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Kalyn's Kitchen

Sixty Things I’ve learned in Sixty Years


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. Happy belated birthday! I have been enjoying your blog for a few months now and since I will be 56 in a few days I can really relate to your list! Hope you keep on having a wonderful life.

  2. Love the list, I am right behind you, only kind of like a younger sister 🙂

  3. Happy belated birthday! As someone who is less than ten years behind you, I like your attitude towards turning 60! Hope your birthday was a great one.

  4. My dear Kalyn, happy belated birthday.

  5. Wonderful list! I’m going to save it. 😉

    Happy Birthday! May all your dreams CONTINUE to come true.

    Big hug and a kiss,

  6. I have tried a lot of your recipes and love them even though I don’t follow the South Beach Diet I like to eat healthy!! I want to wish you a happy birthday. I will turn 60 in April and it gives me a lot to think about. I love that you shared your list of wisdoms and I will have to come up with some of my own next spring. After being told I probably wouldn’t live past 40 when I was pregnant with my daughter 29 years ago I am thankful for every birthday!! Kathy in Montana

  7. I’ve come a little late to the party, but I do bring Happy Birthday wishes. Your list is great, especially #’s 9, 11, 13, 14, 23, 30, 33, and 34! And you can count on me for dishing up plenty of #9 for your next 40 years.

  8. Happy Birthday (belatedly) Kalyn!!

  9. I can’t believe I missed your birthday yesterday, Kalyn. I can tell from your list that, with your wonderful attitude and outlook on life, you had a great day. I love so many of the things on your list – mostly because I know from experience that they’re true. Here’s to at least 40 more years, for both of us! Happy, happy birthday, my friend.

  10. Happy Birthday Kalyn…so enjoyed reading your birthday list of 60 items. Enjoy your blog and use many of your recipes…..thanks for sharing. Best wishes for many more years.

  11. Happy Birthay, Kalyn! Excellent list. I just turned 62 and it really is “O.K.” If we keep eating healthy, delicious food, take some basic supplements, get some exercise and avoid becoming mentally lazy, we have a damned good shot at another 40 years! Blog on! Judith from Calgary, Alberta

  12. Sorry we’re a day late! We thought about you all day and hope you had a wonderful day. It sounds like you did! We love you! The Torsell’s

  13. Many happy returns to you Kalyn! Hope you had a super day!

  14. Happy B-Day! I would never have guessed you were turning 60! I love the list and love your blog. It has helped me with my weightloss! Thanks!!

  15. Happy Birthday, Kalyn, from a stranger who visits you almost every day. Thank you for your contribution to life. Z

  16. Happy Birthday! Mine is next week, I’m not far behind you. Here’s my mother’s rule for dealing with depressing or difficult times: “No matter how bad you feel, get out of bed, get dressed, and please comb your hair and put on some lipstick!” She’s been gone for many years but I still follow her advice.

  17. Happy, happy birthday. At 58 I’m not far behind and can identify with everyone of your thoughts. I would add – “Happiness depends on what happens, but joy comes from within.” – not original but one of the pluses of aging is that I don’t think twice now about saying “I don’t remember who said that” – I wish you joy!!

  18. I wish Blogger would let you put replies right after the comment because I must have been cross posting when my brother Mark wrote that wonderful comment. I think everyone can see what a wonderful family I have. I love you too Mark, Pam, Kristen, Jenn, Kara, Angee, Aly, and Janet. Hope I didn’t miss anyone!

    And the best birthday present ever: My sister Val (the mother of these cute kids made 60 handmade postcards and she and the kids wrote “60 things we love about Aunt Kalyn.” They all arrived on the exact day, and I read every one with tears in my eyes.

    Thanks to everybody for making this my best birthday so far!

  19. I agree with every single one of these except #28, and I’m sure I’ll come to see the wisdom of that one in future years (I’m 46 now). I’m printing this out for daily reference. Thanks so much for the reverse birthday present, and many happy returns of the day.

  20. Your list was really fun, interesting and right on! Lots of wisdom there. Have a Happy Birthday!

  21. What a wonderful post to share with us. Happy Birthday Kalyn!

    I’ll be turning 40 in five months and I’m already obsessing about it. Your post has inspired me to get over it!

  22. Happy Belated Birthday, Kalyn! Thanks so much for sharing your words of wisdom, they really started my day on a positive note. 🙂

  23. Happy Birthday!!! 🙂 That is an awesome list! I really enjoyed reading it and so many items on it struck home!

  24. Happy 60th Birthday Kalyn! You are an inspiration to us all!

  25. Went on this blog to wish you a Happy Birthday and, to my surprise, I discovered you are sixty. You wrote you are not sure what it means when someone says you don’t look sixty. What it means, Kalyn, is you are ageless! You seem way younger than your chronological years which is probably the exuberance, vitality and curiosity that you have. Sixty really IS the new forty with you. Now that you are at midlife, what new ventures will you be doing for the next sixty years?
    Happy Birthday
    from your friend Wanda

  26. I’m not keeping up on the comments here that well, but THANK YOU everyone. I feel so blessed to have such a great family and so many wonderful friends, both real-life and virtual. It’s been a great birthday.

