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JULY 2009

Ninety Year Old Lessons

By Regina Brett, Cleveland

 

Forwarded by Magdalena Metzger

 

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 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. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ''In five years, will this matter?".
26. Always choose life.
27. Forgive everyone everything.
28. What other people think of you is none of your business.
29. Time heals almost everything. Give time, time.
30. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
31. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
32. Believe in miracles.
33. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
34. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
35. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
36. Your children get only one childhood.
37. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
38. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
39. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
40. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
41. The best is yet to come.
42. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
43. Yield.
44. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

45. Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.  

 

 

 

Regina Brett

http://www.reginabrett.com/documents/ReginaBrettBio.pdf 

 

 

Biography

     Regina Brett is a metro columnist at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. The PD is the largest

newspaper in Ohio and one of the top 20 newspapers in the country with a Sunday circulation

of 400,000 and a readership of over 1 million.

     An award-winning columnist, Regina was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in both

2008 and 2009. Her columns are tucked in wallets, pressed in Bibles and stuck under refrigerator

magnets all over Ohio. They are also forwarded all over the country in email forwards.

     Regina also hosts her own radio program on Cleveland’s local NPR affiliate, WCPN-FM 90.3.

The hour-long show airs every Friday at 9:05 a.m. and is available live on the Internet.

     Regina won the prestigious National Headliner Award for columns she wrote about being

diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. During her chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she

shared extensively and candidly about her experience. The award put her in the great company

of past Headliner recipients, which include Mitch Albom, Anna Quindlen, Dave Barry, Leonard

Pitts and Carl Hiaasen.

     Ten years later, Regina still gets requests for reprints of those columns from women newly

diagnosed with cancer. As a cancer survivor, she is bombarded with requests to speak about the

lessons cancer taught her, many of which are in the book.

     Regina is a past president of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

REGINA BRETT - MEDIA APPEARANCES

     Regina has appeared scores of times on local television news shows and she has been interviewed 

often on local radio programs. 

She has also hosted her own weekly radio show on NPR affiliate in Cleveland, WCPN-FM 90.3 since 2006.

REGINA BRETT - TEACHER

     Regina has taught feature writing and news writing at the University of Akron. She has also

been a guest lecturer at John Carroll University, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland

State University, Kent State University and Ursuline College.

REGINA BRETT – WRITER

     Regina has been writing professionally since 1986, when she covered city hall for The Lorain

Journal. She then moved to The Beacon Journal in Akron, Ohio where she covered business

news, social services, breaking news. She also wrote nearly 30 magazine stories for The

Beacon's Sunday magazine.

     Regina became a thrice-weekly metro columnist for the Beacon Journal in 1994, moving to The

Plain Dealer in 2000. Her columns appear on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Over her entire

career, she’s written nearly 2,000 newspaper columns.

     Not content to interview herself, Regina is often out on the street, grabbing local stories with

appeal to narrow demographics, turning them into compelling stories with universal appeal.

Some of her columns move government policy; some move men to cry; and all move many

readers to consider her a must-read.

     Regina’s column focuses on the issues of every day life. Sometimes touching, often funny and

always provocative, Regina's columns touch people where they truly live.

     When she wrote about her experience with breast cancer, she received hundreds of emails, calls

and letters. The columns were circulated around the world. She still receives hundreds of

responses when she writes about breast cancer.

REGINA BRETT – AWARD WINNER **

     Regina was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in both 2008 and 2009. In

making their final awards and decisions this year, the Pulitzer jurists said this about Regina:

“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.” Her nominated columns can

be found at www.cleveland.com/brett.

     She’s won two two first place National Headliner Awards, one for columns about her

experience with breast cancer; the other detailing her family history (“The Inheritance”) with

the same subject. She also won a 2nd place Headliner Award for a series of stories about the

"Hicks Babies," a national story about people who were sold as babies in a black market

operation at the Hicks Clinic in Georgia to adoptive parents in Ohio the late 1950's. After

Regina broke the story, it ran in newspapers across the country, prompting calls from 60 Minutes,

Dateline NBC, the BBC and scores of other media outlets.

     Regina won the prestigious Batten Medal in 1999, awarded by Knight-Ridder for lifetime

achievement. The award is given to those who embody understanding, fairness, courage and a

deep concern for the underdog. In addition, Regina was a finalist for another Batten Medal in

2009, this time for her body of work last year, including columns on open discovery and

Cleveland police officer Jim Simone and her series on passing the breast cancer gene on to her

daughter.

