Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Sharon Marchisello

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 Sharon Marchisello looks back to her teens and shares her thoughts on how she might have made different choices.

I wish I knew then what I know now! by Sharon Marchisello

Sharon in 10th grade

If I could travel back in time and have a chat with my sixteen-year-old self, I would have told her to focus. Make a plan and execute it. Planning doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t make changes along the way, but at least you know where you’re going and have a reasonable idea how you’re going to get there. If you don’t know what success looks like, how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

Not having a plan means you drift through life, letting it happen to you rather than making things happen. Like you’re watching a movie written and directed by someone else. And one day, you’re in your sixties, still trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.

I had dreams, but they were just that. Not goals. I had no idea how to turn my dreams into reality. For a while, I thought I wanted to be a model—never mind that I was too short, and not thin or pretty enough. And I had no concept of what the work entailed, no way of knowing whether I’d even like it. I also thought I wanted to be an actress, but I was shy speaking in front of people and couldn’t project my voice to be heard in a crowd. It never occurred to me to take acting lessons or actively pursue parts in school or community plays. I figured I’d just move to Hollywood someday and wait to be discovered.

If I’d had some career counseling, maybe I’d have directed my energy toward more realistic pursuits: journalism, business, international diplomacy. These days, there are so many interesting courses of study and career paths—fields I never knew existed.

My parents encouraged me to go to college, but their purpose for educating a female child was to ensure she’d meet a college-educated man with great prospects, and that she’d develop an appreciation for education that she’d pass on to her children. So her sons could find lucrative careers and her daughters could snare good providers.

They encouraged me to prepare for a “fallback career,” such as teaching. Something I could do to help support the family if my husband died or we fell on hard times. Even though I had no interest in running a classroom full of high school students, I earned a teaching certificate—but then never sought a position as a teacher. I also didn’t get married and start a family.

If I could have counseled my young self when I entered college, I would have said: 1) Don’t try to finish too fast. (I took the maximum number of classes each semester and then went to summer school so I could graduate in three years.) Slow down, stretch it out over another year or two, enjoy the experience. Have fun, get involved in extracurricular activities, maybe join a sorority. 2) Dump him! Don’t spend your college years dating a jealous and controlling boyfriend (who prevented me from making friends, having fun, and participating in after-class activities). I did finally dump him, but about five years too late. At least I didn’t marry him.

All my life, I wanted to be a writer—a bestselling author, of course—but didn’t know how to parlay my skill with words into a career. I was arrogant enough to believe I had a great talent the world would someday discover, not realizing that even if you do have talent, you need to hone your craft, get feedback from others, rewrite and discard many precious words. I was an adult before I discovered writing classes and critique groups. And then I still thought getting published was the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow—instead of the beginning of an uphill battle to reach readers. (And not even the beginning; I’ve learned that marketing and networking needs to start long before publication.)

Although my friends and family told me I had talent, they scoffed at the idea that I’d ever be able to make a living with my writing; they considered it a cute hobby. I’d have to get a “real” job to support myself.

Over the years, I had little trouble finding employment, but because I considered writing my real career, these positions were just jobs, trading time for a paycheck. I never took the steps necessary to climb the corporate ladder, like applying for entry-level supervisory roles, paying my dues. Consequently, I was later passed over for promotion because I didn’t have leadership experience. If I’d known I was going to spend 27 years working at an airline—a job I took mainly for the wonderful travel benefits—I would have done things differently, followed a more judicious career path.

Celebrating 25th birthday at a Renaissance Faire with a musician boyfriend.

I often think about what my life would have been if I’d made different choices at critical junctures. But if I’d gone down a different road, I’d have missed out on many of the experiences I did have; I might never have met the most important people in my life. Maybe my life would be better, but maybe not. Maybe I wouldn’t have been happy with the responsibility of a corporate executive; it might have taken too much time away from writing and travel—the things I enjoy.

There are probably many paths I could have taken that would have resulted in a satisfying life; it was impossible to choose them all. Anyway, there’s no use dwelling on what might have been; happiness is appreciating what is. 