  27. Happy Birthday Little big Sister!!

    It’s been a busy day so sorry I didn’t get to this sooner. I can’t believe you’re 60! You really are my hero when it comes to healthy!! Not to mention cooking. I am really quite passionate about good food. I read your blog faithfully and just wish I lived closer. I would invest in the ingredients of your choice and hire myself as a professional taster! Wow, what a great job that would be. By the way, the turkey barley soup was fantastic!!

    You have always been the big sister I could trust, confide in, bounce ideas off, speak freely to, and laugh or even cry with freely. Thank you for that. A familiar poem talks about harvesting the wheat, chaff and grain together, carefully sifting through the contents, keeping what is worth keeping and gently blowing the rest away. You have committed the last 30 years of your life to finding “what is worth keeping” in the hearts and minds of thousands of grade school children. They will continue to thank you for that tender loving care, not always in words, but in the good that they do for others, because of you. Often, when we need to put life back into perspective, it’s good to look at things through the eyes of a child.

    In the Bible, The Savior told his Discipes “Suffer the little children and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of God” My children were not actually ever taught by you but continue to be touched by you. As do I.

    Sorry if I got too personal about my sister and my friend, but I do really know what I’m talking about. After all, I married a Grade School Teacher.

    Many happy returns. Love you tons, Mark

  28. This is a beautiful post and so refreshing to know that in life, most of us are all “learning as we go.”

    My mother says “you catch more flies with honey…” also. And so did HER mother! 🙂

  29. Happy, happy birthday. The older I get, the younger people older than me are. (If that makes any sense.) Enjoy the next 60…

  30. 60 post cards! That is so fun Kalyn.
    Yes I loved Val’s poem too.
    And Rand coming by as well.
    You deserve every good thing!!

  31. Happy Birthday Aunt Kalyn! I loved your list.

  32. Happy Happy birthday to a great sister!! I really hope your day was wonderful….you deserve it.

    Thank you for all you do for me and my family. I so appreciate your wisdom, kindness, love and most of all I am grateful you are my sister.

    I love you, Tons!!

  33. Happy 60th Kalyn! I’m a fairly new visitor to your blog and truly enjoy your recipes and appetizing food photos. I also turned 60 in November and have to agree with some of your observations/life lessons listed. Funny, but at one time I always thought 60 to be sooo old. It truly is a wonderful life! And thank you for your sharing your healthy, scrumptious recipes. Best Wishes to you and may you still be blogging for many, many years!

  34. Happy 60th!! I’m about to welcome my 61st in a couple of months. I never think about being 60 and am always a little surprised when I have to tell someone my age or write it on a form. I just don’t think about it. Have a very happy birthday. Hope there’s many more to come. Jancd

  35. Hey Sis… You are the youngest 60 yr old I know!!! Happy Birthday! I love you, and thanks for all you do for all of us. You are wonderful!


  36. Happy Birthday from South Dakota! I love your list. They were all very good. But #26 and #30 are my favs. Well done and here’s to many more happy and healthy years.

  37. Happy Birthday, Kalyn! I really enjoy your blog, and particularly enjoyed this post. I hope you’ve had a terrific day! I plan to print this post out and share it with family this evening. I think they will enjoy your insights. And, I have suspected that #30 and #58 were true for some time now!

  38. Happy Birthday!!! Yay! Someone older than me! I love your list.

  39. I don’t believe you are 60, but Happy Birthday! I like number 13.

  40. Number 32!! Hah-hooh!
    Happy birthday, friend. You are a foxy babe.

  41. Man! You are popular! Happy birthday Aunt Kalyn!

  42. Congrats Kalyn!!…. A big hug from Dominican Republic!

  43. Oh, and lessons?

    Just because somebody doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you the best they can.

  44. Happy Birthday Kalyn – that’s a great list full of many truths. There’s one that I picked up early on “life is too short to drink bad wine!”

  45. Happy Birthday Kalyn! I am a loyal follower of your blog, but I never comment. I am about to turn 30..when I reach 60 I hope I am as funny, as wise and as good of a friend as you seem to be. Enjoy your day!

  46. Happy birthday! What a truly wonderful collection of lessons, I feel like printing it out and sticking it on my fridge! Have a wonderful time, I’m also astounded that you’re 60!

  47. Happy Birthday!!

  48. Happy Birthday! May you have many more. Thank you for sharing your wonderful list. It’s good reading!

  49. Happy Birthday Kalyn! Have a good one.

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