Life After High School: Interview with Hayley Berrey

Hayley Tackels-Berrey Tulips

We continue 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 with an interview featuring Hayley Berrey. If you missed the last post, click here, otherwise, you can start at the beginning here.


Hayley Berrey

Formerly Hayley Tackels

Sedro Woolley WA

My Life In High School

Hayley Tackels AHS 1996

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

I was very shy and was really concerned about what people thought of me. Back in high school, I was ok with trying to impress everyone, but now I could care less. I am who I am, either like me or don’t.
What did you think your life would become when you graduated?
I thought I was going to graduate and then move back to California. I didn’t really have a plan. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go to college or not. All I knew is that I needed to find myself.

My Life After High School

Hayley Tackels-Berrey Seattle
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)?
After graduating high school I didn’t know where I was headed. I moved to Burlington and met Jeremy (my husband). I had my first child in July of 1997. Jeremy and I Were married in November of 1998. I had my second child in July of 1999. By the age of 27, my family was complete with 5 children. I look back at my life sometimes and think to myself, yeah I may not have gone to college and I might struggle financially, but I would not trade the life I have made for anything. I have spent my years after high school being the best mother I can be to my children. As my mother jokingly says, some people have graduated college but I have graduated from the maternity ward.

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?
The major life lesson I have learned is to not take life for granted. None of us are promised tomorrow. I spent so much of my high school life caring about what people thought of me, trying to be what everyone wanted me to be. I wouldn’t put myself in any category with others, (popular, nerds, etc.). I am me and always have been. I tried to fit in with everyone and not judge others for their faults because let’s be honest we all have our faults. I am who I am and I am ok with that. In high school, I didn’t go to parties, or even get invited. I didn’t have a boyfriend, but I am ok with that because looking back I think I would have given in to peer pressure just to fit in. What I have learned and what I have tried to teach my children is to be themselves; don’t change for anyone.
Hayley Tackels-Berrey Tulips

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?

The big thing I would tell myself is not to be someone you’re not. Life goes on whether certain people like you or not.

In the next post, I will continue with more interesting interviews, like this one with Zach Rue.

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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