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Tracy Frank, Published August 31 2013

Words of wisdom: Area women share life lessons they wish they had known in their younger years

FARGO – Learning is a part of life, and with expe-rience comes wisdom, but sometimes it’d be nice to have learned those life lessons a bit sooner.

We gave 10 area women a chance to look back and share something they wish they could have told their 20-something selves.

Most of the advice seems to center around self-confidence and living life to the fullest – lessons appreciated at any age.

Follow a winding path

Linda Boyd, 56, of Fargo, Fargo-Moorhead Sympho-ny Orchestra executive director, Fargo School Board member and mother of two, would tell her 20-year-old self to say yes to almost everything and not to worry about traveling in a straight line, she said.

“If you realize you are talking yourself into doing something, that’s the thing to say ‘no’ to,” she said.

Laugh, make mistakes

Marjorie Norris-Thompson of Fargo, who owns Downtown Diva in Fargo, describes her age as “old enough to know better and young enough not to care.”

She would tell her younger self to laugh more and enjoy youth.

“Take time to laugh at yourself,” she adds. “Make friends that you will keep close forever – they ‘re-member when’ and that makes for laughter, which leads to long lunches and wine.”

She continues, “I may have had more fun than I should have, but the life lessons and teaching mo-ments should qualify me for a nursing home room with a view!”

Take a chance

Kimberlee Moen, co-owner of XaBeat dance-fitness program, said if she could offer some words of wisdom to her 20-year-old self, she would tell her the opportunities that scare her most will turn out to be the most rewarding.

“In my 20s, I would have never taken a risk, afraid that I might fail,” the 43-year-old mother of three said. “The first time I really stepped outside my comfort zone, as scary as it was, turned out to be the best experience of my life. We only grow when we take risks.”

Enjoy every minute

Lynne Kovash, the Moorhead Area Public Schools superintendent, would tell her younger self to enjoy every minute of her youth, the 60-year-old said.

“Don’t wish to grow up so fast,” the mother of three said. “Take risks, challenge yourself, keep your mind open to the possibilities, and don’t limit yourself. You never know what great opportu-nities you may find.”

Accept life’s challenges

Dr. Julie Blehm is the Sanford Health Depart-ment chairwoman and mother of two who won the 2012 YWCA Cass Clay Women of the Year Flor-ence Reed Owens Lifetime Achievement award. If the 61-year-old could go back in time, she’d tell her 20-year-old self to accept life’s challenges.

“No matter how hard you work, you cannot make everything turn out OK,” she said.

Hope in tomorrow

Kathleen Boyle Wrigley, a writer and the wife of Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, would tell her younger self to hope in tomorrow and laugh at herself, she said.

“It’s going to get bumpy, but every bump will smooth and each will help with the next one,” the 43-year-old mother of three said. “There will be many and with each bump comes choices. Your attitude, your family, friends, the community, and your faith will become your most reliable resources for strength and hope.”

“And if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re in trou-ble.”

Keep problems in perspective

Lisa Narum, a middle school math and English teacher at Central Cass Public School in Casselton and Air National Guard member, would tell her younger self to listen to her parents and remember their words of wisdom.

“I’m going to steal a cou-ple pieces of advice I re-ceived from my parents,” the 33-year-old Casselton woman said. “Anytime something bad happened, my dad always said, ‘Well, if that’s the worst thing you have to worry about in life, then you must have it pretty damn good.’ The older I get, the more that little tidbit seems to direct my perspective.”

“The second gem is mod-eled by my mom,” said the mother of three with a fourth child on the way. “She is never afraid to be herself. I can’t say that was true for the 20-year-old me, but I sure wish I would have been more like her early on.”

“My mom was rockin' leopard print before it was cool,” Narum said. “She’s not afraid to be the only one on the dance floor or speak up when no one else will. The older I get, the more I realize I really am turning into my mother. I’m OK with that now.”

Spend money and time wisely

Alicia Thu, a licensed child care provider in Jamestown, N.D., and mother of three would tell her 20-year-old self to spend both her money and time wisely, she said.

“Save, only buy what you have cash for, and enjoy every single moment of every day,” the 29-year-old said.

Don’t fear failure

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., would tell her young-er self she’s braver than she thinks she is.

“Don’t be afraid of giving something a shot. You will be surprised at how well you will respond to the opportunity,” the 57-year-old mother of two said. “When I battled breast cancer, I was reminded that we are only in this world for a short period of time, and I don’t want to regret not trying some-thing because of the fear of failure.”

Be bold in life, faith

Becky Lee, pastor of Atonement Lutheran Church in Fargo, would tell her younger self to make life happen.

“Life moves faster as you grow older,” the 62-year-old said. “Don't waste a minute of the time you have wait-ing for life to happen to you, make it happen for yourself. Be bold enough to be a risk-taker.

“If you depend complete-ly on your own strength, you will never survive. Allow God to be your strength and you will be blown away at what you are able to do. Live in joy!”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526