Apfel, Brett and me…

Recently on my Facebook news feed, this remarkable list came through. It was written by Regina Brett, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio, whose website I absolutely recommend. http://www.reginabrett.com/life_lessons.php


For some obscure reason, the inimitable Iris Apfel’s face was attached to the post and yet I am not convinced the two are connected. That said, Iris Apfel could well have said exactly these things.

Anyway, back to Ms. Brett. This is what she said in the post:

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 42 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolled over to 50 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 – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

10. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

11. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

12. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it…

14 Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

15. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

16. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

17. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

21. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

22. The most important sex organ is the brain.

23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

25. Always choose life.

26. Forgive but don’t forget.

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

28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

31. Believe in miracles.

32. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

33. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

34. Your children get only one childhood.

35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

39. The best is yet to come…

40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

41. Yield.

42. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”


I tried to decide which of all the points I felt was my ‘lightbulb moment (to quote Oprah) but it was quite simply too hard. Every one of the 42 points has complete relevance, some more serious than others.


You may ask what this has to do with Iris. Well because 21 and 40 were made for her! Her exotic confidence is something I yearn for as I GROW OLDER! As many of my readers know, I don’t often wear black, I love wearing colour, but I am also a devotee of the neutral palette in clothing and interiors. Which makes my fascination with her style quite something! Did you know that at her premium age, she was signed by MAC Cosmetics? The red lipstick she wears so well sold out!


Read more about this inspiring nongenarian: