Regina Brett’s Life Lessons



Regina Brett, The Cleveland Plain Dealer

My hometown is Cleveland, Ohio, so part of my heart resides there, and I follow lots of Cleveland sites.


Regina Brett is a columnist with The Cleveland Plain Dealer, one of the newspapers I grew-up with. She originally wrote this column about 15 years ago and updated it in 2006 when she turned 50. I believe it is one of those timeless articles that allows each of us to ponder life a bit.

I thought I would share it with you during this traditionally reflective week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Are any of hers a favorite of yours? Any you disagree with?

What would you add? Share your life lessons!

I truly believe the best is yet to come, #45m because as I learn and grow my life keeps getting better.

I would add: Find the magic in each day and strive to be effortlessly kind.

Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer By Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer
on May 28, 2006 at 10:13 AM, updated April 03, 2008 at 10:17 AM

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

Pity party or peace, pick one


I found myself needing a moment of peace this morning.

I was feeling underappreciated, and was all set to begin playing my internal whiny violin. Lucky for me,  instead of powering-up a personal pity party, I searched my blog posts for the word “peace” and reminded myself of my own good advice!  🙂

Here’s what I did, and what you can, too. 

KEY: Do not try to “silver line” this particular pitying moment, i.e. make something positive out of something negative. Simply admit you feel bad, aggravated, frustrated, underappreciated, etc. Identify whatever you are feeling – and sit with that for a second.

Then take 30 seconds to reflect on an unrelated positive moment from your past:

  1. Close your eyes, breathe deeply in and out through your nose.
  2. Pause and simply say the word, “Help!” (This is a Martha Beck, tip.)
  3. Then, think of a happy or positive moment in your life or someone you love or care about. (This step relaxes your brain and gets you into a more positive mood.)
  4. Now, send wishes of peace and happiness to your family, friends and foes, and to folks worldwide you don’t know.
  5. Pause again and let the good feelings you have created, flow throughout your body.
  6. Then, smile, a long happy eye-crinkling smile.


Both your body and brain now have all sorts of positive, broaden and build chemicals and hormones floating through them, and if you are the teeny, tiniest bit happier or more peaceful you have increased the odds that everyone you meet or talk to today will be, too. It’s a simple step toward creating world peace, moment-to-moment, person-by-person.

This short reflection, led me out of my melancholy moment and on to happier, more fulfilling ones and got me motivated to get moving in a new direction – and to writing this post.  And, that always makes me happy!

PS Repeat as needed throughout the day – and your life – to keep positivity and peace flowing – inside and out!

“Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again,”

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, today will be the shortest day of the year, which is known as the Winter Solstice. The sun will be directly overhead at “high noon,” but we will have the fewest hours of sunlight. Sound depressing? It doesn’t have to be!


Set your phone today to 12:00 as a reminder to reflect at ‘high noon”.

The winter solstice is a great time to give yourself a mini-mental break by pausing for a moment to look up at the sky and send a heartfelt message to someone, who is near and dear to you.

A sincere and simple “I love you” or “Thank you for all you have done for me.” is guaranteed to send positive emotion producing hormones and neurochemicals racing through your brain. A few deeper thoughts and moments of joyful contemplation will spread their positive affects throughout your entire body.

If you extend your heartfelt thoughts to just 3 minutes of pleasant reverie and gratitude, the results can lift your mood for 6-8 hours.

If you later share your thoughts with the person your are thinking of, the good feelings they create for both of you, may last for days and even weeks.

And, if you are lucky enough to be out and about in nature, while sending your sweet thoughts, you may receive even greater physical and psychological rewards.

Pausing just long enough to truly absorb the sights, the scents and the scene around you can deepen and extend the beneficial and life enhancing responses to the sensations you are experiencing. You can become your own “breath of fresh air”.

heart-snow-1159461__180 Give yourself a very special winter solstice gift this holiday season – celebrating the moment, the goodness and the love in your life can make a world of difference in your mood and spirits in the busy days ahead.

Happy Solstice! Enjoy!


Magic beans

Five years ago today . . . love reliving all the moments. This story still holds magic for me. In a day or two, I will be adding to the memories when gathered around a table playing cards with my grand sons. Loving the circle of life!


Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want


Once upon a time, in a faraway land a United States Peace Corps trainee (me) spent the night with her Macedonian host family at a table sorting beans from their garden. They were not just ordinary beans, they were magic. The beans represented food and income for a family of four. You see, this hard-working, ever-generous and friendly family had dug the earth, plowed the fields, planted the seeds, watered and weeded the plants, and then harvested the tiny beans to provide sustenance for their family.  And, that is only part of their magic. 

The final step of the process was to sort the beans – to discard the bad, select the best for sale and store the remaining beans for meals during the winter months ahead. The beans were the main focus of the evening, and were piled high on the dining room table on a clean worn cloth used for this and many other cooking purposes. I quickly learned that sorting them was…

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Tips for keeping your spirits bright

Ho! Ho! Ho!  For the past 5 years I have been sharing tips for making your holiday season as merry and bright as possible.

This year, I have complied a list of links to some of my favorite holiday survival posts just for you! Click away to revive your heart and soul and to create a richer, warmer holiday.snowflake-1823942_960_720

What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season? How we think can affect our holiday much more than any of the gifts we give or receive.

Social Media Quick Holiday Pick-Me-Up  Easy ways to use social media to warm your heart.

A less stressed holiday season. Tune into what you really care about to create your best holiday season ever.

Christmas memories  Research shows reliving positive memories can be good for our hearts and minds. Don’t have any? No problem – I include tips on how to make that work for you, as well.

On the first day of Christmas . . .  Offers tips on how to survive a trip home and is based on the holiday musical classic!

Enjoy!  I will post a few more in the days ahead. Until then, happy holidays!


On the same page from different sides of the globe . . .

“No matter how many mistakes you have made or how slow your progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who is not trying!”

Words of wisdom from yesteryear, circa 2012.


Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want

 "No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who is not trying!"

“No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow your progress,
you are still way ahead of everyone who is not trying!”

The quote was posted today by my American friend, Lynn, on her “Project Reinvention” Florida Meetup, and the photo was recently reposted by my adventurous Macedonian friend, Ace, on his Facebook page. I thought the photo and quote made a great cross-culture, social media message for keeping hope alive during the holiday season!

Can you tell where Ace is?

And, yes, I know a globe doesn’t have “sides”, thanks in advance for granting me poetic license. 🙂

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A brief glimpse back

Five years ago I was in the United States Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia for Christmas with a loving and wonderful family . . . here is a bit of my adventure there.

Click on the link below to see the photos and original post about a beautiful Georgian holiday tradition. Happy Holidays!Chichilaki 1 Patrice Koerper Peace Corps Life Coach

Wishful Thinking Works: Create the life you really want

Sadly, this is my final week in the Republic of Georgia. Today is my last day at the Ministry of Environment where I have spent the past three and a half months as a Peace Corps Response Volunteer working with great people on interesting PR projects. My Peace Corps reports are finished and waiting to be signed, and hundreds of my photos are sitting in my files waiting to be shared with you! Since I only have a little time left here, I’m letting myself get further and further behind in posting my memories so I can spend time with my Georgian host family, who are absolutely wonderful and so much fun!

I promise to catch-up soon on my photos. I’m sure it will take me a few weeks to sort through all the photos I’ve already taken and the hundreds more I plan to take in my remaining three days. Until I get my photographic act together, I thought I would share a brief glimpse of one…

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