A Message to Yourself

family beach shoot


“If given the chance to go back in time and offer your younger self at 16– your best advice, what would you tell yourself?”

I love this idea because it makes one think about what he or she wanted in life when growing up, provides a person with the opportunity to see how life has changed, and shows the path one has decided to take. Did you follow your heart? Perhaps had a change of heart? Or possibly have had it broken when everything you thought would happen just didn’t turn out the way you imagined it to be.

In life, the one thing we all know that is constant—is CHANGE.

Thinking back, when I was 16 and still in high school, I was working with two jobs while dreaming of graduating and moving to LA to pursue my modeling career. I certainly had no intensions of getting married at a young age, and the idea that I would have a family someday wasn’t at all in my planned future until much later. You see, I grew up watching my parents have a painful divorce and the years that followed suit made me want to be completely self-sufficient. I didn’t buy into the fairytale of love, though I wanted to. I thought that happiness for me meant having a successful modeling career and being on my own.

It’s so funny because when I look back, I was able to achieve my dreams and I enjoyed having a career as it allowed me to travel and have financial security, not to mention the fact that I gained a lot of self-confidence. So from that perspective, I feel like I stuck to the plan for at least a little while.

Life is very funny. Especially when you are not paying attention, the very best surprise can come and that’s what happened to me when I first met my husband. I was only 22 years old, about to turn 23 and right on the verge of taking my career to the next level. I feel like I got really lucky because I was so focused on what I wanted and what my dreams were, that it almost cost me the greatest love of my life. Jason was so persistent and that’s what saved the relationship. I was so young that I didn’t see the value of having this relationship until I almost lost it. There were so many times that I would cancel date with him, and eventually realized that I definitely put him through the wringer. I am sure that many of his friends told him “to bail out on this girl”, and would have been the same advice I would give if I’m in their position.

It wasn’t until Christmas Eve when my mother mentioned him, asking how that handsome man I told her about is. “Jason—he seems like a wonderful guy. Tara, you should call him and wish him a ‘Merry Christmas’”. Little did she know that he wasn’t very happy with me after calling off a planned weekend trip with him to LA. He was at the airport and about to board when I phoned in to cancel. But taking a leap of faith, I decided to dial his number and said “It’s Tara and I was thinking about you. I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and tell you that if you want to give it one more try, I would love to see you again.” Well that phone call saved everything. 20 minutes later, he called back and said outright that he was taking a plane. Once he arrived in LA, Jason told me that he wanted me to be his girlfriend. No more seeing other people and wanted to make sure that I was done playing games.

He was adorable telling me that I had to call him back within 24 hours (as sometimes I would take 3 or 4 days to contact him). I loved that he was laying down the law. After all I had been dancing to my own beat; it felt good to let a real man take control, that it definitely got my attention.

So to make the long story short, it was about a month after we started dating, until he popped the question the night before Valentine’s Day. He totally surprised me of pulling off a planned and very romantic proposal. Of course I said yes, and 14 days later… Yes. 14 days and you heard me right!!! We were married in front of 100 plus people at the Ritz Carlton in Pasadena, California. It was my very own fairy tale. Today, we are about close to celebrating 15 years of marriage, not to mention that our twins are about to turn 5 soon!

So the advice I would give myself at 16 would have been this:

Be open to love. Don’t allow yourself to be convinced that the issues your family had when you were growing up, would be the same issues you’ll have in the future. I would tell myself that only love will give the greatest gift one could ever have in life that no amount of money or fame could ever compare. I would also tell myself to keep my standards high but still be open to love. I got that second chance in love, but I also came so close to losing it.

What dreams did you have? Is there a way to go back to those dreams now? If life changed for the better, Bravo! And you should feel so happy and blessed! But if you feel like you let a dream pass by, please know that it’s never too late for you! In life, each of us has issues to overcome and draw lessons from and that we never stop learning from it.

So my wish for you today is that, may you be able to take look at your life and learn from all the good as well as the negative things it came along with, and that may you have a new outlook on what you really want and have the determination to go after it, with passion!

Once I got married, I decided that traveling the world without my husband is no longer an option. So I made the necessary adjustments that would allow me to prioritize my relationship first, while still being able to work on the projects I loved. I knew then that it’s not going be easy. But compromise needs to be made on both ends to make it work, and it’s definitely worth it. We are partners in business. I became a published author. But most importantly, I have two lovely and healthy children with my soul mate. I may never have made it to the cover of Vogue Magazine, but I would not change a thing. Happiness and love is out there for everyone! So never stop believing in the power of LOVE!

Here’s to you finding your dream today!

XO
Tara Brooke

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