Friday, 12 June 2009

Life's Lessons

You may well of heard of Regina Brett, "the 90 year old of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland Ohio" and author of "45 Life Lessons & 5 To Grow On".

Take a look at the photo on your left, that's her, looking good for a 90 year old, how many of us wish we could look that great at the age we are now, never mind at 90. That's because Regina isn't 90.

I first came across her when I got an e-mail way back in 2007, about the life's lessons, tbh, I didn't take much notice, but every now and then "Life's Lessons" would pop up, in some e-mail or another and I was beginning to get bored of it all, it sort of felt like spam, you know how annoying that can be.

Yesterday, I was going through my list of blogs I follow, I do follow a lot, but mostly privately, anyway I got to Ben's Blog
I like Ben's Blog, I just wish he'd blog a bit more, as he has some very sensible things to say.
If you read this Ben, please blog more, people will like you.

Anyway, up popped Regina's Life Lessons on Ben's blog, it's almost as if the cosmos wants me to take this list about life far more seriously, I have after all come across it so regularly I can now quote a fair amount of it, I have nothing against the list. I actually think it's well written and very insightful. It's certainly given me food for thought.

So after tripping over the list so many times, curiosity got the better of me and I thought I would try to find out more about the author, one tiny Google search later and I had discovered that while the list is very very real, that Regina Brett does exist, she isn't 90 years old and in fact the Life's Lessons, has taken on a whole inter-net life of it's own travelling the World by cyber-space.

Suddenly Regina has gained 40years of life and has e-mails flooding in from around the World asking her if it really is her in the photo, as she looks amazing for 90.
Regina is a serious journalist who was also nominated for The 2009Pulizter Prize For Journalism
I have spent the day reading her column, I like this woman, she is the kind of woman I would want to have coffee with get to know better, to have as a girlfriend. She speaks openly, honestly, while all the time telling you simply how it is. Regina speaks her mind, but not in a patronizing way or with that sort of superior manner some journalist use, but rather straight from the heart, saying things that many of us only think or say amongst close family & friends for fear of being judged too harshly and considered heartless or racist.

However, dispite her serious reporting, her compassion and fabulous column at The Plain Deer, Cleveland, Ohio. I have a feeling that she will be most famous for being the 90 year old who wrote Life's Lessons. Just as well she seems to be blessed with sense of humour about it, after all there she is this wonderful,`serious, Pulitzer Prize nominee, most famous for being a 90 year old.

Delving in a bit deeper I found this Article by Regina with the list of Life's Lessons, which led me on to this Article
which gives those of us interested an update.


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 rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:

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 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. 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. 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. Overprepare, 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.

3 Have's

Today, there are three kinds of people: the have's, the have-not's, and the have-not-paid-for-what-they-have's.
~Earl Wilson

Anandha Subha.

I just got this sent to me, along with an e-mail in response to my previous article, can't help wanting to clap and cheer. I think it sums up my previous article perfectly.

I have on worries with paying taxes to help people who really do need a hand, but for crying out loud, the woman uses every excuse under the sun to get away with 20 years of claiming benefit.

At any point in her 20 year long career of scrounging, she could have took a job.
I have flipped burgers, cleaned toilets, worked in a cheese factory where every morning I was psychically sick from the smell of all those cheese smells mixing together, I have worked nights and at one point had 3 jobs outside of the home and still was a home worker stuffing envelopes and making cushion covers. Eventually ending up earning my living on building sites, surrounded by men and working as hard as they did. Now I run a small business from home.

I had nothing but sheer determination not to sink into hell dragging my innocent kids with me, life wasn't easy and in many ways still isn't.

I have no pension, something that troubles me and my only asset in life is my house, which has dropped in price so much it was in free fall at one point.

I could easily have done what she and so many other people have done, but while things have at times been almost too much to cope with, I felt I owed it to my children to at least try and do better than a hand out and a sink estate.

Who Said You Could Have A Free Ride.

It's very easy to be caught in a cycle of unemployment, depression, and unsettled housing, particularly in the face of unsympathetic bureaucracy, as Jane Canning can attest

Jane Canning

Jane Canning: 'My recent job centre interviews have been extremely traumatic, and brought back all the feelings of hopelessness and despair of the 70s and 80s'

I am a single mother and I suffer from depression. I haven't worked since the 1980s. I have been on income support for 20 years, but as a result of the reform to welfare benefits, I have just been moved to jobseeker's allowance. This has caused me even more financial hardship and made my depression worse.

