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

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:

rbrett@plaind.com, 216-999-6328

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

April 21 (S)…Sowell (as in Thomas)

I have to admit that I have been crushing on Thomas Sowell for a long time.  He is a erudite economist, a pithy political pundit, and a phenomenally talented writer.  His is widely published as a columnist and is a prolific nonfiction author, all while continuing his day job as a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Instition of Stanford University.  To say he is highly accomplished is probably a bit of an understatement.  He’s one of my favorite people ever to advance the causes of economic solvency and political conservatism.  Plus, he has a wicked sense of humor.

With that confession now off my chest, let me share with you some of my favorite “Sowellisms.”

Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God.

Socialism is a wonderful idea. It is only as a reality that it has been disastrous. Among people of every race, color, and creed, all around the world, socialism has led to hunger in countries that used to have surplus food to export…. Nevertheless, for many of those who deal primarily in ideas, socialism remains an attractive idea — in fact, seductive. Its every failure is explained away as due to the inadequacies of particular leaders.

Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late.

Whenever someone refers to me as someone “who happens to be black,” I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.

It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.

Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric.

Both free speech and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights.

Capitalism knows only one color:  that color is green; all else is necessarily subservient to it, hence, race, gender and ethnicity cannot be considered within it.

It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.

One of the common failings among honorable people is a failure to appreciate how thoroughly dishonorable some other people can be, and how dangerous it is to trust them.

People who pride themselves on their “complexity” and deride others for being “simplistic” should realize that the truth is often not very complicated. What gets complex is evading the truth.

Intellect is not wisdom.

Talkers are usually more articulate than doers, since talk is their specialty.

Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on “income distribution,” the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned.

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth–anonymously and posthumously.

Extrapolations are the last refuge of a groundless argument.

Whatever we wish to achieve in the future, it must begin by knowing where we are in the present- not where we wish we were, or whee we wish others to think we are, but where we are in fact.

One of the consequences of such notions as “entitlements” is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence.

One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain.

Sources:  Goodreads.com, ThinkExist.com, BrainyQuote.com

This is a very small sampling of the wit and wisdom of Thomas Sowell…a dip of the toe.  I urge you to check out his columns at Townhall (one of several publication websites), his books (they’re available at your local library), and those columnists and authors whom he recommends.  He is worth it.

Yep, totally crushing…

April 17 (O)…Opals in October, Oreos & Milk, and One Damn Thing After Another…

<–  What (apparently) I have to say today.

Oh, I don’t know.  There are a few “O” words (or things) I could offer.  They would fill the empty space.

Like the fact that my birthday is in October, which makes it my favorite month.  Of course, the cooler weather & Halloween are pretty keen as well.  That, and opal is the birthstone for October, which is uber-cool, since it is one of my favorite semi-precious stones.  The other being onyx.  Duh!

I suppose Oreos and milk for breakfast would qualify as an outstanding way to start the day.  Oreos are pretty much omnipresent in our house, and in my (not so) humble opinion, should be so in every house where kiddos reside.  Rather off-putting for crunchy granola types, perhaps, or those who do only homemade and healthified, but I am not one of those, so I say live a little and have the occasional Oreo in the morning.  Won’t be the best decision you ever made.  Won’t kill you either.

Outrageous outbursts…  OMG!  They’re just so over the top!  I mean, they’re off the hook!  No, really, I can think of a metric ton of them off the top of my head!  One damn thing after another!!  Really…with exclamation points!  Oh no I didn’t!  (Well, no, but she did! –>)  Oh, nevermind.  On to a different subject

At which point the rest of my (finished post) DIDN’T SAVE, and is floating somewhere in cyberspace, or maybe outer spaceOh, for the Love of BLOG!!!  I am fairly certain that all of my operating brain cells have operated their quotient for the day, and I simply can not reconstitute that bit of fatuous brilliance.

This is the pithy version:

1.  Something about one day owning this Oenophile’s Bar.  Because it’s perfect for my husband (the resident oenophile), and matches our decor, because it’s all Old West / southwest or some such, and more silly nonsense along that line.

2.  Something else about being politically conservative (obviously), watching the overly protracted Republican primary circus season, and realizing, as we are approaching the foregone conclusion, that I am not a supporter of the frontrunner in any respect other than he is not the current POTUS, and that this coming November I will not so much be voting for him as against Obama. 

And with that, I bid you goodnight, sleep tight, may the bed bugs bite your neighbor and not yourself, and may my brain be more functional tomorrow.

Omaha!  I mean, Aloha!

Random Crap I Dream About When I’m Sick…

I am sick & tired of catching every little bug or whatever that is floating around.

