Fifty Five Things I've Learned in 55 Years

Smile, look pretty.

Last December, my blogging amiga Kalyn posted a list for her birthday: Sixty Things I've Learned in Sixty Years. Like so many readers, friends and fellow food bloggers, I was inspired by her post. So as birthday number fifty-five (fifty-five? how is that possible?) sat on the horizon as opaque and huge as June Gloom in Los Angeles, I was inspired to write my own list of hard won wisdom. Just to cheer myself up. And shake some cobwebs loose. Fifty-five just scares the pants off me, I gotta confess.

Fifty Five Things I've Learned
in 55 Years

1. If you feel a thing in your gut, pay attention. It's true.

2. Lipstick can boost your immune system. You didn't know?

3. Regrets are good teachers.

4. If you're allergic to cheese, get over it. Trust me, it could be worse.

5. If you love the sea, don't move to New Mexico.

6. If you cry on your honeymoon it's not a good sign.

7. Most people don't listen. They're biding time until they get to speak.

8. Popcorn and wine for dinner can be more romantic and satisfying than an expensive chef prepared meal.

9. Infidelity murders trust.

10. Injectibles don't make you look younger, Darling. They make you look insecure.

11. Coffee is not evil.

12. Good sex is highly underrated. Women, you know what I'm talking about.

13. "Just kidding" translates to I'm too chicken-shit to be honest so I'll pretend my hostility was humor.

14. Putting the toilet seat down is sexy.

15. Religion doesn't make you a better person. Listening does.

16. When it comes to your children, love is letting go.

17. Aging gracefully is an endangered art.

18. Smug is ugly.

19. High school is absolutely not the "best years of your life".

20. Family isn't automatic. Sometimes people end up in the wrong nest. And if you do? Fly away and find yours.

21. Breakfast is not essential. But coffee is.

22. Prejudice buoyed with righteousness is lipstick on a pig.

23. If you get cold feet before the wedding, pay attention.

24. Children teach their parents. Pay attention.

25. You are either an ocean person or you are not. Forever. It's in your blood.

26. Divorce can be the best possible choice and still hurt like hell.

27. Vegan cheese sucks.

28. A sense of humor is way sexier than six pack abs.

29. Eat, drink and be merry. Who knows how many Junes you've got left.

30. Show don't tell.

31. Living an authentic life unburdens your children.

32. If it seems too good to be true- you know this already, right?

33. Laughing really is the best medicine. Rent a comedy.

34. When cooking for company choose a dish you can make ahead of time. Join the party.

35. Adverbs- just say no.

36. Every person believes their own point of view is the correct point of view. Accepting this can free you.

37. Don't assume anything. Not one single thing.

38. If you don't value your time, no one else will either.

39. High fructose corn syrup is evil.

40. When it comes to health, there is no one size fits all. What works for one person may not work for someone else. Except for thing #39.

41. No is often the most life affirming, loving choice you can make. Learn to say it out loud. Practice.

42. Perfection is overrated.

43. Curiosity keeps you young.

44. Cooking together can make love stronger.

45. We become what we behold, says Blake. So what are you looking at?

46. It is better to burn out than to fade away.

47. You can live without TV but you'll miss Charlie Rose.

48. A woman over fifty is invisible. Those of you over fifty know what I'm talking about. Take advantage of it.

49. I regret most those things I didn't have the courage to do.

50. Love and weddings are fragile human gifts every person deserves. Straight or gay. Live and let love.

51. Hope is more inspiring than belief.

52. Calling hot flashes "power surges" is lipstick on a pig number 2.

53. There's a reason we lose our close-up vision as we age. It softens imperfections. And keeps those chin hairs out of focus.

54. There is no one, right way. There are an infinite number of ways. Diversity is the dance of the divine. Not to mention, creativity.

55. There is such an animal as true love. Don't settle for less. It's out there. Breathing.

Fifty Five Things I've Learned in 55 Years is ©2009-2014
by Karina Allrich.
All rights reserved.



  1. I am going to tattoo this on my body and read for the rest of my life.

  2. Happy happy birthday! I hope you have a fabulous time in California! (#23 & #26? So true.)


  3. Beautiful and inspiring. I enjoyed it so much, #10 made me laugh (and it's so true) but # 50 and #54 made my heart *smile*.

    thanks and happy birthday

    ps. I disagree with #48. A woman over fifty is invisible. You are not invisible. You rock!

  4. I'm nearing 40... these are great life lessons at any age!

  5. Love number 46. It's my motto!

  6. What a lovely idea! I have 56 coming up next month...

  7. Amen to #26, and many others. I've got 6 months to come up with my list of 50 in 50 and this is very inspiring.

  8. Karina, this is a wonderful list! Happy Birthday. It sounds like you have learned many wise and wonderful things in your 55 short years. :)

    Keri aka kinnicchick

  9. Happy, Happy day to you! Love the learnings :) So nice to reflect, isn't it?

  10. Happy Birthday =D!! I love the lessons. Have an awesome day!!

  11. Happy Birthday! I have a lot to learn in the next 10 years...!

  12. Love #34. How often have I felt like I missed a party I was hosting because I was in the kitchen or managing the kids. (As they get older, maybe I'll have the kids in the kitchen. :) ) Thanks for the inspiration to live life to its fullest!

