A Year Can Change A Lot: Part 7

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on October 16, 2009

Knowing Yourself Is The Beginning of All Wisdom

Missed Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, Part 5, or Part 6?

I would not be where I am today had it not been for the wonderful women in my life. My mom and sisters in particular have been such a great support system for me over the past 3 years as I went through many highs and many lows.

Just prior to my graduation, my mom sent me one of the most touching and memorable gifts that I have ever received.

She sent me a time capsule filled with memories and articles from my childhood. I was just shocked when I opened my gift to see a beautiful wooden, engraved memory box.


It reads: ‘Angela, Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.’

IMG_5157 IMG_5160

When I opened it up I found this poem:


She included her own high school graduation picture:


Isn’t she beautiful? :D

Inside the box are tons of pictures from when I was a child, all complete with captions of the date and who I was with. We lived in Georgia and Florida when I was ages 4-8.


We were so 80’s! This was my all time favourite outfit- a pink and black polka dot ensemble:


I’m sure I was wearing a snap bracelet to go along with my high top sneakers. ;)

Including a drawing of me when I was just 3-4 years old done by a local artist:


And Eric and I at our high school prom in 2000:


Everyone joked that we were getting married and not going to prom!

Well, 8 years later we did. ;)


There are tons of school assignments I did , including one from 1990 (man I feel old!!!) where I wrote 5 special things about myself:


They included:

  • Everyone is special and different
  • I am healthy when I get good sleep
  • Parents and a dog that love me
  • My sister who plays with me

I rocked long division (bahahah!)


But the best part of this entire capsule were the words that my mom wrote in it.


She wrote:


I know….just amazing!

I teared up when I brought it all out last night to read over again.

When I first read it, I didn’t really know how to apply it to my current situation. I felt stuck in a job where I was unhappy and I felt like I was destined to do work that I didn’t really enjoy. Perhaps, this letter planted the seed for me though.

Reading it over last night, everything sort of clicked for me.

Over the past 8 months, I have learned these lessons. I have learned that money doesn’t bring happiness and it sure as hell won’t give you self-esteem or character. I have learned that being true to myself is possibly one of the most beneficial things that I could ever achieve. I have learned that if you do something you love and are passionate about, the money will eventually follow.

I used to be this guarded person who was afraid to open up. I was shown time and time again that being a sensitive person, especially in the workplace, was strongly discouraged. I was to be a brick wall, tough, and hard. But that isn’t me and I felt a huge internal conflict because of this.

Once I took my walls down and let myself be vulnerable, I felt free. I decided to stop hiding who I was and instead of working against myself, I worked with myself and my strengths and abilities.

I now believe that one of the keys to pursuing your dreams is to let go of all those walls. Stop hiding who you are because society is telling you to be someone who you are not. Each and every one of us has some unique ability to share with others. A way that we can contribute and feel that our purpose for life is fulfilled.


Do you know yourself?
Do you have any influential women in your own lives who have given you the strength to dream big?


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{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 16, 2009 at 9:45 am

Ahhh you put tears in my eyes! I was super 80s as well, and probably would have killed to have your outfit on in the picture, along with a hot pink snap bracelet. Your mom is gorgeous..you can definitely see where your inside AND outside beauty comes from!


Jennie {in Wonderland} October 16, 2009 at 9:53 am

Oh, I miss my Mommy … {she’s in Canada}. What a beautiful time capsule of memories. I loved this post. I’m having that same internal struggle, between what makes me happiest and what everyone expects of me.

Thanks, Angela. :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2009 at 9:57 am

I miss my family too!


Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries October 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

That is such a beautiful quote and such a thoughtful grad present!!


Diana October 16, 2009 at 10:00 am

Your mom is so beautiful! And I love what she wrote. :)
To answer your questions…
I think I’m starting to know myself, yes.
And for me, the most influential PERSON is definitely my mom. She encourages me, gives me strength and keeps me grounded at the same time. Aw, now I miss my mom ahah


Jess (Fit Chick in the City) October 16, 2009 at 10:01 am

You’re a lucky girl to have such a wise Mother! I love this part “Once I took my walls down and let myself be vulnerable, I felt free. I decided to stop hiding who I was and instead of working against myself, I worked with myself and my strengths and abilities.” I think I need to make this a reality in my own life.

Thanks for writing!


Tammy October 16, 2009 at 10:03 am

I have found that I also try to be hard and tough, but inside, not feeling truly known can be soul-killing. It is hard to be vulnerable and be who you really are, if you don’t see the strengths you possess. I am working on those walls and hopefully in that process, giving myself enough grace to try things without the world coming to an end if I fail! That was a thoughtful gift from your mom!


Holly October 16, 2009 at 10:04 am

Wow, your mom is amazing. That is fantastic and made some tears roll down!


