50 Timeless Life Lessons

life lessons

Have you ever tried to compile a list of life lessons you have learned over the years? It can be an interesting exercise in self-discovery.

I recently came across a list that was so practical and down to earth that I thought I would share it. This list of 50 life lessons was written by New York Times bestseller  Regina Brett to celebrate growing older. She wrote it just prior to turning 50.

50 Lessons Life Taught Me

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 not OK to get angry with God even if 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 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. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
20. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you.

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 and 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.

What would you add to Regina’s list of life lessons?
Could you come up with a list of life lesson to match you age?
How important is it that we learn from our life lessons?

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  1. Karlil November 9, 2009 Reply

    I love this list. Thanks for sharing Regina. I especially love #4.

  2. Lana November 9, 2009 Reply

    So much truth and wisdom in every sentence. I really want to print it and hang it on the wall in front of me. Thanks Regina!

  3. Miche November 9, 2009 Reply

    A wonderful list… I’d add one of my favorite Maya Angelou quotes:

    “In the end people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you’d made them feel.”

    Miche :)

  4. Rocket Bunny November 9, 2009 Reply

    I am smiling ear to ear after reading this it is lovely and heart warming advice. All of these hit home one way or another for me.
    Great job my friend !!!

    • Rocket Bunny November 9, 2009 Reply

      I would have to add don’t over think things and make them bigger then what they actually are.
      I am still in wife training by my own admission.
      I am working on an article at the moment about something I am personally working on which is patience. Patience is a very important emotion to achieve. Older women have told me this who have been married for years and have careers.
      I truly think when a woman is feeling sad she gravitates to misery because misery loves company and it is true. I did this a couple of weeks ago. Worst night of my life in years.
      You can say it and think you have accepted it but for some reason you find your self inviting friends over who just bring you down more.
      So I guess if that makes sense I have a few add -ons.
      1. Surround yourself with happy positive people who love to laugh and don’t invite misery in to your life – via people or thoughts.
      2.Remember to always respect others and appreciate individuality.
      3. Delete expectations from your life and you will be less disappointed.
      4. Remember to turn obstacles into opportunities by keeping the faith.
      5.Keep your mind and body in shape. Keep learning and stay in shape. First for yourself then your love ones.
      I will shut up now :D

  5. Frank J November 9, 2009 Reply

    That 50 saved me a lot of time, but I am sure we all can add to that list as we are individuals.

  6. Nea November 9, 2009 Reply

    What an amazing list! Life definitely has a way of showering you with lessons. I bet we could make this list of 50 into 5000 with a little effort. I really liked this one: ” Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

  7. Dragos Roua November 9, 2009 Reply

    That was an inspiring reading. I’m turning 39 as of today and I have to admit a lot of those lessons are overlapping with what I learned so far. So, the 51st lesson: you’re not alone :-)

  8. Steven Aitchison November 9, 2009 Reply

    Hi Regina, that is a great list of life lessons there, I honestly loved all of them, thanks for sharing them, you’ve made a young man feel wiser :)

  9. John Duffield November 10, 2009 Reply

    Top of the morning to you Jonathan. That impressive list reminded me that everyone eventually accumulates their own unique list of life-wisdoms over the years. Here’s one from my list I’d like to share. Learn from others. That may sound simple and even ridiculous, but it’s far less common than you might think. One really obvious example is (many…not all) youngsters. Parents frequently discover their children “know it all” for instance, and don’t benefit from even the simplest guidance. If you’re a parent yourself, you’ll probably have a whole whack of examples of your own. Talk about frustrating to offer gifts of guidance, only to have them ditched in the trash on the way out the door! Even so, many parents are equally guilty, never even suspecting their kids could teach them all kinds of useful things. Why? They think their kids are uh….just kids….and children can’t teach grownups anything. Can they? Yes they can….but not if you don’t believe it. It doesn’t stop there either. We’re all taught there’s a kind of “pecking order” in the world that implies doctors can’t learn from janitors, plumbers, or people “further down the chain of command”…. so-to-speak. If you’ve ever met an arrogant professor or misguided professional you’ll know what I mean. So much energy is put into keeping their nose in the air…..there’s none left to learn from others. Having said all that, I must admit that I myself failed to learn from others for a long time. I tried to re-invent one wheel after another on my own, never realizing I could make leaps and bounds by seeking out people to learn from. And so I inched along for decades. When finally I did learn to learn from everyone though, it was nothing short of a revelation. Suddenly a world of inspiration opened up, where before I was alone in the darkness. Like Regina says on her list though, it’s never too late….for anything…..including learning to learn from others. Ciao Jonathan. John Duffield

  10. Amit Sodha November 10, 2009 Reply

    I love these – 10, 11, 13, and especially 24 “The most important sex organ is the brain.” How true!

  11. jeff November 10, 2009 Reply

    I particularly like #16. Of course, it resonates with my passion for living life to the fullest. Nice list!

  12. Stephen November 10, 2009 Reply

    Jonathan, I loved this. I’m so glad you found it. I don’t know why by this one cracked me up! How true!

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

  13. Grace November 10, 2009 Reply

    I would Add every relationship deserves honesty
    its how we grow
    thanks for sharing and keep the faith.

  14. Mike King November 11, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for the great list Regina. Wise words here for sure.

  15. timethief November 13, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing your list. Mine is 46 lessons long and not surprisingly, some are the same as yours. Those are the ones I appreciate most … lol :D For example this one: 41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now. It’s the other lessons I’ll be copying and posting on my bulletin board.

  16. Fatibony November 13, 2009 Reply

    Thanks for sharing No 23 is quite funny… each one obviously has its relevance, outstanding list…

  17. Hicham Maged November 13, 2009 Reply

    I have not turned 50 yet but many of the lessons presented here are already ringing bells in my life. I liked this list a lot.

  18. Ching Ya November 17, 2009 Reply

    I gotta say this is one pleasant read! I’m a fan of self-development and Regina’s list is brilliant. Good to know before 50. I got so many favorites… heck, I love all of them! Treasure life right now, do what you love right now.. most importantly, love the present (today = gift)!

    Loved it!

  19. Trevor December 12, 2009 Reply

    #38 Read the Psalms, they cover every human emotion.
    I now find myself digging for my Bible, really curious to see how each one relates. Thanks Regina.

  20. Jacob September 22, 2010 Reply

    Very nice to read. Thanks for sharing! :)

  21. Hal November 11, 2010 Reply

    Thank you Regina. This was a good morning read for me;]
    The past is the past, don’t dwell on it.
    The future is unknown, don’t stress on it.
    Today is a gift, this is why we call it the present.
    Be in the here and now.
    Love to all. Continue to grow
    Be healthy, wealthy and wise….

  22. Ilham June 4, 2012 Reply

    THANK YOU for this moving list! i love you guys on this site.

  23. Ramirez July 5, 2012 Reply

    What an amazing list!! Here’s one for you: never justify your own existence by minimizing that of others!

  24. Peter January 17, 2013 Reply

    Sorry I don’t agree with some of the points, But thank you for doing something positive!

  25. Michele hellmann February 19, 2013 Reply

    When you realize you have made a mistake, admit it, make amends and if possible set it right/try again. It is the clearest path out.

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