I swear, these things are contagious through the computer or phone anymore.  I can’t seem to skip one.  Loud hacking cough?  Why yes, I’ll have that.  Rumbly, grumbly stomach?  Certainly!  Splitting headache?  Funny you should ask…I’ve not had THAT lately.  Appetite?  No thanks, I’ll pass.  I need to lose some lbs anyway.  Sleep?  Well, 18 hours isn’t enough, so yes, I’ll take more.  Runny nose?  Why not, since I have everything else.  All of the above (plus a little puky time) for the small child?  Indeed…it’s no fun to suffer alone.

All of which leads to some really strange dreams (for me).  Yowza!  I’ve dreamed about living (sort of part time) in India, but not getting completely moved there before we have to relocate again. This time to some frozen tundra near the North Pole.  Nope, no name.  Oh, and we have to go into Witness Protection.  I don’t know why, but unsavory people are after us, so it’s undercover to some place with no name.  By the way, don’t forget to change birthdates, because that’s how most people get discovered (and killed)…they forget to change birthdates.  Stop using your real names…NOW.

Back to the apartment in India (actually on the edge of India, overlooking some city that is never quiet):  Gotta get a shower.  There are two bathrooms in the apartment…one really nice, full of mirrors & glass (WHY?), but I can’t use that one.  I’m in the other room, where the bathroom is out on the balcony, and you can see in from the city at certain times.  So I have to make sure that the time I need to use it is a time when the walls are not translucent.  Oh, and did I mention that all this time I am naked, which would be embarrassing if anyone outside were to see, but apparently dealing with those inside the apartment is…um…ducky?

Moving on…we’ve abandoned India, and now I’m living in an apartment with a homeless woman.  Apparently we are roommates.  She’s been able to find a job, and a thrift store where she can get a huge bag of clothing for free if she comes at a certain time and shops from a certain rack.  No, I can’t get that same perk…the proprietor doesn’t like the fact that I found one blouse that needed to be rehung properly on the hanger, and she took it from me and said I couldn’t even buy it.  No longer for sale.  Why?  Because I offended her by straightening it on the hanger…which apparently showed that it was in better shape and now worth more money, which I can’t pay to buy it because I fixed it.  WTH?  Of course, now I am the one with the job, the one paying the rent, the one cleaning up the cigarette butts from the cracks in the cement (What??), the one dealing furniture placement (which apparently can not be changed), the one dealing with a baby (What??) and trying to buy groceries at the little grocery owned by the apartment complex, which is perpetually out of milk.  Why?  But I can’t move out, and I can’t kick out the deadbeat roommate.

And then there are the really nice Rolls Royce’s parked down on the next block…so cool we (Phil & I) are drooling over them, and he gets in one and starts it up.  I’m terrified we’ll get caught, although that doesn’t stop me from looking at the other one, which suddenly rolls down the curb, across the street, and into the mess of whatever is over there.  I have to go retrieve it, and pull it like a lawnmower back to the parking space before the owner arrives.  Just in the nick of time, too (sigh).  Owner comes and goes, and once again we’re admiring the cars a little too closely.  I’m afraid to touch them, just in case one decides to joy ride across the road again…

Then jump to…

The gang assassinations on the big field next to the main road in Florida.  Not sure which gangs, but we’re the good guys.  And we’re losing.  Badly!  A bunch of us are now waiting (under guard) to be assassinated.  Or executed.  I’m scared.  Very scared, not of dying, but of it hurting to die.  Because I’m afraid it’s going to be slow…like slitting my throat and bleeding out.  My brother is there too…and we’re both going to be killed, only we have to wait through the execution of every other person on our side…one at a time.  I am face down on the ground, injured, hands bound behind me.  But…since we have to wait through the other executions, this gives us time to talk, and to settle how we’re going to go out.  No screaming.  No crying.  No fear.  Only asking if it can be done simultaneously so that neither of us has to watch the other die.

Apparently this is met with some resistance.  Apparently the point is to require one to witness the other…maximize the fear, and (hopefully) cause an emotional breakdown.  Begging not to be killed is desired.  We don’t do that, and in asking to be executed together, we learn that we will be shot, which will be quick…painless.  A good thing in this context.  So we stand there…holding hands…waiting…

Fade to black…

Did I mention I hate being sick?

Chaotic Cogitations

I love alliteration.  A lot.

I love watching the hubby and small child snuggle up on the couch, talking and watching whatever it is that their guy hearts desire.  It’s such a great change to observe how alike they are.  I kept thinking today as I watched them that I should get the camera and capture the moment…but I didn’t, ’cause I was comfortable, and I didn’t want to move.  Lazy, that.

The small child has mastered the use of the iPad to the point that he is VERY adept at shopping in the app store for games he thinks he must have.  I’ve limited him to free games (with the occasional $$ game thrown in), and he has displayed an uncanny ability to find every single free game in existence.  Glad he doesn’t know my iTunes password…that’s all I’m sayin’.