Leah October 16, 2009 at 10:08 am

Wow! Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. You are very lucky! My mom and my sister are also very important and inspiring women in my life. My mother is so inspiring. She is so brave..after beating breast cancer she bought a house by herself, travels, and has started running and biking in small 5k’s. She is not afraid of anything and always reminds me that laughter is the best medicine!! Her favorite quote she tells me ALL the time is, “If you can dream it you can do it!”


Alex October 16, 2009 at 10:09 am

Aww, this made me miss my mum too! She is another one of those superhero mums, and my keepsakes includes dozens of cards and letters from her that have helped me through hard times.

Honestly, there’s something about mums though, isn’t there?


Jessie (Vegan-minded) October 16, 2009 at 10:09 am

I love the time capsule idea. Your mom put a lot of thought and love into that gift, which makes it even more special. Thanks for sharing her inspirational words :)


Jen @ follow my bliss October 16, 2009 at 10:37 am

Hi Angela!

Thank you so much for this post. As you may remember, I posted an article I wrote about Kath Younger earlier this week. My blog is about my journey to quit my desk job and pursue something that fulfills me, so I interviewed Kath because she successfully did the same thing.

Well, today (!) is actually MY last day at my desk job. After almost a year of planning for this day, it’s finally here. And to be frank, I’m terrified! I’m excited, eager, grateful – all that good stuff. But I’m also just a ball of nerves. I’m worried I’ll miss my coworkers, miss my routine, miss being “busy.” And to be honest, I’m stunned that I feel this way on this particular morning. This is a job that hasn’t fulfilled me for years. So I assumed I’d be bursting with joy today, not nerves. But here we are. :)

That’s why I had to comment – thank you for this post. It’s exactly in line with so much of what I’ve been preaching to myself and on my blog in the months I’ve spent preparing to leave my job. And now that the day is finally here, I have to remind myself that I still believe these things, that following your passion is what matters, that being true to yourself is what makes you who you are. Your post reminded me that quitting my job WAS the right choice, even if I feel nervous this morning. And I’m so grateful to have that reinforced today by coming to your blog.

Apologies for the long comment, but I had to share that with you. Thanks again.



Mo October 16, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Congratulations Jen! Your last day at the desk job! Woohoo! You are going to be great at whatever you do next! I admire your courage to have taken this step!!


kay (eating machine) October 16, 2009 at 10:37 am

i love that moms save things like that! my mom saved all my elementary school journals, and it’s so great to be able to look at them…
yay for good mommies!


Julie @savvyeats October 16, 2009 at 10:38 am

This series of posts may be my favorite ever! Your post really speaks to me, because I am almost done with my bachelor’s degree, but am figuring out that I don’t necessarily want to work in the field I’ve been studying for.


Ashley October 16, 2009 at 10:39 am

<—- crying

What a beautiful, timely, thoughtful and special gift. I love how it all "clicked" for you.


VeggieGirl October 16, 2009 at 10:45 am

Beautiful “time capsule” – I’m constantly trying to understanding myself more, and your post has inspired me to keep on my journey.


Maureen October 16, 2009 at 10:56 am

How wonderful I really cannot wait to hear more about your journey, part 8 soon? My daughter is about to transition to a new exciting career and I feel like you if you believe in something and do it well the money will follow. I believe she will be successful as she has such a passion for what she is about to do.


Mellissa October 16, 2009 at 10:59 am

Love that time capsule, gifts that have so much thought are so fun! I was at a development day recently and the speaker asked us to say thank you to our “go-to” people. It felt good to call a few friends and say Thank you :)


Anne Marie @ New Weigh of Life October 16, 2009 at 11:01 am

I am really enjoying these posts. The most inspirational woman in my life is my mom. I wouldn’t be where I am without her!


Karin October 16, 2009 at 11:02 am

what an amazing gift..
having people in your life who love you no matter what is truly precious.


Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life October 16, 2009 at 11:13 am

Beautifully written Angela.. What an amazing gift!! I think mom’s were put on this earth to be the most amazing people in the world!! I can not wait to be one myself :=)


Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) October 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

This is a fantastic post. Love it.


Bronwyn October 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

That’s such an amazing story.

I too have a mother who is the best in the world. ;) she has taught me so much about being myself. She saw the struggles I went through in high school. And in university. I think it hurt her everyday that she saw my unhappiness, and it hurt her even more because there was nothing she could do. It wasn’t some small cut on my knee easily healed with a kiss and a hug.

Everyday I learn more about myself. I look at where I’ve come in the past 2 and a half years and I go into shock. If you had told me I’d be at UBC living life with loads of friends, a strong leadership position in my residence, I would have laughed. I’m an introvert! I’m horribly shy! I’m not a leader!

But it seems who I am shines through anyway, and without really meaning to, I’ve become stronger (or let that strong part of me out) in all aspects of my life.


Whitney @ Lettuce Love October 16, 2009 at 11:33 am

This is a wonderful post! I was so 80s too and it was fabulous.


Michelle-pure2raw October 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

I have 5 girls in my family, so they are my support system. My twin sis is especially my rock…my two old sisters are always pushing me and inspiring me to do better, and them my mom is nothing but love and support. This was so nice of your mom!!! Sounds like a wonderful lady!!!


Courtney October 16, 2009 at 11:35 am

That was such a touching gift your mom gave you! You are right Angela, money cannot buy you happiness and contentment. I am in the process of interviewing for a new job that can bring me so much more happiness but I am scared to leave the steadiness (ie: monotony) of my current job. Why do we women have such trouble going for what we want??? On a side note, I LOVE your pink outfit in the photo with your mom and sister. I was rocking the scrunch socks, slap bracelet and perm around that time too!


One Healthy Apple October 16, 2009 at 11:42 am

What a beautiful gift- so thoughtful!

I also love all the cute early 90s clothing and your prom picture!

I am working on knowing myself. My mom is the strongest woman I know and has changed our lives forever.


Vangie October 16, 2009 at 11:50 am


You are so lucky to have a mom like that. I am so happy that at this early time and age you are able to find your true happiness. I agree 100% that money cannot buy happiness. Your kid pictures are so cute!


Anne P October 16, 2009 at 12:28 pm

What a beautiful letter from your mom. She sounds amazing!

Also, I had to say I love the winter monster photos of you in the post below. So funny! :)


lyss October 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm

You and your mother both are gorgeous. What an incredible and touching gift! (Note to self: Do this for my daughter one day!) I’m glad everything worked out for you… I can tell you are truly HAPPY! :)


Sarah Jayne October 16, 2009 at 12:34 pm

This is so beautiful on so many levels. Your mom is so insightful and wise. I love my mom for all those reasons too. She has always been my BIGGEST cheerleader and I can turn to her to help/advice on ANY topic, no matter how big or small. Having someone on your side like that is the best thing in the world.

Is that a snap bracelet or a scrunchy? Either way, it totally tops that look off ;) too cute!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm

im thinking scrunchie…but that would be just as cool ;)


skinnyrunner October 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

what an amazing, supportive mom you have! i love that idea of a memory box. what a great gift… for a lifetime.


Kaye October 16, 2009 at 1:00 pm

What a WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL gift! Something that you can always look back at and will always have meaning for you at every moment of your life. I have always said, when I have a child, I will do something like this for her/him. I have been reading your “story” and I relate so much. I’m glad that you finally had faith and trust in yourself that you could leave a job that you hated and now have so much more :) You’ve come a long way! Love the blog!


Angela (Oh She Glows) October 16, 2009 at 1:01 pm

yay for moms!


Clay October 16, 2009 at 1:03 pm

I dont think i have felt this emotional about something since i saw the notebook for the first time. Either that, or the same effect of watching Homeward Bound and ET simultaneously.

Movies aside, i would have to say my mother is a strong woman in my life. She worked her butt off to take care of my sister and I when my father left and id a fine job if I do say so myself. Sadly though, i do not now myself as well as i would like, but im getting there. I think i need to find a note that i wrote when i was six and see if there are five things about me that i forgot about. Im healthy when I get good sleep too!


Nicole October 16, 2009 at 1:05 pm

This is a truly incredible and inspiring post, Angela. I am lucky to have an amazing and supportive mother like you do.

I’ve been moving around for the past 4 years, trying to find myself with each new location and it wasn’t until I faced that I would not find what I was looking for in a new spot. I forced myself to settle down and look inside myself and with that knowledge, I have finally found happiness and the ability to live my life to the fullest. I have stopped trying to make others happy and finally focused on myself. My mom supports me with every new adventure I had tried, whether I made it through or not. I am so grateful for that!


Kristine October 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm

ange, this post makes me get teary! How amazing are mom’s? I feel like this is exactly something my mom would do. Her words are beautiful and that is such a precious gift. I am looking into my future of when I will graduate from graduate school with my doctorate degree, and I really hope that I will be in a place in my life where I am happy. I still don’t know if this is what I want to do with my life, but it is so wonderful to be comforted by the fact that I will be loved no matter what I do!


Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) October 16, 2009 at 1:33 pm

I really do feel like I know myself and what I want in life … it has taken me a while, but I have learned to listen to myself. I have very wise parents, who have taught me what is important in life and what is the most valuable.

I love this series!


Molly @thevegandorm October 16, 2009 at 2:19 pm

this is SO inspiring.
such beautiful photos!


