Monday, January 31, 2011

Life lessons from unlikely places


Some people find comfort in church or enlightenment from a weekend retreat. I found both on the toilet. Well, not to be crass or anything, but I was peeing after a prenatal yoga class (as most pregnant women tend to do every hour on the hour or so it would seem), and as I sat down to get on with my business, posted right at eye level in front of me was this paper that read: Regina Brett's 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on. With nothing else better to do I started reading (because I’m a multi-tasker extraordinaire like that), and I was hooked.

It’s been around for awhile apparently but since it was my first encounter with it, I devoured every word. With my surging pregnancy hormones and the big life changes looming on the horizon, this list was a panacea to my soul. And it’s now up on a wall somewhere in my house. Not so much a mantra but more like a reminder, if you will, for those days that I feel lost. And I’ve had many of those lately. So thank you Regina Brett, for sharing this with us, and thank you universe, for making my bladder full that day so I that this list appeared to me when I needed it the most.


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.

Some time last year, I’d recounted the lessons I’ve amassed along the way, but after reading Regina’s, I know now that I have so much more to learn. While it’s going to take time for some of them to truly sink in, for now, I know this with absolute certainty: For all that the universe has thrown my way, I think that’s its way of being cruel to be kind me. I am still grateful for this life. This gift. And all the miracles that contain within it – especially my family.


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Where do you go for your life lessons? Any unlikely places? Were there anything on the list that spoke most to you? Care to add to the list above from your own life’s lessons?