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

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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!”

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. Happy Birthday!!

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

  9. Happy Birthday Kalyn! Have a good one.

  10. Fantastic list to read! What a fun way to celebrate your milestone.

    You have a kind and creative spirit, Kalyn. Happy Birthday!

  11. Hi Kalyn, Came across your blog looking for info on the Chantal Talavera 4-qt pot I purchased at Marshall’s yesterday (yes, a year after you found yours at TJ’s, they can still be found at some Marshall’s). Well…I then began “surfing” your pages and found that you turned 60 today. Congrats! I met up with this number last April, so I’m now approaching 61. What I’ve learned is to be grateful for each day, and no longer let little things upset me or spoil my day. Where I used to be a perfectionist and a clean nut, I now realize they will not etch the words “Here lies a lady who kept the cleanest house in the world,” on my tombstone! I am also a bc survivor, and that has something to do with this new way of looking at things, too. I copied your “Sixty Things I’ve Learned” to file, and plan on printing them out an putting them on my refrigerator for all to see!
    Happy Birthday, Kalyn…and many, many more years of health, happiness and a super duper attitude! 🙂

  12. Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday to you!
    Happy Birthday dearest, lovely wonderful, super cool, amazing, beautiful Kalyn!
    Happy Birthday to you!

  13. Happy birthday! (You don’t look sixty…)

  14. Happy Birthday, you sweet young thing!

  15. {gasp!} Even though you talk of retiring soon, never in a million years would I have guessed you were 60. What’s your secret?!

    I hope you have a fabulous birthday week!

  16. Happy birthday from a long time lurker and fan. Love the list – especially 11, I say that ALL the time.

  17. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I hope you have the greatest birthday yet. Thanks for all of your tips/advice. You are a gem!!

  18. Happy birthday. That’s a brilliant list although I’m not so sure the early morning is that good. Wish I’d had a teacher like you rather than the ones who tortured me.;)

  19. I’m teaching school today so I can’t keep up with responding, but thanks to everyone for the nice wishes.

    (And especially thanks to my brother Rand who helps me so much on the blog and in so many other things in my life. I love you too!)