow in new ways. Whether it's career wise, by picking a new skill physically, by staying active, or mentally by reading broadly. Stay curious. Don't always look for others to provide answers for you. Do your own research.

0:13:07 Valerie It keeps the brain active. I get that from my mom. She is always talking about stuff that keeps the brain active. I'd say invest in the relationships that matter most. Check-in on lifelong friends, be present with family, keep date nights with your partner and don't take these bonds for granted. Finally, I tell my future self. Remember that life is short. Appreciate each day, forgive yourself, help others when you can, and know that you're loved and keep aging gracefully.

0:13:51 Valerie Now I hope I listen to me. What would you tell your future self based on the wisdom that you've gained so far? Before we close, we have a question from a listener. Woohoo. We finally got a question from Texas. Karen from Texas asked, what's the best financial advice you can share from your life experiences? Fantastic question, Karen. My top money insight is don't take on too many credit cards or loans just because you qualify for them.

0:14:37 Valerie I remember in my twenty s and thirty s thinking of credit limits as buying power. But all that debt catches up quickly and it hinders you down the road. Live within your means, make careful purchases with an eye on value, and avoid running up high credit card balances that take forever to pay off. The less interest you pay, the more you can invest and build financial freedom. This is something I have told my son for years that wise money management early on pays off hugely later in life.

0:15:22 Valerie Well, ladies, we just covered a whole lot of ground. I can honestly say that this topic really caused me to stop and think as I was preparing for it. While we can't go back and rewrite the past, we can take these lessons forward and pay the wisdom gained through experience forward. Hindsight provides so much clarity if we reflect what lessons or pieces of hard won wisdom resonate with you on relationships, career stress and happiness, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

0:15:59 Valerie Please share and tag me at I am Valerie Hatcher on Facebook, Instagram, and you know you can always email me at Don't forget to share and subscribe so you don't miss our upcoming Tuesday Five to Thrive episode where I share five quick tips that are relevant to us. And if you like this episode, I would so appreciate if you rate and review. Until next time. Remember, you have so much wisdom to offer the world.

0:16:35 Valerie Know your worth and keep growing every step of the way. And as always, remember that together we are aging with grace, style and a touch of sass/

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