Jesse Stoddard

Life After High School: Interview with Tara Starkovich

Today’s interview with Tara Starkovich is part of my ongoing blog-to-book project: Life After High School: Secrets To A Successful Life By Those Who Have Had Twenty Years To Think About It (or) What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. If you missed the last post, click here, otherwise, you can start at the beginning here.

Tara Starkovich

(Formerly Tara Barth)

Anacortes, WA

My Life In High School

Tara Barth AHS 1996

Who were you in High School and how did you feel about it

Everybody’s friend. Very outgoing and loved school. I was also captain of the cheerleading squad, senior class secretary, in the choir, and…Rory’s girlfriend. ?

What did you think your life would become when you graduated?

I had planned to go to Bible school in Dallas, Texas after graduation. From there, I would meet my future husband, get married and have kids.

My Life After High School

Tara Starkovich Headshot

What happened in your life to you, for you, and by you in the last twenty years (how have you used your time and who have you become)?

Weeks before I was to head off to Texas, I fell for a boy, Tim Starkovich!

We began dating, I completely changed my college plans and stayed in Anacortes. I started modeling for a Seattle agency. Small jobs, promotional work, like playing Barbie and signing autographs for little girls in toy stores, Coors Light Girl…

I know, funny right? From Bible school to beer girl!

I also had the privilege of working with Heath Ledger, as an extra in Ten Things I Hate About You. Very fun experience.

After that, I worked for an eye doctor for many years in Anacortes. During that time is when Tim and I got married—in 2001, five years after we started dating.

From there, I began a job working as crew on a 92′ yacht and also property managing residences and commercial properties for the owner of the yacht… Fun gig!

In 2010, Tim & I had our first child, a little boy named Owen. In 2011, we were blessed with a little girl, Kate. Since having those precious two, I’ve pretty much been a hands-on, stay at home mom…. and I absolutely LOVE IT!!!

In August of 2015, I lost my mom, Connie, to a very short 3 month battle with cancer. I was very blessed to be so close to her, still living in town while we walked through the end of her life together. It was a precious and beautiful time of loving and reflecting together.

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?

Simply to love. Live a life of kindness, and compassion for others. It’s so very important. Simply love.

Letter To My High School Self

If you could write your 18-year-old self (or however old you were when you graduated) a letter, and send it back in time, what would you say? What lessons, wisdom, encouragement, or warnings would you give yourself?

Again, be kind. And love all you come into contact with. It can sincerely change a person. Smile at strangers and say hello. You never know what they’re going through. It just might be all they need to put one foot in front of the other today.

In the next post, I will continue with more great interviews, like this one with Karen Marie Chase.

Are you from Generation X? I want to hear what you think! Please comment below and participate in the conversation about What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. What do you wish someone told you when you were eighteen?

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Jesse Stoddard


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