45 Life Lessons to Celebrate Growing Older

I received these in an email from someone who’d recently turned forty-five. Written by columnist Regina Brett, they cried out to be passed on.

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 family 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 pay check.

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 and everything.

29.     What other people think of you is none of your business.

30.     Time heals almost everything.  Give it 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.


Any favourites?


  1. Number of years is meaningless in comparison to state of health…

    ” Time heals almost everything. Give it time.”

    Very perceptive and thoughtful of you to include “almost” in that sentence. Starting my sixteenth year of an incurable progressive rare disease. You start to notice that maybe ninety percent of human wisdom seems to be variations of “This too shall pass.” When it doesn’t and it’s major, you have to dig deep.

  2. Absolutely wonderful. I find that with the passage of time, I know myself more and love myself more. I never would want to go back to my twenties even if they paid me to do so. Wisdom is earned and it is worth celebrating. Those 45 points are examples of that. 🙂

    Nadia – Happy Lotus´s last blog post..Quack, Quack, Quack

  3. I had two that really called out to me and said, “Randi! Pay attention!”
    The third was a great reminder for me.

    37. Your children get only one childhood.
    Too often I plan my day around what *I* need to get done, forgetting there’s a little boy who shares my space who just might like to do something else with his day. His childhood charts his course for who he is as an adult so I need to be mindful that I am considerate of his needs too.

    39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
    Ever since school got out in May, I have been busy trying to de-clutter, unpack from our move in December, and organize. There are days that go by where I will realize that I never once stepped foot outdoors. Today I tended my grandson–eight whole weeks old!– and it wasn’t until he was picked up that I stepped outside for the first time. It was cool, sunny and breezy and I wondered what kept me in the whole day. It was beautiful. Oh yeah, cleaning.

    40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
    This is one lesson that I learned, gratefully, a long time ago. I met a lady who had just moved into our city. She was gorgeous, had five beautiful children, and a very handsome attentive husband. They lived in an upscale home and I will admit I was more than a little jealous. I spent many an evening wondering why all the good things happened to her, while I was a single mom, working several jobs, living in a run-down apartment. It wasn’t until we became friends that I learned her secrets. She caught her mother having an affair and after no progress was the one selected by the family to tell her father. She watched her parents suffer a bitter divorce. Her brother committed suicide. There were many other hardships she suffered, none of which I would have traded for my own problems. She had paid her dues. My own problems suited me just fine after that.

    Randi´s last blog post..The Story You Won’t Hear

  4. I am coming back to read this tomorrow…or Friday…I am trying to rid myself of some cold germ and feel I must have a sweat bath/great sleep….This looks so good and I can not focus…

    I will be back

    Patricia´s last blog post..There’s a place For Me

  5. @Positively Present/Dani,
    Isn’t that wonderful – here am I in Scotland being sent the same message from the universe! Know what I love about this one, though? I bet different sections spoke to both of us to send us the lessons or reminders we needed!

    Nice to meet you! I didn’t write these; I just thought they’d be a resource that might be useful for our community. We have lots of silent readers as well as interesting commenters so I like to see what speaks to different people. Your comment will perfectly illustrate #40 for some people. How we choose to deal with what life deals out is the true definition of our character. I hope your writing inspires lots of people.

    Thank you! One of the reasons I enjoyed this is because I realised just how many life lessons we learn and absorb as we grow older, each one with its own pain, pleasure or back story attached. If I got the chance to travel in a time machine, just for a wee trip back and not to change anything, I’d only do it on the condition that I could take my current brain and all its ‘files’ with me!

    Thank you! One of the reasons his blog is such an undisciplined mess is that whenever I come across something that speaks to me, I’m like a kid blurting it all out at once; it’s nice to know that it reaches all kinds of folk, of different ages and from different countries.

