Roy Exum: No, Regina Isn’t 90

Monday, July 7, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

One of my dear Internet friends sent me a beautiful article that claimed it was written by a 90-year-old woman named Regina Brett and submitted to the editors of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer newspaper in Ohio. But that’s not exactly true. Regina is hardly some old crone who sucks the chocolate off peanut M&Ms that are placed on a crocheted lace doily. No, this very talented lady who is close to my age and just so happens to be one of the best columnists in the Midwest.

She’s a true character. She has overcome breast cancer, raised a child as a single parent and written some dandy books, “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons For Life’s Little Detours” and “Be The Miracle: 50 Lessons For Making The Impossible Possible.” She’s won a lot of awards, too, claiming, among other things, “Growing old beats the alternative. Dying young only looks good in the movies.”

But as sometimes happens to those of us in this business, somebody found a picture of a real old lady, pasted it with the famous story of “45 Life Lessons” that Regina originally wrote back in 2006, and it has been sent to hundreds of times as a result. Her list is one of my favorite columns so allow me to share what I have gotten in four emails in the past few weeks:

* * *

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 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. 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 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."

* * *

The purported emails also state: “It is 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 we chose for ourselves.”

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