     It was recently announced that The American Bar Association will award Regina the

organization's Silver Gavel award for her columns on open discovery. This particular award is

given to media professionals who help foster the public's understanding of the law and legal

system. The award to Regina was based numerous columns about how the restriction of open

discovery rules, where prosecutors share police reports and records with defense attorneys,

affected criminal cases in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

     She also won a humor writing award from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.

Regina has received numerous state and local awards. The recipient of two Awards of

Achievement from Northern Ohio Live, the magazine said that “Regina’s column is the heart” of

the paper and “represents the soul” of the community.

     In 2009, Regina received “Best Columnist in Ohio” from the Associated Press of Ohio. In 2003,

both The Press Club of Cleveland and The Society for Professional Journalists gave Regina their

“Best Columnist in Ohio” award. The latter said, “Regina Brett does what not enough local

columnists are doing these days. With the righteous indignation of the muckrakers of old, she

gives voice to the local issues and people who need it most. A good local columnist should be the

conscience of a community. Regina Brett succeeds."

REGINA BRETT - EDUCATION

     Regina has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University and a master’s degree

in religious studies from John Carroll University.

REGINA BRETT - PERSONAL

     Before her writing career, Regina worked as a waitress, emergency medical technician,

alcoholism counselor, traffic court clerk and legal secretary. She is married and has a daughter

and two stepsons. She lives in Cleveland.

REGINA BRETT - ACCESS

     Regina can be reached at her Plain Dealer office (216-999-6327). Her email is rbrett@plaind.com

Both current and archived columns can be found on the Internet at www.cleveland.com/brett  and

at www.reginabrett.com

     Regina’s radio program can be heard every Friday from 9:05 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. To listen over the

internet, please click here: http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcpn/ppr/index.shtml

     Archived podcasts of all of her Friday morning programs can be heard here:

2006 programs: http://www.wcpn.org/soi/2006/index.html

2007 programs: http://www.wcpn.org/soi/2007/index.html

2008 programs: http://www.wcpn.org/soi/2008/index.html

2009 programs: http://www.wcpn.org/soi/2009/index.html

     Regina’s radio programs are also now available free at the iTunes Store.

 

Awards for Regina Brett

 

 

Pulitzer Prize

 

Award for Commentary

Finalist

2008

Award for Commentary

Finalist

2009
 

Batten Medal

 
Lifetime Achievement

 

1999
Body of Work in 2008

Finalist

2009
 

National Headliner Award

 
Feature Column

1st Place

2009
Feature Column

1st Place

1999
Feature Writing

2nd Place

1998
 

Northern Ohio Live Magazine - Award of Achievement

 
Media (column writing)

Honorable Mention

1997
Writing

Finalist

1998
 

National Society of Newspaper Columnists

 
Humor Writing

1st Place

1996
 

Ohio Associated Press

 
Best Columnist in Ohio

1st Place

2009
Community Service Writing

3rd Place

2009
Column Writing

2nd Place

2007
Column Writing

2nd Place

2003
Column Writing

1st Place

2000
Column Writing

1st Place

1998
Column Writing

3rd Place

1995
Column Writing

1st Place

1991
Column Writing

1st Place

1987
 

The Press Club of Cleveland

 
Column Writing – Best in Ohio

1st Place

2009
Column Writing – Best in Ohio

1st Place

2003
Feature Writing

1st Place

1998
Column Writing

2nd Place

1996
Magazine Human Interest Reporting

2nd Place

1993
Magazine General Reporting

1st Place

1992
Magazine Public Service Reporting

2nd Place

1992
Newspaper Feature Writing

1st Place

1991
Magazine Human Interest

1st Place

1991
Magazine General Reporting

1st Place

1990
Magazine Human Interest

2nd Place

1989
Business Writing

1st Place

1987
 

Society of Professional Journalists

 
Best Columnist in Ohio

1st Place

2003
Best Human Interest

2nd Place

1998
Best Coverage of Children’s Issues

2nd Place

1998
 

Miscellaneous

 
Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association

Liberty Award

(for Regina’s efforts to bring Open Discovery to Ohio)

2009
Irish American Archives Society of N.E. Ohio

Walk of Life Award

2008

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