Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Jan Sikes

I am sure like me, there have been times when you have wondered what difference might have been made to your life, if your younger self had been gifted with the experience and knowledge you have accumulated over the years.

I invited several friends from the writing community to share their thoughts on this subject which I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did.

Today author Jan Sikes shares how her experiences in life may have benefitted her as a teenager in tenth grade.

I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now by Jan Sikes

That is such a loaded statement, as I have learned much in my seventy years of living.
Often, I hear folks say they wish they could go back and do things over again, but only with their current knowledge. I would never want to go backward. However, if I could talk to my younger self and know she would actually listen, I’d give her some strong advice.

I recently watched “The Adam Project” on Netflix. It is a time-travel story where thirty-year-old Adam travels from 2050 to 2022 and meets his twelve-year-old self. There is a lot more to the plot, but can you imagine? The advice the grown man gives to his younger self gave me pause. What if I could go back and tell my younger self some things to help make life easier? What would I say?

First and foremost, I’d tell my younger Janice (that is my given name) to be authentic. Don’t try to be like anyone else. Just be yourself. We are each as unique as our fingerprints. Even though society tries to force us into a mold of alikeness, we are all different.

Growing up, I was an outcast in school. Because of my parents’ religion, I had to wear long dresses and wear my long hair either in a braid or bun. I wasn’t allowed to participate in any school sports or other events. At the time, all I wanted was to fit in, to be a part of the crowd. That longing ate away at me inside and influenced some major choices I made. The first time I felt that longing fulfilled was traveling with Rick and his band when I was nineteen. I finally belonged.

But back to my advice. I’d tell her not to take things too seriously. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Of course, that is all based on perspective. What an adult would consider inconsequential, a young child might find to be of the utmost importance. That’s where it gets tricky.

The way I now view what I thought were catastrophic events in my growing-up years carries no significance in my life today. It doesn’t matter that I thought John Paolino was cute in fourth grade or how humiliated I was when his best friend, Joe Webb, pulled my braid and made me fall on the playground. But that day, it devastated me.

I would tell young Janice always to speak her truth, no matter what. It is impossible to please everyone. That’s a huge life lesson for many of us, particularly women. I’ve often found myself saying what I thought another person wanted to hear to avoid making waves or, worse yet, starting an argument. I am the kind of person who will walk a mile around a disagreement rather than face it head-on and confront it. Anytime we deny ourselves our truth, we give away our power.

I would advise her to stop and think before acting. I’ve often plunged off the edge of a cliff because I only acted or reacted without thinking. If I’d only known then what I know now.
I would remind her that life is short and focus on the things that make her happy and fulfilled. Creating stories for others to enjoy is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in life so far. I’ve worn many different hats, and it seems each time I switch one for another, it’s been an upgrade.

I would encourage Janice always to nurture her kind heart and have compassion for others. A helping hand or even a simple smile can often go a long way to making someone’s day better.

I would want her to know about Karma. You reap what you sow. We’ve all heard those words, but when its impact hits, we realize the true implications. The thoughts and actions we put out to the Universe come back to us ten-fold. So, if we put out negative, we will get back ten times more than we put out. Staying positive is vital to a peaceful life.

Lastly, I’d tell my younger self to always remain unafraid to open her heart to love. Love is pure, and it’s selfless. It’s a joy.

We often hear that life is a journey, not a destination. And while those are only words, they carry an undeniable truth.

Here’s to the journey! It’s been quite a ride so far.

Thank you, Sally, for inviting me to participate in this fun prompt!

©Jan Sikes 2022

My thanks to Jan for sharing her thoughts on the prompt and her excellent advice that we can apply whatever age we might be at this moment. I know she would love to hear from you.

About Jan Sikes

I’ve been an avid reader all my life. I can still remember the excitement that surged through me the first time I realized I could decipher words. Many summers, I won the highest award possible from the Hobbs, NM Public Library for reading the most books.

There’s nothing I love more than losing myself in a story.

Oddly enough, I never had any ambition to be a writer. But I wound up in mid-life with a story that begged to be told. Not just any story, but a true story that rivaled any fiction creation. Through fictitious characters, the tale came to life in an intricately woven tale that encompasses four books. Not satisfied to stop with the books, I released music CDs of original music to match the time period of each story segment.

