90 Years Worth of Wisdom

I spent a good part of my Christmas holiday nibbling cookies and enjoying the company of my two 89-year-old grandmas. Grandma Von is still living in the house where my dad grew up, making The World’s Greatest Mashed Potatoes and announcing that various slacker relatives need ‘a good kick in the patoot.’

And while my grandma is not the author of these bites of wisdom, I imagine that she’d nod along with all of them, slapping her thigh and shaking her fist at the truth behind all of these, written by the incredibly wise Regina Brett.

  1. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
  2. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
  3. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
  4. Pay off your credit cards every month.
  5. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
  6. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  7. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
  8. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
  9. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.
  10. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
  11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
  12. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  13. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
  14. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
  15. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
  16. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
  17. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
  18. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion, today is special.
  19. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  20. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
  21. The most important sex organ is the brain.
  22. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
  23. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’
  24. Always choose life.
  25. Forgive everyone everything.
  26. What other people think of you is none of your business.
  27. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
  28. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  29. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
  30. Believe in miracles.
  31. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
  32. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.
  33. Your children get only one childhood.
  34. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
  35. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
  36. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
  37. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
  38. The best is yet to come.
  39. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  40. Yield.
  41. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.What wisdom did your grandparents pass along?
    I learned: ‘this too shall pass’ and that I should really brush my hair



I am honestly trying to work on 25 and finding it very difficult. Trying counts though, right? Right?



These are all things I really took to heart. Great list. I don't get to see my grandparents as often as I would like but I suppose what I have learned from my Grandpa is not to over do it when it comes to drinking, and from my Grandma…hmm well don't marry someone like my Grandpa. lol

Good Post πŸ™‚


I love this list – inspirational – I'm going to print it out and put it on my wall nxt to my yes and yes calendar! I'm trying to make a little happy/inspiring corner in my flat to look at when I need a boost! Love the banksy pic too!


Great list! Never knew by grandparents but my dad has a saying about The First Law of Holes: when you're in one, stop digging. (Second Law of Holes is throw away the shovel.)

xo, Alexi

my grandmother's pretty young for being a grandmother, but i consider her to be pretty wise. she tells me to never take things too seriously, and she keeps reminding me that now because i've got two jobs on top of school, and i think she worries that i work too much. but even in high school, when i was having boy problems, she understood the stuff i was going through and kept encouraging me to move on with stuff and just be happy. it's just about the most eternally true advise. i love the ones you posted, though, haha


Julia Pearce

This was truly inspiring :] I love grandparents. They are the coolest! I go over to my Grandma's every friday to clean her house and take her to the store or whatever else she may need, and she has taught me SO many things. Some of my favorite lessons she has taught me is to…

1. Slow down. Enjoy each moment while you have it.
2. Love unconditionally.
3. Feed the birds.
4. Smell the roses.
5. Let people know you care, because you never know when it will be too late.

Julia @ http://juliamaypearce.blogspot.com


This is so inspiring. I was always told from my mum and aunts that my grandmother is wise, as are all grandmothers. I think all women in their experienced ages are wonder women.. If we could only see what their eyes have seen. Thank-you for sharing this!


My grandparents died before I was old enough for them to really teach me anything. Still, I've had some of their advice passed on through my parents I guess.


When my granddaddy died we all got copies of his favorite poem, which I will share with you.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, remembering what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. If you compare yourself with others, you may becomes vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your hopes and dreams. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune, but do no distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and stars; you have a right to be here. Whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Be yourself.


My great-grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide, and despite having very good reason, she never let it get her down. Her advice to everyone coming to her with their problems was this: "I survived a genocide. You can get through this."

Hip Hip Gin Gin

My grandfather was very wise in many areas one of which was money. He used to say "we are not rich enough to buy cheap crap". Meaning that instead of getting the instant gratification of say a cheap pair of shoes that will break after two days and force you to spend more money on a replacement, save up for a quality pair that will last years. That advice has always served me well, and not just in the realm of shopping!


I love all of these, but this one especially spoke to me: 35. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

There are too many days now that I don't get outside daily, and that needs to change.

Thanks for posting these, Sarah!

Elisa Mary

Oh my word, I absolutely LOVE these! I tried to pick favorites, but I couldn't. I just got some great advice from my "Grandma" (actually my Great-Aunt) today. In talking about boys and what to do when they're not interested, she said, "If you miss the first trolley, just wait and take the next one."

Emily G.

I learned from my grandparents that more money does not equal more happiness, and to live my life in the moment.

Great list. I love number 29. (:


I don't know if it originally came from a grandparent (I don't really remember mine!) but my mum always says "God has a plan for everyone." Bascially, "everything happens for a reason." And that's how I live my life ^^


The timing of this post is amazing because my wonderful Grandma died today. They are wonderful women, full of wisdom and, certainly in my case, wit.


I had to laugh a bit when I read this! I have been trying to convince a few of my friends about some of them and now I can go, "See, it's not just me who thinks these things!" Yeah for Grandmas, Regina Brett and life!


Back when the tv stations would show the lottery draws, my grandparents were on the show to push the buttons to launch the lotto numbers. They were there to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The host says, to them, "WOW" 50 years, that's remarkable, how to do you do that in this day and age with divorce rates so high…???"

My grandmothers reply….well you just do, that's all.



All the stuff in this list is somewhat in tune with my own present mindset. I'm from a country that is free but tied down to too much tradition and criticism…and this list helps me feel good about myself.

If you don't mind, may I repost this in my FB? I think my friends need this…I will link your blog as well so they can check it out.

With much love.

raeleigh/big sky girl

hi sarah! i just started reading you even though i've been enjoying my calendar all month (my bff and i got them for each other for christmas!). everyone is very serious in this post and i wanted to share some pretty funny stuff my Grampa taught me — and a couple serious ones too:

1. It takes a big dog to backflush a fire hydrant.
2. it takes a bigger dog to whip him.
3. don't be writing checks with your mouth that your ass can't cash.
4. my friend tina's grampa has one similar to 3: best not let your battleship mouth over-ride your rowboat ass.
5. when my dad would drink in high school and get mouthy, Grampa would say "boy, your mouth don't much care what happens to the rest of your face, does it?

always good things to keep in mind, but the most important is this: if God will bring you to it, God will bring you through it.

thanks for all the wonderful posts!


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