Fact Check

Regina Brett - 45 Lessons Life Taught Me

Text reproduces newspaper columnist's list of '45 lessons life taught me'?

Published Jun 2, 2009

Claim:   Text reproduces newspaper columnist's list of "45 lessons life taught me."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2009]

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio

"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 rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

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. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

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.

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. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

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

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. Over prepare, 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 but 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 some time.

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

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

33. Believe in miracles.

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

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

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

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

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. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

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


44. Yield.

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

Its estimated 93% won't forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title '7%'.

I'm in the 7%

Remember that I will always share my spoon with you!
Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves!


Origins:   Lists of life's lessons mastered are an Internet staple, such as the ones falsely attributed to political commentator Andy Rooney, the one falsely attributed to poet Maya Angelou, and the one at least partially correctly attributed to humorist Dave Barry. Yet another

entry in this category is this "45 Lessons Life Taught Me" compilation attributed to Regina Brett.

Regina Brett is a long-time columnist for Ohio newspapers (including the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer) who was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2009 for "her range of compelling columns that move the heart,
challenge authority and often trigger action while giving readers deeper insight into life's challenges."

Ms. Brett is also the compiler of the above-quoted list of "life lessons," which was originally published in the Plain Dealer and has since become "the single most popular column ever written by Regina."

Contrary to the Internet-circulated version of Ms. Brett's list, however, she is not 90 years old. Regina Brett turned 50 years old in 2006, and on that occasion she updated her list of "45 life lessons" with an additional "5 to grow on." In a June 2009 blog entry, 53-year-old Regina Brett wrote about the Internet-created misperception that she is 90.

Last updated:   10 June 2009


    Brett, Regina.   "Regina Brett's 45 Life Lessons and 5 to Grow On."

    [Cleveland] Plain Dealer.   28 May 2006.

    The New York Times.   "2009 Pulitzer Prizes for Journalism."

    21 April 2009   (p. A23).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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