Saturday, July 2, 2011

Host Chat: The Last 10 Years

Welcome to another edition of Host Chat.  Just as Regis shares exciting stories from his life each morning, I share my latest tales of hobnobbing, hijinks, and more often than not, humiliation!
I've recently enjoyed catching up on classic literature, from Lord of the Flies to 1984.  With that said, maybe you'll be slightly less judgmental when I tell you that I'm currently reading What Alice Forgot, a fun beach read (hey, it's July, people!) about a woman who wakes up from an accident to find she's forgotten the past 10 years of her life.  And she's changed so much during those forgotten years that now she barely knows herself. 
Which begs the question: If you jumped back to July 2001, what would you be most surprised to know about the July 2011 version of yourself?
I've had some career milestones and huge changes in my personal life in the past 10 years, but the absolute most shocking change for me?  
I've become a neat freak.  
These days, even my bath products are organized--
and color-coordinated.  Who am I anymore???
From birth until early 2009, I was incredibly disorganized.  As a kid, every Saturday morning, my brothers got to watch cartoons, and I was stuck upstairs cleaning my bedroom, because it was a disaster.  I often tell people (only half-jokingly) that, for my mom, the most traumatic part of our 1988 house fire was that the firefighters saw my bedroom in full Pound-Puppy tornado mode.  
I've always been partial to what I called the Mixed Media Mess.  Any available floorspace, closet or tabletop was always piled with clothes and bills and beauty products and books.  
All that changed when my husband and I bought our first home together, two years ago.  I promised myself that our new home would be a restful retreat from our stressful careers... and that I would keep it neat from Day One.  About 5 months before moving in, I read a book by a man I'd seen -- and loved -- several times on Oprah, Peter Walsh.  His book, It's All Too Much, literally changed my life.  Walsh explains something that had somehow escaped me for years and years:  The key isn't to organize the tons and tons of stuff you have, it's to declutter.  Get rid of the clothes that don't fit, the magazines from 6 years ago, the shoes you wore for Halloween once and will never wear again.  So simple.  So liberating.  
Another key Walsh piece of advice, "Imagine the life you want to live." Envision your home as a restful retreat (or whatever you're going for), then declutter accordingly.  That way, instead of thinking, "But I might fix this lamp and actually use it someday," you keep your eyes on the prize, give stuff like that away, and just keep the most meaningful, important items.
So while the old "Jill of July 2001" would be overjoyed to see that "Jill of July 2011" has a great family, and a career that has included interviews with Angelina, Gwyneth and Madonna, the biggest surprise to her would be this new wave of neatness.
What about YOU?  What would the old "You of July 2001" be surprised to learn about the new "You of July 2011?"  Anything as fantastically shocking as "I now have a hamper and I use it?"  If so, I'd love to hear it!

What's been the biggest change in your life in the past decade?  Share it in the "comments" section below, or at: 


  1. Jill, I love your commentary about Peter Walsh and decluttering. I remember when i became decluttered in my life years ago, and wow, did it help. especially living in NYC, in a small walk-up apartment, with no closet space. and you're so right, it is liberating! As far as the biggest and most shocking change from the "Me of 2001" to the "Me of 2011"...(aside from the splattering of grey hair on my temples)...i've finally begun to realize that i needed a balance in my life, and that work is not everything. Yeah, i need those paychecks every month, but i've begun to learn FINALLY that when i leave the office at night and on weekends, i CAN successfully "declutter" my brain from that work "stuff", and mentally and physically live in the moment hangin' out with my friends and family. So, thanks Jill, i love your blog, and keep the good stuff coming!

  2. I also read that Peter Walsh book (a friend who was very inspired by it recommended it to me so I had to give it a shot) and it really was great! I have always been a pack rat so reading that definitely helped me change my mindset about keeping everything!

    As far as the me of, that's a good question! I have grown SO much as a person in the past 10 years! I lived across the country, made some of my now closest friends, discovered new talents, lived my career dream, and changed careers. I think the biggest change of all is that I was a very (emotionally) young 20 something back then and am finally becoming the adult 30 something I've been working toward. That, and that I now voluntarily eat vegetables. ;-)

  3. I'd have to say that the me of 2001 would be very surprised to see that I"ve gone back to my natural hair color! This may sound cliche - but I think it represents me developing some self-confidence and embracing who I am!

  4. Recovering from OCD. With proper meds and behavioral "exercises," I've let go of a lifetime of gradually worsening anxieties and out-of-control obsessive thinking. I've regained the sense of humor I had when younger, the ability to watch AND follow a TV show, as well as read through a book without having to reread the same sentence a dozen times. It has been a blessing, and my wife is grateful that she "has her husband back." 2001 saw me in therapy; 2011 finds me clean as a whistle.

  5. Thanks for the comments, folks!
    TB-Way to LIVE IN THE MOMENT! I could probably learn a thing or two from you! Thanks for sharing!
    Ash- Congrats on all the major life changes, right down to eating those veggies!
    Anon- A big step. I don't think I'll ever skip the highlights completely and embrace the mousy/dishwater shade God gave me. Other than that, I'm "all real" -- I even did a butt x-ray on my reality show to prove it. Oh, wait, that was Kim Kardashian. Sorry, sometimes I mix the two of us up!
    RR- I'm so happy to hear that! Sounds like you've done a lot of hard work and I'm thrilled that you're seeing real results!

  6. The biggest change for me is that Jill Dobson is not having lunch with me on the Strategy Room! And that the Strategy Room doesn't even exist anymore! I haven't had luch in a year, getting cranky! Can't you go to Office Max and get a webcam???? How hard can this webshow be? Talk to Glenn Beck, he is off FOX and doing one of those web-box/show deals. Ask him...
    PS - whats up with this "Comment As" thingy???