©Sharon Marchisello 2022

My thanks to Sharon for her look back at her teenage years and college and the advice she would have given herself at that time…I am sure I can relate and  I know Sharon would love to hear from you.

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of two mysteries published by Sunbury Press, Going Home (2014) and Secrets of the Galapagos (2019). She is an active member of Sisters in Crime.

She contributed short stories to anthologies Shhhh…Murder! (Darkhouse Books, 2018) and Finally Home (Bienvenue Press, 2019). Her personal finance book Live Well, Grow Wealth was originally published as Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, an e-book on Smashwords. Sharon has published travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals, and she writes a personal finance blog called Countdown to Financial Fitness.

She grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, doing volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society and the Fayette County Master Gardeners UGA Extension.

Also by Sharon Marchisello

My review for Going Home 30th September 2021

This is a well written and thought provoking story that combines a care crisis that many of us face with elderly parents who have developed dementia, and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding a murder in a family home.

It is clear the author has experience of the challenge of communicating with someone who has short term memory loss, and brings in a cleverly crafted murder plot with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader interested.

There are flashbacks to the past and events which have a bearing on the present, and the reader is witness to the fallout that revelations result in as the search begins for a viable suspect amongst the outsiders who have access to the family home. It would seem that the authorities have only one suspect in mind, and without the ability to communicate coherently, an elderly woman must rely on her extended family to prove her innocence.

The author does a great job in keeping all the various strands of the plot running smoothly in parallel and brings the story to a satisfactory climax.

I recommend to those who enjoy well written murder mysteries and family sagas.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – and: Amazon UK – follow Sharon: Goodreadsblog: Sharon Blogspot – Twitter: @SLMarchisello



106 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Guest Post – #Life – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! by Sharon Marchisello

  1. Great observations, Sharon. We can never know which choices would have made us more content, and only have what is right now. Thanks for sharing what you’ve discovered over the years, and huge congrats on the great review 💕🙂

    Sally, thanks for sharing. Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A wonderful post, Sharon, and I recognized myself in a lot of your points, particularly that I didn’t really have a plan either, not until I was 50! But I appreciate your summary too about “going down a different road” and how that would have meant missing out on the wonderful experiences and relationships you’ve had on this one. Wise advice not to dwell and to appreciate what is. Loved the photos too! 😀 Thanks, Sally, for another fabulous feature. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. A great post Sharon…
    (Sally they all are.)
    I did go down the back-up teaching path but did have to fight to get there. but at least it was a back-up and has been
    I wanted to be a teacher, like my aunt, teaching in another country but… my aunt didn’t have a family and I’m pleased I had that.
    and as for my third child (AKA my Playbus) I would have done a few things better but maybe it has at least led me to another road.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Sue. I think I would have enjoyed teaching abroad but when I looked into it, you needed two years’ experience. Another case of not paying my dues! When I worked for the airlines, I spent about 8 years in the training department, and really enjoyed that. I preferred teaching adult learners, and I especially liked being on the design team–writing the training material.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That sounds interesting.
        As I’m near to Gatwick, the travel option was always there.
        I ended up teaching adult education ( macrame). Trained 9-16 but with play work I ended up in primary school.
        My teaching has always been a support, even if after my training I wasn’t sure and retrained as a tracer/droughts women.
        But I wouldn’t change much.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Loved the photos, Sharon, especially the one taken at the Renaissance Faire. You’ve obviously had some setbacks (that miserable controlling boyfriend for a start) but, like others here, I applaud your philosophy now of accepting what’s past and that ‘happiness is appreciating what IS’. I agree with Amy that it’s something that ought to go viral. Yet another brilliant take on Sally’s prompt! ♥♥