    I’m dripping with a cold at the moment, too. I don’t know about you, but colds make me more ‘miserable’ than serious illnesses I’ve had. I think it’s the inevitable grumpy, snotty misery of them and the fact that there’s not much can be done once you have one. Get better soon. This one’s definitely worth a second glance.

    I admire your openness, Randi. It’s always good to know that other people share similar experiences. #37 and #39 screamed out at me, too. If I ever give up blogging – and I’ve been tempted a few times – it will be because I miss my family and spending time being inspired by more than what I read and write on a screen. Do you take your wee boy out when the moon’s full, like you used to do with the girls?

  6. Hi Janice,

    I love these!

    My favorites:
    10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
    13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
    33. Believe in miracles.

    Really, they’re all great. These three stand out. The chocolate – well, resistance IS futile for me! I’m having a nice piece of dark chocolate right now. And #13 – there is just so much we can’t know looking at the surface of someone else’s life. And #33 – I love this one, it really says to believe that ALL is possible!

    This was great, thanks for sharing Janice!

    Lance´s last blog post..The Sunset Of Our Soul

  7. Janice: Sadly, no, I don’t do the full moon night anymore. The first few months after moving to this small town I quickly learned there was nothing to do. We went to the park several times in a row because that was the only thing that was open, other than the gas station. It didn’t have the same pizazz that it did while we lived in a bigger town where I got to surprise them with a new place to go every time. Maybe I just need to get more creative?

    Randi´s last blog post..The Story You Won’t Hear

  8. Great to have you visit, Lance! My own pieces are often quite long, as are my comments – I can’t help it, that’s just who I am – so I like to do patchwork posts as well, or post bits and bobs by other people that I’ve come across.

    #13 struck a chord with me, too. I’ve spent years trying to fight a judgemental streak and it’s only these last nine or ten years that I’ve been making headway, getting a balance between knowing for certain when I’m sharing someone’s journey or just assuming that I am.

  9. @Vered,
    Thank you! My boy told me tonight, very politely and courteously, that things haven’t been the same around here since I started blogging. Big changes needed , I think.

  10. Wow, what a great list.

    My favorites:
    2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
    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.
    42. The best is yet to come.
    43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
    45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

    You know, as I was rereading the list to put in this comment, I realized that these are so true. I’m definitely wearing purple today!!

    LisaNewton´s last blog post..Los Angeles Historic Walks

  11. Talk about synchronicity!

    I followed a link from a friend and was thrilled to find this same article/list by Regina Brett. I posted it at my Perspectives on Life blog on Thursday 11th June.

    Doesn’t your heart skip a beat when you discover you’re on the same wave length as someone you admire? Mine does and it did today, when I came over for a visit.

  12. Janice,
    So many of these I can relate to. ie the biggest sex organ is our brain, don’t envy others, get outside for a miracle, you’ve inspired me to make my own list. I love your writing and enjoy reading your blog. Keep up the great work!

  13. @Lisa,
    I find something different every time I read them, too! I meant to say, I think the reference to purple might be from a poem I know. I’ll hunt it out and post it.

    Positively Present said she’d found it too. Isn’t it wonderful when this kind of GOOD virus circulates the online world instead of all the negative stuff and gossip people are so keen to pass around. The friend who sent me the email forward is in England and sent it in May so it’s been touching folk all round the world since then at least! Is the lady you mention the actual author? If you know for sure, let me know and I can add a link.

    If I’d wagered who’d be the one to comment on the sex organ bit and make me smile, I’d have guessed it’d be you! So true, though, eh?! 😉 I read your wonderful list today and would have been continually adding to it if I hadn’t restrained myself!

    How about a moonlight picnic in your own garden after you’ve driven him around for a bit to disorientate him?

  14. I absolutely LOVE this! Especially, by the grace of God, I will be 45 years old this time next year. I’m bookmarking this! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    1. @Marcy,
      You’re welcome! I find something different in the list every time I look. Glad to have you visiting; I remember your gravatar from Danielle’s place.

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