50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours by Regina Brett

The author read about Ray Bradbury’s book ‘Dandelion Wine’. Some folk arrive in this world fragile. Like tender fruit, they bruise easier, cry more often, and turn sad young. The author had cancer at age 41. Her book has been a huge success. Once you had cancer, there are not much worst things that can happen to you. She only graduated from college at age 30.

Life Isn’t Fair, but It’s Still Good. Bruce is my encouraging and lovely husband. Instead of saying ‘I have to go to work’, say ‘I get to go to work’. When I underwent chemotherapy, I bought an awesome cap that said ‘Life is good’. It was the Chemo Hat. I passed it on to others and managed to inspire many other cancer victims. Keep going no matter what.

When in doubt, just take the next right step. Don’t hesitate for too long. Panophobia is the fear of everything. I relied on alcohol during my high school days. Just do the next right thing. My life during the 20ss was screwed up with many mishaps and switching of majors in school. I was pregnant at 21. The more you wait, you more scared you will be to make a decision. You don’t need to plan that much to get very far. Take one small step and then things will be a lot easier.

You never see further than your headlights when you drive, but you can make the whole trip that way. – E. L. Doctorow

Every so often some expert calculates how much it costs to raise a child. It’s in the six figure range. The money doesn’t scare away would-be parents away, but if someone calculated all the time and energy it took to raise a child, the human race would become extinct. – Regina Brett

Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. For some, forgiveness is tough. To some, it is easy and graceful. Living life with resentment only leads to futility and unhappiness. Even if you don’t mean well, just go and pray for the person with all your heart. If you want to be free, set others free first. Free yourself and it will lead to happiness.

Don’t take yourself seriously. No one else does. I used to be a perfectionist in everything I do. Lighten up and don’t be too hard on yourself. A small mistake wouldn’t kill anyone. If you think you are that important, you wouldn’t dare to delegate any tasks. Slow down or you may embarrass yourself especially if you dress too quickly.

Pay off your credit cards every month. Learn to distinguish needs from wants. The credit card late charges are tremendous and you will pay the price if you do not settle on time. The interest charges will kill you too. Money problems have nothing to do with money but your attitude towards it. Learn to pay off your bills as soon as they are incurred. Save on the small items and it all adds up in the end.

Living an abundant life starts with knowing that what you want isn’t always want you need, and often isn’t even what you truly want. It starts with making smart choices that lead to long-term gratification. – Regina Brett

You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to Disagree. My husband will be the one who surrenders once in a while and doesn’t want to argue with me. You can’t win every argument. Sometimes, no one has to be right or wrong in an argument. Marriage is not easy and there will be bound to be disagreements.

Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone. There is no need to try and hold back the tears. Most of us are told that crying is a sign of weakness. Crying in the open is socially unacceptable. Tears were an asset because it is intense. Cry with someone so as to heal yourself. It takes a strong person to cry in the open.

It’s Okay to Get Angry with God. He Can Take It. Forgive God for all the bad things he has done and similarly he will forgive you. Make peace with each other. I don’t have to understand God to believe in God. It is alright to be angry at God once in a while. Let it out and things will feel better after that. God wants an intimate talk with us too.

The Most Important Sex Organ is the brain. I was a wounded woman for a while and didn’t want to meet new men. However, I met Bruce and I was very impressed by him. Choose a life partner. There will be times when people will hurt you, reject and abandon you. We were very open towards each other’s feelings. Bruce said that friendship came first, sex was secondary. Sex should never be done to please someone. Your brain is the actual organ that stimulates sex.

God never gives us more than we were designed to carry. If you have many difficulties, you were designed to bear them. My uncle took care of 6 kids himself after my aunt passed away. He never complained about it at all. Continue staying as a child and don’t grow up. Brett was a down syndrome kid that uncle took care of. When Brett passed away, uncle said this ‘People always told us we were a great gift to Brett. It was the other way around. He was a great gift to us.’ It is a gift to carry the sky.

Make Peace with your Past So It Doesn’t Screw up the Present. Something happening in your present can jolt your memory of your past. Childhood injuries can stay with you. Adults with difficult pasts can suffer from post-traumatic stress. My dad used to scream at me a lot in my childhood. Learn to recognize whenever you’re stuck. Freeze the moment and realize you can change the present. ‘How will I ever believe that I’m good enough?’ ‘By helping others believe that they are good enough.’

It’s Okay to let your children see you cry. Dad wasn’t used to crying. Crying means you’re human. Crying means something has touched your life.

Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is about. It took me a long time to understand the concept of a vocation. I took up many odd jobs in my life. You can learn from your past jobs and find that it will all be useful. Fake it till you make it. No one feels completely secure. Mistakes won’t end your life. They change our life.