In conclusion, to bring the story full circle, I published a book of poetry and art. I was done.


The story ideas keep coming, and I don’t intend to turn off the creative fountain.

I am a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. I am an avid fan of Texas music and grandmother of five beautiful souls. I reside in North Texas.

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

My review for Jagged Feathers March 3rd 2022

Having read book one of this series I was looking forward to this next story with much anticipation. I was delighted to catch up with some of the characters from Ghostly Interference and the author made the transition seamless.

Both Vann and Nankina who head the cast in this second book, carry the burden of past events in their lives and the story highlights the many challenges facing those who have served and also civilians who have been touched by tragedy.

The setting is tanquil, but danger and violence intrude into this peaceful backwater. The last thing a recovering soldier with PTSD needs is to be back in a war zone, but his need to protect a defenceless woman becomes a mission he cannot back down from.

This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend to those who enjoy action packed romances.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks


Thank you for joining us today and I hope you will share your thoughts on the prompt in the comments.. thanks Sally.

126 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Jan Sikes

  1. Wonderful, down-to-earth advice, Jan. What you say about avoidant-silence giving away our power is spot on. Thanks so much for sharing with us today. I spent too many years only saying what I thought people wanted to hear. Nowadays, I say what needs saying, even though I don’t feel comfortable.

    Thanks for sharing, Sally.

    Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I loved this. There’s some excellent advice here that’s still relevant to many oldies, too! A beautifully considered and thoughtful piece. Thanks to Jan for writing it and to you, Sally, for instigating it. xx

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I love this, Jan. I agree with the advice to be ourselves. We aren’t cookie-cutter humans, but unique individuals. Each should march to the beat of their own drum.

    Thank you for hosting today, Sally/

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Another thoughtful take on the question.
    what indeed would I change.
    I’d certainly with I didn’t take things too seriously but then again that’s me.
    In the end we need to be ourselves, warts and all!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Such excellent advice. Especially to stop trying to please everyone and don’t sweat the small stuff. Gosh, if only I had been given that advice as a youngster. I love this series. Thanks, Jan.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I am glad Jan didn’t know so much and that’s how she evolved into a loving, understanding and wise human being. The lessons we learn on the curve of life journey are as precious as you mention Jan but we value them more if we stumble to learn. Nobody likes to listen as a youngster! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These are all good things to say to Janice in her youth. Now that Jan is grown it is obvious she learned them as well. Super post, Jan. Thank you for hosting Jan on this feature today Sally.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Thais is beautifully said, Jan 🙂 Staying true to who we are is a hard one to learn, but so important. Very Important lessons that we must learn in our our time. Xo

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Beautiful sage advice, Jan. I could have used your wisdom as well when I was young. Thank you for sharing these tender reflections. And, thank you, Sally, for featuring Jan today. Both of you are amazing, cherished gifts! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

  10. If only we had the wisdom to think before we leap as teenagers, imagine all the grief that could be avoided. Beautifully written, Jan. Thanks for sharing this important message ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I very much appreciated your insights, Jan. Especially about speaking, no matter what! What an affirmation of being in sync with yourself. By the way, just watched “The Adam Project” on Netflix. Serendipity.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. That was a wonderful post, Jan, and much of that advice, I would give my younger self, too. I think we are somewhat alike in being peace-makers, avoiding arguments, and taking on more than we should. I’m glad you’ve learned so much on your journey and are still growing. I know I am, too!

    Thanks for the great share and a huge thanks to Sally for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I loved your list Jan. And talk about a 180 from long dresses to a dancer in a band, you go girl! Like you, I hate confrontration. And you are spot on about Karma! Loved this. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  14. This is such a wonderful post, Jan. I loved The Adam Project, by the way. Good film. Like so many others, I have often had those dreams of discovering time travel and going back–only with the knowledge I now possess. But the thing is, we don’t have that later-in-life knowledge without having lived it. We learn from lessons during our journey. I would love nothing more than to go back and fix so many things I did wrong in my younger days. But how would I have gained this knowledge? Even the darkest of days are there to teach us, to strengthen us, to humble us, to correct us, to remind us how truly imperfect were humans are. I hold so many life lessons in my heart, my head, and my soul. They’ve made me the person I am today. I do like the idea of sitting down with my younger self and sharing some advice, though that guy might not be as receptive as I am today. Thanks for sharing this thought provoking post.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Thanks for the honest posting, and the very good advices, Jan. Why does it always take years to recognise, that sometimes it’s better confronting the opposite with the truth?
    Thanks for sharing the review on Jagged Feathers. I hope i will be able to start reading soon. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think it’s all a part of our growing and learning, Michael. Our mistakes are what help make us who we are today. And who is to say they are even mistakes at all. If things had gone differently, I would be a different person today. We are here to learn, to love, and to grow into our authentic selves. Thank you so much for your comment. I would be thrilled if you read Jagged Feathers! And thank you for reblogging!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Pingback: Younger Self Advice and Top Ten Things – Writing and Music