Linda October 16, 2009 at 2:57 pm

What an amazing series of posts on who you are and how you arrived to find your true self and true happiness. I have gained so much from reading your words and can relate to EVERYTHING you have gone through. I just turned 35 and I finlly feel like this is my year to reclaim my self and my life. I have always been blessed with a supportive amazing family and a fantastic boyfriend who has been in my life for five years now. Although we have known eachother for lifetimes, I just can feel it. I have spent the last 11 summers working for the Park Service and my winters have been spent working with kids in a variety of settings. Seems like a great life, and it has been. But there has been this little voice telling me that there is something else out there for me. I’ve also been trying to get a full time job with the school district here in Wyoming for YEARS! And even though I am overly qualified for this job I just can’t seem to break through. Needless to say it has been more than frustrating and my self esteem has suffered greatly. This summer I was working in Yosemite and finally came to a place of quiet acceptance that this “dream” job with the school just wasn’t meant to be for me. I swear that night I was overcome with the most amazing calm and thought to myself:”I should go into the healing arts!” And that is exactly what I am pursuing now. Tomorrow I am taking 2 Reiki classes and will then become a Reiki Master and we will see what comes after that. My boyfriend is learning with me and I couldn’t be happier. Just like you I was fighting against the intertia of my life and my pity parties were preventing me from hearing my own voice! So amazing. . .it really is magic when you just let go. Thanks for your honest and courage to tell your truth!
All the love,


Paige @ Running Around Normal October 16, 2009 at 3:31 pm

What an awesome gift from your mom! OSG mom seems so thoughtful:) I totally understand the pink and black outfit. Did your leggings have stirrups?! haha Mine sure did!


Jen October 16, 2009 at 3:37 pm

I have an amazing mom who has always been there for me and continues to be my biggest supporter and cheerleader. I honestly don’t know what I would do without her.

But that last line of your post made me think of my dad… on my 11th birthday he gave me a card that said “Remember to dream big, Dreams do come true.” He wrote the same thing on the card for my 18th birthday. To this day even thinking about it makes me cry. My family has never tried to force me into a career I don’t want. They love me and want me to be happy and pursue my dreams. I am so lucky and grateful.

Geez Angela…make me cry much.

I love your blog… I think you are an incredible inspiration.


Marina October 16, 2009 at 4:20 pm

This is such a beautiful thing, that box your mom send you! I was really touched. My mom is too really inspirational and strong. She is a doctor, she worked days and weekends, she worked through so many nights without any sleep, but she always came home with some stuff for me, my sister and dad, she was always there for us, and still is. No matter how tired she is, I know I can count on her. Even when my dad died, she was there. I saw here fragile, heart broken and incredibly sad. But I also saw so much love,and so much caring for me and my sister. I hope that I’ll be strong as she is :)


Bree October 16, 2009 at 5:16 pm

what an awesome gift… :-D

i totally remember slap bracelets…probably still have them somewhere…they were the coolest thing lol

wow, eric really hasn’t changed a bit…he looks like he just stepped out of one picture and into the next :-P


Jil October 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Oh my gosh, I teared up a little reading your mom’s words. That is an amazing gift!! I think I can say that I know myself better now, than I ever have in my entire life…but you know, I don’t think I could ever say I KNOW myself. I know myself in essence…in my moral standings, etc – those are pretty concrete…but ya know, I’m changing every day…but I guess even that is part of my that I know..even if it is changing.


Jenny Eastwood October 16, 2009 at 6:37 pm

It’s beautiful that your mother gave you that :) Those are incredible words, and she clearly loves you to death and cares to the moon and back. All the words she wrote were true as well. Thank you for sharing this with us :) It’s brightened my day and got me thinking…
What an incredible gift.


Kerry October 16, 2009 at 8:18 pm

This got me teary too. I think about what I want to do with my life and the person I want to be.

My Mom is a huge support to me, and constantly encourages me. My sister is also a huge support, and is doing an amazing job as a new mom to her two week old baby. They are both inspirations!


maria October 16, 2009 at 9:35 pm

What a beautiful and touching gift to give someone. How special. You are blessed to have such a wonderful mother.


Peanut Butter Bliss October 17, 2009 at 9:42 am

I love that you two went to prom together AND got married :) so cute!


Cynthia (It All Changes) October 17, 2009 at 1:54 pm

This is so beautiful that your mom did this for you.

My mom is my hero. She provided for her family and supported me in doing what I love and changing careers. She shares so many important memories with me and I love hre for it.


RickSmithAuthor October 19, 2009 at 9:30 am

Wow, this is a great post! I just wrote a bestselling book on this exact suubject (The Leap). You can never be truly happy on someone else’s predefined path. You must first discover your strengths and passions, then focus the energy that gets released on something big and meaningful.

Rick Smith


Beverly October 22, 2009 at 12:22 pm

What a small world! The pic of you as a child in Woodstock, GA…. I went to college about 10 miles north of there! I still live in the Atlanta area too :-)


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