Regina Brett – “50 Life Lessons”

Regina Brett (born May 31, 1956) is a columnist for The Plain Dealer, a daily newspaper serving Cleveland, Ohio. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary in 2008 and 2009. Her first book, “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours” was published in April, 2010 by Grand Central Publishing.

Previous to her work at The Plain Dealer, Brett worked as a columnist for the Akron Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio for seven years. Over the course of her career, Brett has written almost 2,000 newspaper columns.

From 2006 to 2010, Brett hosted “The Sound of Ideas,” a radio show on WCPN 90.3FM, a NPR affiliate located in Cleveland. She currently hosts “The Regina Brett Show” on 89.7 WKSU, Kent State’s public radio station. The weekly program was inspired by Brett’s book and invites listeners to join a conversation on a variety of topics.

Brett has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree in religious studies from John Carroll University.

In 1998, Brett was diagnosed with breast cancer and included her experiences of chemotherapy and her recuperation in her columns in the Akron Beacon Journal. These columns earned her a National Headliner Award.

In 2006, Brett wrote a column for The Plain Dealer entitled “50 Life Lessons”, which has since been the most distributed column she has written to date, appearing on blogs as well as social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook. In many of these instances, Brett is misidentified as a 90-year-old woman. The “50 Life Lessons” column has been expanded to fifty chapters for her upcoming book, “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours”.

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.

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