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This was a great addition to the series, Sally! I love your last line, Sharon: happiness is appreciating what is! You are so right! Thanks for sharing your insights with us. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I really enjoyed your story Sharon and I think you’re absolutely right about different choices leading to different roads and how you would have missed extraordinary things that did happen. The best part is your dream and reality of writing DID happen and you have a successful book! (Maybe a different life would not have given you the idea for it.) Everything happens for a reason and I’m very happy for your success.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What an insightful post Sharon! The paths of life sound lovely after we’ve traversed them and it is nice to hear that you are happy… that is what matters. Beautiful pictures! You could’ve made a successful model! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are too kind, Balroop!
      I did have a one-time modeling gig when I was in my early twenties. At the company where I worked, we had just bought some new equipment, and the manufacturer was running a contest or promotion of sorts. They asked customers to submit photos of an employee using the equipment. The winner got paid $50 and their picture in the next catalog.
      About a year later, I was working at a different company, and some men in our plant came upstairs to my office. They showed me a catalog and said they had a bet. One of them thought the girl’s picture was me; the other said no way. Sure enough, it was the photo I’d posed for. They asked me to autograph the catalog for them.
      I guess my boss kept the $50.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Well done, Sharon. I wouldn’t worry about missing out on a career counselor. Based on a test I took in high school, I was going to be either a forest ranger or a gas station attendant. You didn’t miss anything!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. You are so right Sharon. If we took a different path we wouldn’t have the lessons and experiences we do now. Moving up the ladder doesn’t always make us happy either. I do have to disagree with you about not being pretty enough to model though. Great post and pictures!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Great share Sharon. You nailed it, we think of all the things we thought we could have been after the years passed, but our paths bring us the people who are supposed to be in our lives, they also help form who we are. And with you all the way on ‘make a plan’. Plans were made to be changed, but we need goals. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Sally and Sharon, this is a lovely post and I enjoyed learning more about Sharon. I don’t think many 16 year olds would have the life experience to understand the concept of focusing on achievement and progression. These are things we, unfortunately, have to learn as we go along in life. Every path in life involves choices and decisions and as we don’t know what the other decision or choice would have brought, we often think we’ve missed out when really, we probably haven’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I LOVE the last line, Sharon!!! “Happiness is appreciating what is.” We have many forks that appear in pathway ahead. I am glad that you chose the path of being a writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I adore the photo of you and the musician boyfriend, Sharon. I relate to SO much of this post. I too am one that has let life happen to me rather than making it happen – that is until I met Rick Sikes. From that point on, I knew all I wanted or needed was to be Mrs. Rick Sikes. It took fifteen long years to make that happen, but finally, I achieved my goal. Then he passed away. Back to square one. I feel like I am doing a little better job of creating my life now but wish I had done a better job in the past. Oh well. Water under the bridge and I wouldn’t be who I am today without all the life experiences that brought me here. Thank you for sharing, and thank you, Sally, for hosting!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sharon, first, LOVE your photos. So cool. I enjoyed your post as well. If only we girls were given more encouragement, advice, and guidance when we were young. I had a career interview at school, it ran along the lines of ‘you come from a large family so you need to think about nursing, teaching, something in a vocational setting!’ Right! I wanted to be a War Correspondent. That went down like a ton of bricks! We were treading water until Mr. Right came along and took care of us apparently. Well, I was having none of that. You seem to have found a wonderful life; travel is a gift many never experience. It broadens the mind, rounds our characters and personalities, and for you, as a writer, it must have been invaluable. A life well spent, Sharon, in spite of a few regrets which we all have. Go forth and spread the joy in your books. Good luck xx

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Sharon, I loved learning about you!! We are from Tyler!! My husband from Troup! I’m also a volunteer with animal rescue and donate to humane society. I will definitely check out your writing 😃

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Beautiful, Sharon. “Happiness is appreciating what is” – wonderfully wise words. Thank you for sharing your journey, your questions, and your amazing photos. And a big Thank You to Sally for this wonderful forum. I love this series! 💗

    Liked by 2 people

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  18. So many different stories and none of us know how it would have gone if we’d done something else. I think you’re right about your choices and your experience, Sharon. Thanks for sharing this!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now! – Guest Round Up – Part One – Claire Fullerton, Noelle Granger, Pete Johnson, Sharon Marchisello, Jane Risdon, Balroop Singh, Pete Springer, Carol Taylor D.Wallace Pea

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