Just how many times does one adult need to sit through Scooby Doo before it constitutes enough?  Well, I’ll let you know…

Made homemade chili yesterday using the uber-delicious Chugwater Chili spice blend.  So easy that even I will do it.  I am not a magician in the kitchen by any stretch – that moniker is definitely reserved for my husband – but I have swerved into a few winners, of which this is one.  Follow the link to check out Chugwater products & recipes:  http://www.chugwaterchili.com.

Pumpkin mellows are yummy…and so much better than candy corn.

So I made this crazy, sort-of-halfway-sincere-maybe resolution to embark on a reading challenge for 12 months – October 2011 to October 2012 – in which I would read off my own shelves for a change.  I’m a library gal, and I can hardly resist buying a good book when it’s a steal (can we say used book stores & thrifting??!!), so the question is not whether or not it’s a good idea (it definitely is), but whether or not I can actually not indulge in the more-than-occasional book purchase.  We shall see.

Of course, the above has been made a bit more difficult now since my hubby got me a Kindle for my birthday.  Yay!  He rocks!

And speaking of the Kindle, I downloaded the ESV Bible (for free) and used it at church today.  Now that’s cool, and it weighs less too.

Added a tagline to my personal blog when I transitioned to WordPress.  A zaftig cogitating…  What do you think?

Man, I wish I could go up to Michigan and see my sweet friend Mandi, who just had her third child (second daughter).  She’s a cutie patootie, as are her big sis & big bro, and I am achin’ for some snuggles from darlin’ baby Em!!

My husband fixed my car today – a whole in the coolant reservoir that caused my car to steam vociferously from every crevice around the hood and spew dark red liquid into a nice big puddle under the car.  Thankfully it was minor, though it didn’t appear so at the time.  Of course, as he was concluding that repair, he found that the battery had given up the ghost as well.  Thankfully Walmart delivered some customer service (for a change…usually it’s customer no-service) and sold him the battery after the auto shop had closed.  So I’m back on the road again. 🙂

I love the word desultory.

And quixotic.

I wish I had the talent for words that Mark Twain had…that Flannery O’Connor had…that Jack Kerouac had…that Pat Conroy has…that J.K. Rowling has…that Kathryn Stockett has.  What an impressive mastery of the English language each one of them displays, in their own disparate styles, when spinning exquisitely written tales that transport me straight into the heart of the story.

Still struggling theologically over predestination & free will, particularly in how it is possible to have freedom to make choices while understanding that God knew us (and the course of our lives) before the foundation of the world.  Them’s some deep thoughts…for another day.

(Somewhat) Random Thoughts

I’ve been playing around with my blog design to find something that seemed to be more representative of the vision I had in mind.  This is what I came up with.  Tell me what you think…really!

In addition to the above, I designed another blog (which I posted about previously) so I can contain my bookish observations, reviews, lists, etc.  They are overflowing out of me, and it has gotten to the point where I’m posting more regularly along that line than along the various other meanderings of my brain.  Of course, I’ve been reading a lot (more) lately, which I suppose could account for that.

With regard to the reading a lot, if you have read something that you think is fabulous, tell me about it.  Tell me here, or at Bookish Nerd, or on Facebook, or through email, or (gasp) we could talk on the phone.  I know, that’s practically out of fashion anymore, but still…you could text. LOL

As I’m looking around, I note that I’m sitting in the living room that is absolutely chaotic with the detritus of a 5-year-old boy who is on spring break.  A barn, animals, books, DVDs, animals, PlayMobil (teeny tiny) pieces, Buzz Lightyear, animals, Sheriff Woody, Jessie, animals, a dinosaur camo throw, tractors pulling wagons filled with (have I mentioned this before??) animals.  What is miraculous about this is that I haven’t blown a gasket as he sits absorbed in The Land Before Time and completely content with the state of things.  This is something that bothers…really bothers…me.  To the point that I can’t relax until order is restored, and yet my darling son – so like his father – can be completely at ease in the midst of it.  Just push it over to the side if you need the space.  No problem…he’s going to use (play with) each item at some point…this week…ya know, so let’s not be putting things away unnecessarily.  I mean, you should see his bed.  It can be made neatly, with a few of his stuffed animals settled strategically for a warm & inviting sleeping environment, and as I peak in before heading to my own bed, every stuffed animal he owns is piled (PILED) at the head of his bed, and he is sleeping in some cockeyed position, snuggled within the pile, and possibly with some part of his body hanging off the bed.  Now when I say that he reminds me somewhat (as does my husband at times) of Pigpen in the Charlie Brown comics, who constantly has this little dirt cloud swirling behind him, you can visualize the trail of belongings that follows my son wherever he goes.  It goes beyond my threshold for clutter, and yet…well…he’s 5.

Since I promised said darling 5-year-old boy (who has informed me he is hungry) that I would prepare dinner at 6:00p, and he has been watching the clock, and I am now 9 minutes past my promise, I will stop and attend to him.

Until next time.