  13. I recently found your website and I am thrilled as I have been gluten free now for just over five weeks. I LOVE your recipes and your beautiful words. Thank you.

    I relate to #50, 51 and 55. I am the true romantic.

    Happy Birthday!!!!

  14. We have the same birthday! How very neat. I don't know any other June 19th babies.

    Happy birthday!

  15. Beautiful, and so much truth here. I love that you are celebrating your birthday in California (at last!), with people you love. May 55 be just the beginning of the next wonderful stage of life.

  16. Love your list!!! (See I just broke my new rule about not more than one exclamation point, that's how much I love it.) Are you sure we aren't the same person? So many of these ring true for me.

    Absolutely no worries about 55. And remember, no matter how old you get, I will always be older. And I'm doing okay for an old lady.

  17. Oh Karina, you are so much more than a blogger. You are a true literary artist and no mistake. Have an outrageously wondrous birthday and many many more to follow.



  18. Thank you for #20. I needed to hear that.

  19. Karina, I totally agree that vegan cheese sucks!
    I also think you are a wonderfully wise woman and am always grateful that you choose to share your wisdom.
    Happy Goddess Birthday!!!

  20. This is incredible. Thanks! My birthday already passed but I may do this anyway.

  21. Happy Birthday, Karina! I nodded, smiled, or chuckled all the way through this list. So many of these all of us have experienced, so recording them and sharing them is great. I'm coming up on 53 myself in less than a month. Sometimes I have to do the math to remember how old I am, not because I've forgotten, but because I stil feel like I'm back in my 40s somewhere. ;-)


  22. Happy birthday, Karina! #55 is my favorite...didn't believe it for many years but the love of my life is sitting next to me right now and it just doesn't get any better than this.

  23. Love it! I'm doing this in November! Thanks for helping me see my invisibility as an asset!!!!!

  24. Happy Birthday to you! Love the list, love your blog.

  25. Ah Karina, thank you, thank you. What a beautiful start to my day. Happiest of birthdays to you!! Say hello to the ocean for me :)

  26. Karina,

    Happy Birthday Chica! (sorry I am a day late - I'm on vacation and not on the computer too much). Your list is amazing. I'm so happy to have 'met' you and to be able to consider you a friend. You are truly inspiring - in more ways than one! :)

    I hope you are having a wonderful birthday weekend and enjoying the ocean and you family! YOu deserve all of it!


  27. What wisdom! My birthday is coming up on the 26th, and I think I will do the same. I'll be down in Marina del Rey for the birth of my 1st grandchild next month. If you don't think THAT'S a milestone! Love #28!

  28. You are amazing, and a wonderful writer. My husband, Steve, loves what you have to say. Love #28! My first grandchild is due in July (kids live in Marina del Rey) so I consider THAT a pretty amazing milestone. Maybe I'll see you down there!

  29. Happy Birthday to you, again, Karina!!



  30. Many, many happy returns Karina! My #57 is coming up on the 29th. It is a weird and wonderful thing to find myself at point where I remember my grandmothers at this age! Surreal. We've come a long way baby! ha, how's that for dating myself? Ah June gloom...just makes it that much sweeter when the does come out.
    Thanks for all you share

  31. what do i look forward to more...your divine food or your incredible words...both always deliver...!

    thank you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

  32. what a great post. Have a beautiful birthday!

  33. Thank you, Karina- this post is the most delicious recipe of all. I'll be making my own list of 50 this year and needed these wonderful reminders of all that's good, and all that's worth shrugging off! Happy arrival in Calif,

  34. So many truths in this list-I'm inspired. I'm making a list in Sept. :-)


  35. Love these, except #32 too good to be true... I used to think that if it was too good it was no good, until I met the man of my dreams. We discussed how perfect our relationship was and thought that it was too good to be true. In the end we decided to just hang on to it and ride it all the way. Good thing we did, he died a couple of years later.

  36. Happy Birthday!

    Thank you for sharing this, I needed to hear some of these lessons. I first came to your blog for the food so long ago, but you always offer so much more!

  37. Happy birthday, Karina! May you have many more Junes with those you love.

    And... #55 - Amen!

  38. Hi and Happy Belated Birthday! Definitely inspiring words. Thank-you for posting.

  39. Happy Birthday! Thanks for telling us your real age - and sharing such a great list of insights. I'm turning 49 this year and looking for reasons to fall in love with 50... You've given me 55! ;-)

  40. Happy Birthday! Thanks for telling us your real age - and sharing such a great list of insights. I'm turning 49 this year and looking for reasons to fall in love with 50... You've given me 55! ;-)

  41. thank you karina - i'm a few years behind ya but i agree whole heartedly with each and every point.

    wishing you many many more - well as many as you wish until you feel you've had plenty.


