Five things in my life that would shock my 20 year-old self

June Em

In my 20s I thought I had it all mapped out. Boy, was I wrong! Below are five parts of life in my 40s that my 20-year old self would be have been all like no friggin’ way!   


deLuxe face cream

1.  Using products with words like serum, cellular and renewal in their name

In my 20s I swore I would grow old without interference – letting my hair turn silver when it chose to and not touching the wrinkles around my eyes as they would lay evidence to the abundance of laughter in my life.

Did you know that the word naïve isn’t in the dictionary? Yep, I fell for that one too.

Today, I colour my roots at the slightest evidence of grey. Got a derma-lifting, cellular-renewing, anti-aging serum with pro-vitamin E and gravity-defying retinol amino peptides? Bring it on!  


cup of tea

2.  Drinking tea

When I was in my 20s, tea was for little old ladies, people from England and my mom. I was a coffee girl and drank gallons of it, black and thick, preferably with a pack of Belmont Milds on the side.

Fast forward 20 years, during which I quit smoking and developed a sensitivity to caffeine – my cupboard is now filled with jasmine, chamomile, lemon ginger, and just about every girly flavour of decaf that Twinnings makes. All that’s missing is the patchouli and the cat.


Ontario government buildings

3. Working in a big bureaucracy (and liking it)

In my mid-20s, I left my hometown of Ottawa smug that, despite years of parental pressure, I’d never worked for the government. “Take that bureaucracy!” I thought as I drove toward a new life in Toronto, “You can’t have this independent mind!”

Fast forward to 2008 – a temp agency places me in the provincial government, that job leads to another and another and eventually a full-time career with the Ontario Public Service. Six years later, rather than dying in this environment, I’ve thrived.  How the hell did that happen?


modern living room

4. Getting excited by home porn

In my 20s I spent a lot of time thinking about boys and wondering what turns them on.

These days, I’m more likely to fantasize about a farm house than a farm hand.  Out are magazines with headlines like “10 signs he’s into you.” In are magazines with headlines like “10 cottage patios with spectacular views.”

Want to excite me? Take me to your highly edited and hyper-organized loft. Or better yet, just show me your favourite on Houzz or Apartment Therapy.


woman at laptop

5. Writing about life as a childfree, single woman  

Unlike many girls, I never dreamed about getting married. Instead, in my teens I was certain my 20s and 30s would be all about dating multiple men, getting my fabulous career in order and having a child on my own.

In reality, I spent the last two decades in and out of monogamous relationships, married and divorced twice, decided not to have children, and, after countless odd jobs, only started my career a few years ago.

Today, in my 40s I am just beginning to do what I dreamed of 20 years ago – be a strong, single woman who plays the field… all while sipping rosehip tea and flipping through Wallpaper in my anti-aging facemask.   

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to bed. Some of us have work in the morning.


What did you think your life would be like at this point in your life? What is different? What is the same? Leave your comments below.  

One thought on “Five things in my life that would shock my 20 year-old self

  • August 15, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    June, this is all so perfect. Yes to all – and simply laughing at the home porn, right there with you!


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