Try this: Succinctly describe (without Googling it!) the linear pair theorem. Or, to the nearest mile, list the circumference, radius, and volume of the moon. Stumped? And yet at one time, committing facts such as these to memory was of paramount importance, keeping us up into the wee hours of the morning as we studied and studied and studied some more for final exams.
As a septuagenarian, I’ve certainly learned my share of lessons, and I don’t need to tell you that the ones that stick are the experiential ones. How far different it is to study the effects of wasp serum to humans compared to stepping, barefooted, into a nest of them!
And in between those two extremes, I’m discovering the joy in providing anecdotal education to my grandchildren, who can’t imagine the Internet-less, microwave-less, smartphone-less world I somehow muddled through for so many years. How on earth did we ever survive without instant everything?
Along those lines, I thought I’d share some of the top life lessons learned according to Regina Brett, now in her 90s. See if you agree:
- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
- When in doubt, just take the next small step.
- You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
- Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
- Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
- Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
- However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
And perhaps my favorite:
- Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
You can find Regina’s whole list of 50 lessons here. Or think back on the life lessons that have most impacted you, and create your own list. It’s never too late to learn something new – and to pass it on.