  17. Sorry I’m late to comment, Jan, but believe me, I LOVED this post! So full of positive, constructive thoughts. Oh, how I wish I could borrow some of your words and go back in time to share them with the younger ME, too. But then, we do learn from the mistakes we make, and hopefully grow wiser over the years, so that’s at least some solace for the errors we make along the way. Super post, Jan, and thank you, Sally, for this wonderful new series. Keep smiling, ladies! You are making a difference in this world with your writing and blogging, and I, for one, appreciate you both!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Jan, because we were so sheltered and our spirits squashed down, you and I couldn’t wait to get out in the world and experience life. Which led to a lot of bad choices. If we’d have been allowed to date and be normal teenagers, we wouldn’t have gotten into some bad problems. Both of us indulged in quite a bit of risky behavior. But I suppose it was in cards for us and we turned out alright I think. Love you, sister!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Thank you for such an honest and open post, Jan. I’ve read through every comment and can only add that every experience makes us what we are today. I think yours led you to be the amazing person you are today. Thanks, Sally, for coming up with such a great topic and hosting Jan. Your generous is appreciated, as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Awww, thank you for your heartfelt comment, Mark. For each of us, our paths have led us to this exact moment time and to the person we have grown into. As I’ve said before, I am not finished with learning and growing. It’s a work in progress all the way. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  20. I’m only blogging a few minutes each day while on on my trip, so it’s no accident that I ended up here to read Jan’s excellent post. I could go on and on because she makes many valuable points. I especially like the advice to not sweat the small stuff. Many of us, including me, are guilty of that. Getting all stressed out about things we can’t control is a waste of our time and energy.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Jan, this is such wonderful advice! And honestly, no matter the age, it’s quite fitting. Thank you for sharing, and thank you, Sally for sharing your site and introducing such a fantastic prompt. Also, The Adam Project was a phenomenal movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hi Sally, it is lovely to read this post from Jan. It is interesting to read how different upbringings and childhood circumstances change the direction of people’s lives. My parents never had enough money and it impacted heavily on me as the oldest child. My whole life has been spent accumulating money so that I feel financially secure. Funny, isn’t it? I think I am quite an outspoken person. That is why I wouldn’t become a partner in my firm, I will not be muzzled and will speak my mind. Interestingly enough, a partner told me a few weeks ago that he really admired how I stand up to corporate nonsense and tell people the truth. It is best to live your life as a reflection of your truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round up 9th- 15th May 2022 – Ella Fitzgerald, St. Thomas, Magnesium, Short Stories, Podcast, Health, Travel, Books, Reviews, Health and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  24. Great advice, Jan, and the point about the difference in perspective is so true. Being able to look at things from a distance helps a lot, but it’s so difficult. Thanks for this initiative, Sally, and thanks to Jan for her post.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Too many faults to list from way back then. Advice from a wise future self would never have been heeded given my arrogant, lazy, procrastinating, bratty but suffering self. The reality is, I couldn’t have become the happy and successful person I am today through the faith practice I’ve had for 45 years if I hadn’t experienced the life of my pre-20s self.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. What a lovely, compassionate post from Jan, and so full of wisdom for young Janice, and for other young women. It’s resonates and pulls at the heartstrings. Thank you for sharing, Jan. And thanks for the amazing series, Sally. I’ve loved every post I’ve caught.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Part Three – Jacquie Biggar, Harmony Kent, Jan Sikes, Gwen M. Plano, Darlene Foster, William Price King, Toni Pike, The Story Reading Ape, Jennie Fi

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