Last week, I discovered I have not received a single payment of jobseeker's allowance since 12 February. If it hadn't been for a small sum of disturbance money received from my last dreadful housing situation, I would actually be starving by now.

I feel lethargic and alienated. It's as though we have returned to the 70s and 80s situation – the signing-on places may have been spruced up a bit but the old atmosphere has crept back. The jobs that pay a reasonable living wage, the ones that won't cause more problems than they solve, are few and far between. They are mainly for those with experience.

I have been summoned to the job centre a number of times over the past couple of years in order to "prepare" me for being put back on the job market, accompanied by an "attend or lose your benefits'" ultimatum, directed at single parents whose kids have reached a certain age.

I'm not someone who has never worked. Up to my mid-20s, from the age of 15, I had several jobs, when employment was plentiful, but decided to get an education, taking O-levels one year, A-levels the next, then a combined honours degree in French and sociology, with a year of philosophy, completing this in 1988, aged 34. Expecting my degree to open up a whole new future was a big mistake. Graduate unemployment was rising fast and ageism was rife, especially in the accountancy profession I was applying for. I ended up lowering my sights and looking for more menial work. I could have papered the wall with rejection notices from that period.

I took a number of those back-to-work courses, which had the main purpose of doctoring unemployment figures to make successive governments look good. Finally, rather than be out of work, I took a job at the end of the 80s, as a temp, which I was wrongly advised to accept by the housing benefit office. This led to me being evicted in 1989 for earning less money for a 40-hour week than I had been on benefits, rendering me unable to pay the poll tax on the private flat I had escaped to from domestic violence.

My recent job centre interviews have been extremely traumatic, and brought back all the feelings of hopelessness and despair of the 70s and 80s. At the time of my interview in January I was due to attend the latest government conference on anti-social behaviour and was invited to train for the voluntary position of community crimefighter – ironic if the government so wants to return me to paid employment. I was made to feel that all my voluntary efforts, and campaigning, have been without value, and that I am a burden on the taxpayer (which I never asked to be in the first place). If I wanted to continue to take voluntary positions I should sign off and starve. I pointed out that society is as dependent on its voluntary workforce as on its paid one and without volunteers, the taxpayer would be paying more for the services they carry out.

I was finally rehoused at the end of 2007 on the grounds of harrassment. I am 54 and have a decent home for the first time in years. It's the first decent house my youngest son, 15, has ever known. If I take paid employment now, and my health fails, I might not have been working long enough to be entitled to sick pay, and am terrified of losing my home again.

The single parent ends up the scapegoat for all society's ills and this is unfair. I have three highly accomplished children. The real problem is in housing. Single parents tend to be housed on sink estates among the criminal element of society, thereby becoming easy prey to those around.

I do understand the anger felt by the employed at working for not much more than you get on benefits. I've been in that situation too once. But this initiative is not going to hit the scroungers as they know the system far better than the victims of unemployment.

I have learned to deal with my depression myself, without tablets, resulting in me having a rather eccentric lifestyle. I am borderline agoraphobic so won't leave the house unless absolutely necessary. I am a virtual recluse, in fact who must, it seems, spend the rest of my days applying for jobs I have no chance of getting, and reporting every two weeks to verify my incompetence not only to third parties, but to myself. On a scale of one to 10, my confidence level is now zero. I feel I am unemployable, rather than just unemployed.

I have a number of questions still outstanding:

• Why is my claim being dealt with by three different job centres?

• Why do I have to sign on almost three miles away, when there is another job centre on my doorstep?

• Why can I not claim bus fares back for this, when we are receiving what is considered to be the minimum amount to live on, yet those fares amount to £6.40 per month?

• I was told I cannot claim bus fares as I am category P and not category T. What are these categories?

• Why is voluntary work considered inappropriate when it could actually be a real solution for the jobless?

• Why, when my son's school situation required me to be absent for a week, was I made to sign copies of a holiday form, even though I insisted it was not a holiday? • Why don't the government have a public thinktank to look into this, instead of just bringing out new measures which have not been properly thought out?

• And why can't they just say "Here's a job. Start tomorrow on a trial basis" instead of putting us through hell? If these jobs really existed they would be able to do that and it would be more humane than what they

Money Tree

Oh Dear Lord can I please have one of these, I promise to not spend all the money on shoes!!!!!!
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