We are all in this world for something greater than self. We each have a mission, an assignment, a calling, a vocation that is ours and ours alone. – Regina Brett

It took decades to end up as a writer doing what I love. All the time I looked around me comparing my insides to everyone else’s insides. I wanted what others had simply because I didn’t have it. They all had it so much easier, I whined. I wanted their lives. They looked so much better than mine. – Regina Brett

It doesn’t matter what has happened to you, it matters what you do with what has happened to you. Life is like a poker game. You don’t get to choose the cards you are dealt, but it’s entirely up to you how to play the hand. – Regina Brett

We’re all scared that we’re doing it wrong, that people don’t like us, that we’ll never be smart enough, good enough, successful enough, attractive enough. Don’t fight it. Make it roller-coaster scary. Enjoy the bumps, the wild turns, the ups and the downs, the almost-lost-my-lunch lurches. – Regina Brett

If a relationship has to kept secret, you shouldn’t be in it. I used to be someone’s secret dish and it turns out he had a finance. I went into therapy for a while. I ended up picking men who weren’t available because I was afraid that new men wouldn’t last the distance anyway. Never be in a secret relationship. Now I live life with the few pointers: 1) Stay away from unavailable men; 2) Keep no secrets; 3) Beware of addictions; 4) Be the real deal; 5) Tell the world what you want in a partner; 6) Ignore the wrapper; 7) Create a greater you. Do not write people off just because of their looks.

Create a life that is so good, it doesn’t matter if anyone comes along. Say yes to every opportunity to make new friends, meet new people, try new adventures. Get busy living the life of your dreams instead of looking for the man or woman of your dreams….Instead of looking for the right partner, become the right man or woman…for you. Be your best, deepest, truest self. Make yourself attractive to you. – Regina Brett

Everything can Change in a Blink of an Eye. But Don’t Worry; God never blinks. Can people see between blinks. See with the vision of faith. Attach yourself to God and to love. There is no darkness that is so dark that the light of a single candle cannot pierce it.

Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying. Hope is crucial for mankind. Either take your life or set yourself free. When you’re in a rut, faster get out before it turns into a grave. The biggest thing is to instil hope. Shawshank Redemption is a great show. It’s time to get busy living.

You can get through anything life hands you if you stay put in the day you are in and don’t jump ahead. Create a dreamboard for your future. Cancer isn’t that bad. It’s your attitude that is bad. Do not dread the future and the days that you were sick. It took discipline to ignore the calendar. Just live in the present. You don’t have to think of your past or present, just think of the present.

A writer is someone who writes, if you want to be a writer, write. Divide your project into small pieces. Bird by bird. Finish one short story. Tell the stories in your own voice. The stories are always inside you. There is no need to be hard on yourself or keep preparing. Do not keep procrastinating.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood but the second one is up to you and no one else. To heal yourself, give yourself a new childhood. Arrange a playdate with yourself. Stumble upon one hour of fun each week. Play with Lego, for instance. Have fun for once in your life and do something damn kiddy.

When It Comes to Going After What you Love in Life, Don’t take no for an answer. My writing was heavily criticized in University. I got rejected after school as I wanted to be a journalist but couldn’t find openings. I finally said yes to a local small newspaper. It was the job that I dreamt of. Later on, I got rejected as I wanted to start my own column. There is no such thing as a no. Find a way to get a yes. Don’t take no for an answer and keep shoveling. Eventually I was a columnist.

Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save anything for a special occasion. Today is special enough. Be more spontaneous in your everyday life. Cancer is a great wake-up call. Every time I look at my scar, it reminds me that I can’t live forever. Use all the writing tools you have and at this moment. It’s never too late to publish a book. Life is too short to do anything boring. Don’t trade your hours for something you don’t like. Say no if you have to. Use the 3 steps to change your life. 1) Choose the one thing you need to say to; 2) Choose one thing you need and want to say yes to; 3) Share these two things – that yes and that no – with your biggest cheerleader.

Overprepare, then go with the flow. Praying might cause the fear to go away. Approach every situation by preparing more than others. The more homework you do, the smarter you will become. Overprepare and it helps you to gain confidence. Believe that you can help others.

Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple. If you’re going to go, go all out. Don’t hold back. It would be boring to be sensible all the time. Wear outlandish colours. Carry a Charlie brown lunch box to school. Being normal is easier, but less fun. If you’re weird, you give the world texture. We are all miracles of a life force. Shout in the Universe and make a difference.

Start saving for retirement as soon as you get your first paycheck. All along when I was a columnist, I thought money was evil. Only when older, I realized the power of compounding. The earlier you save, the better. This is because of the compounding effect. Use 10% of your income for investments and never touch it again.

No one is in charge of your happiness. You are the CEO of your joy. It is usual that people or your loved ones will buy you gifts which you don’t need or like. Focus your energy on yourself and designing your own life. No more is responsible for your happiness. It’s all up to you. Choose happiness whenever you can. Pamper yourself. Take a nap if you want to. Create a sanctuary for yourself. Do the stuff you truly like.

Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In Five Years, Will This Matter?’ The answer is mostly no. Do not agonize over the small stuff in life. Do not panic, things will usually turn out fine. The true measure of a man is how he rebounds after defeat. Honesty and integrity are very important life lessons.

Always choose life. Walden by Henry David Thoreau is a brilliant book. Choose life. I was shocked when I was pregnant at 21. People started judging me. Before you make a decision, ask yourself ‘What is the most life-enhancing choice to make?’ Do everything you can to keep yourself alive. Being an unwed mother at 21 was one of the best things that happened to me.

