Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on |

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

To reach this Plain Dealer columnist:, 216-999-6328

via Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on |

101 in 1001

This is a really cool project over at Read, Write and Live that was originally started at Day Zero Project.

From the original site:

The Challenge: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple challenges such as New Year’s resolutions or a ‘Bucket List’. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

So, because I love making lists, and because this is really a cool way to make & pursue some longterm goals, I’m going to try it.  Look for my list to materialize over the next 2-3 weeks.  My start and finish dates are set, so I have to get moving!

Wish me luck.  Join the project with me and we’ll keep tabs on each other’s progress.  Most importantly, follow along and let me know what you think!

Start Date:  January 1, 2012

Finish Date:  September 27, 2015

  • Completed
  • In Progress
  • Not started yet

My List (in no particular order)

  1. Listen to Moby Dick by Herman Melville (unabridged audio).
  2. Listen to Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (unabridged audio).
  3. Read A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
  4. Take my child to Walt Disney World.
  5. …and Disneyland (because Jodi suggested it should be two trips!).
  6. Get my paperwork / files completely organized and put in a permanent place.
  7. Unplug from the internet for a week.
  8. Unplug from TV for a week.
  9. Blog every single day for a month.
  10. Collect enough flamingo Christmas tree ornaments to decorate my small tree with nothing but flamingos.
  11. Send cards on a holiday other than Christmas.
  12. Run another 5k.
  13. Run a 10k.
  14. Email a personal note to each of my girlfriends – just because.
  15. Snail mail a personal, handwritten note to friends and/or family – just because.
  16. Go to the gym every day for a month…then another month.
  17. Take a break from exchanging gifts one Christmas and go on a vacation instead.
  18. Go snow skiing.
  19. Have coffee with Jodi once a month for a year! 🙂
    Lunch at Paradise on Jan 21  – to celebrate Jodi’s birthday
  20. Have coffee (or wine) with Bri once a month for a year!
    January 5 (Bri’s birthday) – wine at Ground Control
  21. Go on a date with my husband once a month.
  22. Go on a mission trip as a family.
  23. See my friend Reema (& her family) face to face for the first time since grade school.
  24. Visit my friend Andrea in Chicago.
  25. Take a road trip with my husband.
  26. Take (another) road trip with my friend Lisa.
  27. Go back to Chattanooga for a visit with friends!
  28. Visit the Kriegs again…and meet sweet E.
  29. Have the Kriegs visit us in AZ.
  30. Renew my scuba diving certification.
  31. Take a shotgun class & learn to shoot moving targets.
  32. Forgive someone I haven’t been able to forgive (and who must remain nameless for now).
  33. Practice the piano at least once a week for six months.
  34. Lose 10% of my weight (for starters).
  35. Pray specifically and purposefully for someone every day for a month.  Make it a habit.  Continue ad infinitum.
  36. Adopt a child.
  37. Hike in the White Tanks.
  38. Learn to golf?  Maybe?
  39. Get all of our artwork hung on the walls.  Get rid of any artwork that does not find a home.
  40. Go to my 25 year high school reunion in 2013.
  41. Visit NYC.
  42. Write in my Gratitude Journal every day for a year starting January 1, 2012 – even if it is just a word or two.
  43. Sell the kitchen table / chairs on Craig’s List.
  44. Get a massage every month.  Don’t skip, because it makes me a nicer person. 🙂
  45. Get a pedicure every month.  Don’t skip, because it makes my feet feel better. 🙂
  46. Take an international vacation…place to be determined (Mexico is not an option).
  47. Get a sunflower tattoo on my right shoulder blade.
  48. Get a wedding ring tattoo on my left ring finger (duh!).
  49. Get a toe tattoo.
  50. Take my kiddo somewhere fun every week of his summer vacation in 2012 (even if it is just a different park).
  51. Set a minimum reading goal each year of 52 books (not including audiobooks).
  52. Set my standard goal of 100 books each year (including audiobooks).  I set it, now to meet it!
  53. Review every book I read.
  54. Cook something I haven’t tried before once a quarter (or more often).  Get help if necessary.
  55. Cook a hot meal for my family every day for a week.  No sandwiches, cereal or salad.
  56. Master the art of couponing…not extreme couponing.
  57. Commit deliberate acts of kindness – regularly & with purpose.
  58. Visit Niagara Falls.
  59. Plan a girls’ getaway weekend and actually do it.
  60. Take a beach vacation.
  61. Use my calendar daily instead of relying on my memory.  Make sure it is in a visible & accessible place.
  62. Carry a book (or my Kindle) in my purse all the times.  Take advantage of small windows of time during the day to read.
  63. Save some of my cash allowance from every paycheck.
  64. Visit Cody, Wyoming.
  65. See Tom Petty in concert (if possible).
  66. See Garth Brooks in concert in Las Vegas.
  67. Finish painting the inside of our house.
  68. Read something from the Bible every day – maybe even read the Bible through?
  69. Read Pat Conroy’s entire body of work.
  70. Visit the San Diego Zoo.
  71. Take the dog for walks, by myself, with my iPod.
  72. Get a mammogram.
  73. Get bloodwork done and submitted to my doctors.
  74. Take a class.
  75. Start swimming again…regularly.
  76. Listen to music – even if it is just one song – every day.

