Kelly the Culinarian: 30 Lessons in my First 30 Years

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

30 Lessons in my First 30 Years

I like lattes, stout beer,
sparkling white wine
and long islands
My birthday was a bit of a blur this year between working and recovering and trying to get back from LA to Chicago. At this age, I'm supposed to have acquired life lessons or wisdom or something. Most days I'm still pretending to be an adult and hoping no one notices. I have gleaned some insights from my own stories of triumph and heartache.
  1. Find a coffee, beer, wine and cocktail you like that's uniquely you and you can order most places so when someone wants to buy you a drink, you know what you want.
  2. Let people buy you drinks.
  3. Just because someone buys you a drink doesn't mean you're obligated to talk to them any more than saying thank you.
  4. Get comfortable with saying no. Listen to your inner voice and know that it may be painful today, but it's worse to have regrets tomorrow.
  5. Saying yes today doesn't preclude you from saying no tomorrow.
  6. If your job makes you cry, find a new one. While it may feel exponentially longer when at a job you hate, life is short. Too short to be humiliated, belittled or scapegoated. Related: Career Advice for my Sister
  7. Working Kelly works
  8. Get the absolute best education you can. It will always pay you back. It doesn't matter what you get it in, an advanced degree is buying you contacts and choices for the rest of your life.
  9. Think of yourself as a brand. How do you want people to remember you? That is the reputation you craft.
  10. Learn how to make one dish very well. You only need one signature dish (mine is chocolate chip cookies), but if you're ambitious, craft yourself one killer dinner and one dessert that can travel, and you're set for life. It will actually become part of your brand, too.
  11. Save. Save now, save as much as you can. Money doesn't buy you happiness. It buys you choices.
  12. Take your very first paycheck and put it in the bank. This is your "go to hell fund." It's much easier to go to work knowing you could grab your purse and go home if it gets too much.
  13. Never leave anything on your desk you wouldn't be OK with never seeing again, or having everyone on planet earth seeing.
  14. Social media lasts forever. Be careful out there, kids.
  15. Online dating is creepy but kind of exhilarating. Use at your own risk.
  16. Chapstick is always lost before empty.
  17. You don't have to have kids, ever. Don't let anyone tell you differently.
  18. Throw out your title at work. Your number one job is to make your boss look good. You make yourself indispensable by solving your boss's problems.
  19. Your clients, coworkers and supervisors are not your friends. Guard what you share.
  20. Your family will always be there. You may annoy each other, you will fight. You will always love.
  21. Spend money on the things you will enjoy and savor. I will sleep on my mattress for the next decade, but the shoes I bought this week will last a few months and the dress I'll wear tonight will collect dust tomorrow.
  22. Travel. Go to new places often. It's the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Even the cheapest vacations give you better stories to tell at parties than that time you bought a really big TV or a very nice car.  
  23. Everything in life is negotiable. Learn theses skills early and use them often.
  24. Every choice you make is subject to judgment and gossip by small-minded people. Pick the choice that makes you happy, because some days, that's the only person who you can please.
  25. All anyone wants is to feel good about themselves. How you make friends and win business is listening to a person, affirming their goals and your interest in helping them with it. That's it. That's the secret.
  26. Take the toiletries in your hotel room, they just get thrown away anyhow.
  27. Don't compromise who you are for a job or another person. If you want to wear red lipstick and a dress, don't stop doing it because your department wears pants. 
  28. Business travel sounds awesome. It is not. Sign up for rewards points, carry all the chargers you can, pack snacks and wear comfortable shoes. A Holiday Inn in LA looks the same as one in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, so don't expect the Ritz on a business budget.
  29. Take lots of pictures of the mundane and the daily. Those are the memories you'll want.
    My mundane little life is pretty awesome
  30. It is easier to maintain something than to rebuild it, and anything worth having requires maintenance - relationships, your health, your home, pets. Learn what it takes to keep these things moving forward and do them regularly.
  31. ALDI is where it's at.
What do you wish you knew at 30?


Alissa said...

Very well said, my friend. Welcome to the best decade :)

Anonymous said...

Love these!!

erin said...

Dang, can I relate to most of these. Even at (almost) 35, I'm still learning some of them.

Hope you had a wonderful birthday! And, like Alissa said above, the best decade :)

Losing Lindy said...

my 30s were awesome, I wish I didn't spend my 20s scared of them

Maggie W said...

Number 23. Story of my 30s.

Unknown said...

Love this! I almost want to bookmark this post and occasionally check in for some valuable guidance. Cheers to an amazing new decade in life!


Mo said...

#16. Don't have to justify that to anyone, either!

emily said...

Yes! Very well said. Welcome to 30!

Zenaida Arroyo said...

Love this list! Happy Belated Birthday!!