PaperBackSwap Blog


Life Lessons

Dear Members,

I read something the other day that stopped me and really made me think. You’ve probably run across it on the Internet yourself. Just a simple sentence: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back. What a powerful statement. It says: We’re not so different from each other - we all have troubles.  Even those folks who seem like everything’s perfect have something worrying them. It also says: Be kind. You don’t know what’s troubling someone else, and a little patience, not to mention a smile, can go such a long way. It says: Consider others.  Even though it’s human nature to be self-centered, taking a break from it can really lighten life’s burdens.

I kept thinking about that sentence, and I decided to look up its origin. I figured it might be one of those anonymous sayings without a known author, so I was happily surprised to discover that’s not the case. It’s just one of 50 “Life Lessons” penned by Regina Brett in a column she wrote for the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2006. The whole list is really worth a read!  Each one of you will probably find your own favorite there.

Stumbling across something like that list reminds me how the Internet has benefited us all. Not just because we can shop more easily now, or get movies on demand, or video chat with faraway loved ones. Those are wonderful innovations, indeed – but simpler, deeper changes abound. A column in a local paper can reach much farther than it ever could in the days before the Internet. A book that would have been read once and then stayed neglected on a bookshelf can now travel around the country sharing its story with reader after reader. Yes, there were many great things about the world before it went online – and those things don’t need to be lost in the face of progress. We can perpetuate them: we can write a letter now and then instead of an email. We can play Monopoly or Crazy Eights on a rainy day, without a screen in sight.  We can lie in a hammock reading a book – a book that we’ll send along to another PaperBackSwap member when we’re done. We can blend the best of both worlds. Nothing’s stopping us!

Happy June,

Richard and
The PaperBackSwap Team

One Response to “Life Lessons”

  1. Sandypo says:

    That quote is not original to Regina Brett. It’s an old Yiddish proverb and has been around a lot longer than 2006. The way I’ve always heard it is: “If everyone threw there problems in a circle, you would take back your own.” I’ve quoted it many, many times. It is SO true. We know how to cope with the problems we are coping with — other people’s seem even more insurmountable. Also known as rationalization, I think.

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