Randomly Ruminating…part 2

Things I’ve grown to like (that I never realized I would):

  • The Desert (it’s the dry heat)
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrying a backpack
  • Doing laundry (ok…stretching a bit, but I do like my washer & dryer)
  • Vacuuming
  • Audiobooks (actually, I LOVE these)
  • Skype
  • Sushi, raw oysters & runny(ish) eggs
  • Having very short hair
  • Deep tissue (painful, bruising) massage – because I feel immeasurably better afterwards
  • Some rap music
  • A drama-free life
  • Being a little out of step with the mainstream
  • Living in the Southwest
  • Making lists

Things I’ve grown to dislike (that I never realized I would):

  • Most veggie meats (I grew up on them…now…kind of blech)
  • Talking on the phone (for the most part, I’d rather text / FB / IM / email)
  • Having long hair
  • Uber-long books
  • Pumps (very uncomfortable for me – much prefer wedges & platforms)
  • Being a packrat

Things I’ve decided I want (or need) to do more:

  • Pray
  • Read
  • Write to / visit my long distance friends
  • Work out
  • Spend more time with my local friends
  • Organize my time, my stuff, my house / car, and my life
  • Say what I mean, mean what I say
  • Travel
  • Explore the Southwest
  • Take pictures

Things I’ve decided I will not do anymore:

  • Eat Lima beans
  • Try to prop up one-sided relationships
  • Fail to clear the air when it is needed
  • Wear pantyhose
  • Be embarrassed by silly stuff
  • Fly Delta (if I can help it)
  • Suffer foolishness or guilt unnecessarily

I want to be better at my life.  More on that…and other things…tomorrow.

Bucket List

Did I mention previously that I make lists…a lot? Well, I decided to create a bucket list, hopes that as I revisit this list over the days, weeks, months, or years, I will begin to see things get checked off, and have a sense of fulfillment that I have LIVED my life, and not just let it pass me by in a blur. It’s a list in progress…always…and I hope never to “finish” but rather to fill my existence with meaningful experiences.
1. Vacation in Australia
2. Live in a foreign country
3. Adopt a child
4. Donate hair to Locks of Love (done…twice)
5. See Mount Everest…in person
6. Read the bulk of the classics (I’m not even close)
7. Get a ring finger tattoo & a toe tattoo…and maybe others
8. Write, and get paid for it
9. Run a 10k
10. Learn to kayak
11. Lose…and not gain back…my excess weight
12. Learn another language
13. Learn to knit & crochet
14. Live out my convictions on a daily basis
15.Reach a point where my inside & my outside match, and thus become the person God created me to be
16. Skydive (again)
17. Hike in the Grand Canyon (I hiked…sort of…on the rim)
18. Learn to pilot a helicopter
19. Develop a thicker skin
20. Travel…travel…travel
22. Live in a more intentional way, instead of just meandering through the days.
23. See the Seven Wonders of the World…depending on which list you’re looking at, I’ve seen two: Big Ben, Grand Canyon.