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45 Essential Life Lessons From a 90-Year-Old

9 minute read

For the past decade, the words and wisdom of one woman, have gone viral and touched people in a profound way. It all began when, Regina Brett was diagnosed with breast cancer. Instead of being overwhelmed by life's curve ball she took a more proactive approach. She created a list that helped her and can help others put matters into perspective.

This list has provided her, and countless others the gift of reflection and inspiration for life's biggest challenges and even its mundane frivolity.

45: Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

44: Yield.

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

42: The best is yet to come...

41: Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.

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

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

38: All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

37: Your children get only one childhood.

36: Growing old beats the alternative—dying young.

35: Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

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

33: Believe in miracles.

32: Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

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

30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.

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

28: Forgive but don't forget.

27: Always choose life.

26: Frame every so-called disaster with these words; “in five years will this matter?”

25: No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

24: The most important sex organ is the brain.

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

non-conformist woman

22: Over-prepare, then go with the flow.

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

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

19: It's never too late to be happy. But it's all up to you and no one else.

18: Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.

17: Get rid of anything that isn't useful. Clutter weighs you down in many way.

16: Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

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

14: If a relation has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.

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

12: It's okay to let your children see you cry.

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

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

9: Save for things that matter.

8: It's okay to get angry with God. He can take it.

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

6: You don't have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

5: Don't buy stuff you don't need.

4: Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

3: Life is too short not to enjoy it.

2: When it doubt, just take the next small step.

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

The Life Lessons Challenge

The life lessons challenge implores us to examine the list above, inject ourselves into the list, to discover each line's meaning and how the advice can best help. Through this process clarity can be gained about how to implement these recommended lessons. Below, we kick off the life lessons challenge by delving deeper into our five most favorite pieces of advice from Regina, and reveal our thoughts on how it can change lives for the better.

1. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

Sometimes our jobs can encroach on our time with the people we love most. Whether you have a deadline looming, or a heavy assignment that is stressing you out, it is important to step back and put things into perspective.

What matters most to you? Obviously, a job is important but it is more important to grant your children and loved ones access into your life. Set aside enough time for those who love you, after all, they are the ones that will be there for you when it matters most.

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

One of the biggest hurdles in life can be you. That's right. We tell ourselves, "you can't write a novel," or "you can't plan a vacation," or "you aren't good enough for that position." It's time to stop. Validate your passions, don't hold yourself back,  and go for it.

father playing bass and showing his toddler daughter how to play

3. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

Individual happiness is so important, and it is promoted all around us everyday. Sometimes as a husband, or a father, or a child, or a friend, we place our happiness into other people's hands. Now, of course, we're not saying that sharing your life with others doesn't bring happiness, but don't live your life for someone else's elation. Check in on your own personal happiness and don't allow others to determine whether or not your happy. 

4. Frame every so called disaster with these words; “In five years, will this matter?

This advice can pertain to just about anything, so let's simplify it with an example. Let's say that your wallet was stolen, and now your credit is at stake, your income is at risk, and you feel overwhelmed by the process of rectifying this wrong. You let these feelings fester for days and days, frozen with fear, until you finally hear back from the police.

Break this cycle by examining these questions; In five years will I have a new wallet? Will I make more money? Will my bank give me another credit card? The answer to all of these questions is yes. The point to remember is that your wallet being stolen is frustrating, but it is only a minor roadblock in your life. Pull down the barrier that completely shuts you down and don't let it affect your life, because in the end, everything will be sorted out.

5. It's okay to let your children see you cry.

As parents, we feel we have to be strong, supportive, and loving for our children. And, in part, that's true, but sometimes we confuse being strong with not showing any emotions around our children. The fact is that in order for our kids to acquire the skills to handle their emotions, they need us to set an example, and that means we must show them how we handle our emotions appropriately. 

The Bottom Line

Now that you have a better understanding of the life lessons challenge, it is time for you to give it a try.  We challenge you to take five or ten lessons from Regina's list of 45, and write them down. After you write them down, see how you can fit her advice into your life. After a week or so, re-examine how it has helped you and share it forward, with your friends and family. 

  1. http://mrhealthyguru.com/45-life-lessons-written-by-90-year-old/
  2. https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/45-Life-Lessons-Written-90-Year-Old-Woman-34209890