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Kalyn's Kitchen

Sixty Things I’ve learned in Sixty Years

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Today’s my birthday, and after several weeks of mental flip-flops trying to decide just how I felt about it, I’m announcing to the internet that I’m turning 60. Even typing it makes me catch my breath a bit, even though every single person I’ve told that I was going to be 60 has looked at me in complete disbelief. For those of you who are a long ways from this age, let me warn you: sixty is like no birthday I’ve had before. Sixty is the first birthday where I’ve had to consider that my life is more than half over.

But once I got used to the idea, I’ve also spent the last few weeks thinking about what a great life I’ve had, with so many experiences to be grateful for. Life continues to throw new things my way, and I love the new things I’m learning now. Even at the ripe new-to-me age of sixty, life is very, very good. And since I know there’s a pretty good possibility that most of you reading this are younger than sixty, I thought it might be fun to share a few things I’ve learned along the way. In no particular order, here’s my list of sixty things I’ve learned.

And blogging is most fun when it’s a conversation, so if you feel like leaving a comment, I’d love to hear something you’ve learned in your own life.

Kalyn’s List of Sixty Things I’ve Learned in Sixty Years

  1. The book is almost always better than the movie.
  2. Growing your own vegetables is definitely worth the work.
  3. Older people really are often wiser, but once in a while you meet a very wise young person.
  4. When you’re buying food, expensive brands usually taste better than cheaper ones.
  5. It’s easier to stay organized than to deal with the consequences of not being organized.
  6. Falling in love is a lot easier than staying in love.
  7. Remodeling always costs twice as much as you’ve planned, and takes twice as long.
  8. Spending more for good quality clothing that you love to wear is a good investment.
  9. People who make you laugh are important to have around.
  10. Intelligence is much more important than age when it comes to choosing friends.
  11. No one is thinking about you, they are all thinking about themselves. (From “Rules for Aging,” a very funny book.)
  12. Women were much happier with their looks before television was invented. (From “The Beauty Myth,” a very insightful book.)
  13. Having a huge house isn’t that great if you have to clean it yourself.
  14. Not having car payments is definitely worth driving an older car.
  15. Most kids will behave well if they have the right incentive.
  16. Understanding how someone else feels is pretty much impossible.
  17. Butter makes almost anything taste better.
  18. Whether you feel really bad or really good, it usually doesn’t last for long.
  19. It’s much easier to stay in shape than it is to get back into shape.
  20. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
  21. Knowing a lot of people can be fun, but having a few good friends is much more important.
  22. Getting up early can be just as fun as staying up late.
  23. Some of the best times of your life can be moments when you’re all by yourself.
  24. Having money in the bank is a wonderful feeling. (This is a lesson I was slow to learn!)
  25. People who can’t be honest with themselves won’t be honest with you either.
  26. If you’re more intelligent than the average person, you’ll be misunderstood a lot.
  27. Not everything about getting older is enjoyable, but it beats the alternative.
  28. Always having fresh-squeezed lemon juice in the freezer is a wonderful thing.
  29. Saving all your meat and vegetable scraps and making homemade stock is a good habit to acquire.
  30. People who are great cooks, rarely get invited to people’s houses for dinner (unless they’re lucky enough to have friends who are also great cooks.)
  31. When you lose weight, it’s a good idea to get rid of all the clothes in the larger size you don’t want to return to.
  32. Most people don’t really notice whether or not your fingernails are done.
  33. When the day finally comes for your hair appointment, your hair will look better than it has for weeks.
  34. It really is possible to become great friends with your brothers and sisters.
  35. It’s much easier to criticize the schools than it is to fix them.
  36. If you’re not lucky enough to have children of your own, being around other people’s kids can be good enough.
  37. Most every problem will seem less serious after a few days have gone by.
  38. Most adults have very little idea what the job of a grade school teacher is like.
  39. If you have bad news to deliver, the only fair way is to do it in person.
  40. Flowers can make even the worst day seem a lot better.
  41. Growing your own herbs is one of the best things you can do to become a better cook.
  42. Price has little if anything to do with the quality of restaurant food.
  43. In strange cities when you aren’t sure where you are, a taxi is never too expensive.
  44. Nothing improves a child’s hearing as much as praise. (From “Rules for Teaching.”)
  45. Your best friends are the ones who’ll tell you what you need to know but can’t see because you’re too close to the situation.
  46. Unless it’s pretty outrageous, most people never notice what you’re wearing.
  47. You’ll never get fat by drinking too much water.
  48. Most any vegetable tastes great if it’s tossed with a bit of olive oil, some herbs, and roasted at high heat.
  49. Don’t buy tomatoes from the store unless they have that fresh tomato smell. (And even then, they are rarely that good.)
  50. Doing as much good as you can is like putting emotional money in the bank.
  51. Shoes that aren’t comfortable are never a good purchase, even when they’re on sale.
  52. When you’re on vacation, sometimes it’s better to buy postcards of the scenery than to spend lots of time trying to get good photos.
  53. People who talk about other people to you are probably talking about you to other people. (I do admire people who never gossip, but it’s a trait I’m still working on acquiring.)
  54. Pretty much everyone’s face looks more attractive when they’re smiling.
  55. You can catch a lot more flies with honey than you can with vinegar. (Favorite saying of my mother who died in 1998.)
  56. Words actually can hurt a lot more than sticks and stones.
  57. Cards that come in the mail are more fun than e-cards any day.
  58. Often it’s better not to say what you really think.
  59. Even people who are very intelligent sometimes do things that are truly stupid.
  60. Nobody knows everything, and the longer you live, the more things there are that you know absolutely nothing about.
Thanks for reading all the way through the list! Here’s looking forward to at least forty more years, with a lot more recipes and good dinners to come!
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    145 Comments on “Sixty Things I’ve learned in Sixty Years”

  1. Number 5 on your list is so true! Now that I am 75, I have been thinking a lot about memory and how much easier it if to forget things now that it used to be (says one once known for her memory…). I’ve begun a campaign to fight the ever growing forgetfulness. First, I am following my husband’s habit of creating a check list of chores to be done each morning. The hope is that once I get a good habit of remembering launched, things done daily will be more or less automatic…including the habit of remembering to actually use the check list.

    Next, I am recording repetitive things with a variety of schedules in a note book which will include weekly, monthly, and annual tasks (like getting out the Christmas decorations and hanging the wreath on the front door, or like getting the gutters cleaned, or getting an eye examination each year, or putting out the garbage can each Thursday). Getting this list organized and easy to use will take me quite a while…but it will be good practice in planning, using my computer skills, and staying out of trouble. I think it will be valuable to me as I age and to relatives, friends, and caretakers.

    I am also organizing my house so that it will be easy for me to care for it, easy to find things(!). I will record the various providers of services that we use along with telephone numbers and any comments that will be helpful to have handy.

    I think this whole process will be good for me – a challenging project with a clear purpose, a benefit to those who will take care of me someday, It also lets me pass along things to those who will enjoy them.

    Thanks for the list and for all the recipes!

  2. I am 71 and loved your list

  3. Kalyn,

    I know this is quite a few years late. But, I absolutely love your list. While I am in my mid forties, I am trying to live my life to be appreciative of every single year I have on this earth. I am going to hand write my own list in my journal and add to it every time I learn something noteworthy. You are a great inspiration to people of all ages! Thank you for much for what you do to educate, inform and most importantly entertain us! I am so glad to know there is someone out there that has many of the same feelings that I do, I am sure I'm not alone in that sentiment. xoxoxo