Forgive Everyone and Everything. It can be difficult to forgive others sometimes. I let my daughter be exposed to her true father. Let go of your past so that you can build a better future. Forgiveness is a process that starts with a clear decision.

What Other People Think of You Is None of Your Business. I often get insulted on my column. Be tough enough to handle it. Simply ignore the mean comments. Know your identity and you decide what to answer to. Everyone has a fragile ego. Humility is the key. Humility and the life of service to others. We can’t bring anything with us and we can’t take anything back. Create a personal mission statement.

The Passage of time heals almost everything. Give time time. Attending healing services might help a little.

No matter how good or bad a situation is, it will change. The key is not to cling on to any of them but let them pass. ‘This too shall pass’. Trust the flow of life and let it guide you. I encountered a white water rafting capsize and I clung on desperately to a rock. The advice I got was correct. I needed to let go of the rock and flow down the river naturally. Eventually, I reached calmer waters. Life is a wonderful journey and the key is to savour the ride.

Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick, but your friends will. Stay in touch with them. No one who has friends is a failure. My husband received many heartfelt notes during his birthday. That really touched him. If you have your friends and your health, you have everything you need.

Believe in Miracles. You need to have belief in yourself and not think like you’re a failure. That’s the key.

God loves you because of who god is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do. Focus on God’s mercy instead of his justice. It was his nature to love. It can’t be earned or lost.

Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger I didn’t let cancer get me down. Such events actually make you even stronger. I removed my breasts in a surgery and it felt so weird initially. It felt strange. Eventually, I got fake breasts that felt like silicone and fake at the start. Later, I did get used to them. You don’t need breasts to be a mother. Decide who you are and who you want to be.

Growing old beats the alternative. Dying young looks good only in the movies. The author presented 50 crazy things to do when you’re 50.

Your Children Get Only 1 childhood. Make it Memorable. Do not neglect your children’s wants. Focus on your children as they only have 1 childhood to remember. As your dating, you have your whole life to start dating. Full-time parenting really matters. You can have everything you want, but not everything at once.

Read the psalms. No matter what your faith, they cover every human emotion. It simply requires a soul to understand the psalms. They cover almost every topic. I need to be still and understand myself.

Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting for you to discover. After the 9/11 attacks, I was traumatised and couldn’t go out of the house. I decided to head to the woods and walk alone. That was what I did. To escape the world, take a hike alone. Explore nature and appreciate its beauty.

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life/ – Rachel Carson

If we all threw our problems in a pile and got a look at everyone else’s, we’d fight to get back our own. Do not borrow someone else’s life. Learn to realize that your problems are your greatest gifts. We are not appreciative of life until we have seen what others have been through. We are all broken, just in different ways. Wounds are your gifts.

Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of now. Help others and you will be remembered eventually. Every moment counts. Do not stay in the box that others have placed you in. Expect the best from people and see the good in them.

Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful. Give away stuff that you have used in like 5 years. Before you want to keep something, ask yourself the following questions: ‘Is it useful?’; ‘Is it beautiful?’; ‘Does it add meaning to your life now?’; ‘If this item were free at a garage sale, would you take it?’ De-cluttering helps you to forget the past. It makes room for the new hobbies in life. Let go of the person that you once were.

All that truly matters in the end is that you loved. Envy is a waste of time. You already have everything you truly need. Uncle Al really loved my aunt Chris deeply. Before he passed away, he admitted that he had a great life. Happiness is a choice. It’s your outlook in life that determines your happiness. Choose time over money. Make peace with the past. What do you need? Nothing. What do you have? Everything. Happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s wanting what you have already.

Studies show that extra money will not make you extra happy. No one wants to be poor, but once basic needs for food, shelter, and education are met, the extra money you can spend doesn’t buy happiness. – Regina Brett

The best is yet to come. I always waited for mum to make the first move to love me. Accept the relationship you have. Make a gratitude list. Finally, I decided to write about mum. I thanked her for all the good things she did. Make a promise and show up.

No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up for life. By 50, I started to sink. I usually turn to religious books or meditation books for help. A prayer is more than words. Avoid mean people at work. Don’t make decisions when you’re feeling down and out. Face the day vertically. Dressing up gives you hope. Do the best you can each day.

Breathe. It Calms the Mind. Chanting a mantra might reduce long-term health problems. Meditation is about being present. Listen to your breathing. Meditation, it turns out, makes you more awake.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Speaking up is one of the hardest thing to do. My husband, when he wants something, always asks for it. Sometimes, we don’t ask because we fear rejection. We experience feelings of guilt and fear. Usually, I was the opposite and didn’t have the courage to ask for what I wanted. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. Be daring to ask for a raise if you think you’re good enough.

Yield. Miracles do happen sometimes. Learn to believe in them. Help someone in need.

Life isn’t tied to a bow, but it’s still a gift. What is the secret to money, relationships and happiness You are what you think. Master your mind. Perform voluntary work. What can you do for others?. Put life into what you’re doing.

You attract everything that comes into your life by the thoughts you hold. You create your life with your thoughts. – Regina Brett

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