  42. Beautiful, honest, and so "Karina". BTW- when my mom was going through "the change" we (the kids) nicknamed her Flash because of all her hot flashes! hahahahaha

  43. Happy Birthday!

    I love this. I honestly enjoy learning "life lessons" from others! I completely agree with 4, 7, 15, 19, 41 and am still working on 20, 30, 33, 36, 37, 42 and 54. Maybe by age 55 I will learn. ;)

    Thank you for taking the time to share your wisdom with us!

  44. This is a great idea! Happy birthday and I hope you're having a blast in CA!

  45. Happy Birthday and thank you for sharing your hard learned lessons and wisdom.

  46. Happy Birthday! Thanks for the wonderful gift of this beautiful list (not to mention all of your incredible recipes!).
    Lots of love,

  47. #6 and #10 crack me up! Happy Birthday, Karina!

  48. Happy belated birthday, Karina! So happy you're within driving distance, we'll have to meet up one of these days after you've had a chance to really settle in. This list was an absolutely wonderful read...perhaps I'll write my own list of 35 things come November.

  49. Oh, happy belated b-day, Karina! As always you have expressed yourself with intelligence, humor, and wit.

  50. This is great! Happy belated birthday. Sorry I've only just found this.

    So loving this post. I'm a couple of years off 50 and needed this.

  51. I love this!! I'm 27 and I'll be keeping a lot of those lessons close by! I've already learned so much from your blog (Butternut Squash Chilli absolutely changed my life). Aaaand you wrote this post on my birthday...significant?! I think so! hahah.

  52. Oh, My! It has been a while since I visited your blog (got lost in my sewing blogs) and I have been spending the morning catching up and printing the awesome recipes that you have posted to make. I have to tell you that this has been the best post that I have read in a while! It really made me laugh. I did agree with a lot of your points, vegan cheese is awful. I tried to like it, but is is truely aweful! That chin hair thing is so funny, probably because it hits way too close to home... I never would have guessed that you are 55. Thank you for this blog and all that you do for all of us.

  53. Anonymous09:16

    Karina, June 19 is my wedding anniversary! 33 years in 2010. You are an inspiration in so many ways!

  54. Krista11:13

    After a long morning, or shall I say 6 month old sleeps in the bjorn as I sit to take a break (she never lets me stop moving) and read your "55". I don't know why, but I cried. There's something in the sincerity of honest spoken word that hits so close to home. Life definitely is a journey and a gift. I'm 24 and have many trials, tribulations and other wonderous things to endure...Happy 55 to you. Now I'm off to sneak in some quite "me" time...

  55. Great observations. So True. Love your blog. Photography is astonishing. So are recipes. Thanks for your Imaginative Dedication.

    Happy Birthday!

  56. Hey Karina -

    LOVE your blog. It's a gorgeous planet unto itself. I'm not celiac but eat as if I am, at the behest of my nutritionist. Coupling that with giving up cow dairy has meant this: I've dropped 135 pounds in a year's time. Amazing isn't it? Who'd have dreamt those two innocent little staples of the American diet could be so toxic?

    I would love to 'talk' with you more about this. Feel it's my mission to get some truth out there since the food and dieting industries are so corrupt and profit-driven.

    Thanks for all your great work. I'm a food writer and am absolutely dazzled by your recipes. They are definitely adding sparkle to my Life!

    - Stacey Morris

  57. I just discovered your blog through Cookin Canuck. Your blog is full of treasures and recipes that would help a lot of people.

  58. Thank you so much for the inspiring post. My own 40th is coming this December and I'm thinking a similar list is in order.

    I found your blog after having recently tested positive for food allergies associated with almonds, soy, all dairy (except goat), all wheat/gluten and eggs.

    The recipes here are a much needed push in a positive direction as I begin my journey. Thank you!


  59. Like it; some heart lessons to reaffirm things I'm working on now. And yes vegan cheese sucks.

  60. Anonymous20:56

    Amen sister!!

  61. Anonymous12:31

    This is one of the most inspirational things i have read in a long time. Thank you for being you.

  62. Anonymous16:09

    On #48, you are absolutely. I have been able to walk right the reserved seating or VIP section of an event because the ushers are in their 20's and either don't notice me or don't want to question. In L.A., it's not how much you paid but who you are. When you're "more mature" they assume you are "somebody". It's awesome! and thanks for all the other pearls of wisdom!

  63. From one to another, you inspire me!

  64. Absolutely brilliant list, Karina. I found myself nodding and smiling at each one (excepting #52 as I think "power surges" is actually, technically, closer to the truth than "hot flashes").

    Thank you so much for sharing your insights and your celebration with us.

    Much Love,


  65. Oh, GF goddess - I wish I have as many insights when I turn (gulp) 50+.

    Here's one I have: Stop obsessing about your so called flaws. Guys dont care - they're just happy someone got naked in front of them.

    Great list and even greater looking recipes on your blog! Dont mind if I borrow (and give credit for) your list on my blog!


  66. Anonymous01:56

    It's been an absolute delight discovering your wonderful blog. I can't wait to share it with just about everyone I know! There are people in this world who make a difference and I believe that you're one of them. Thanks for sharing.

  67. Sasha12:03

    Can I just say how much I loved your blog and this post?
    I stumbled here from who was inspired by your blueberry muffins and I'm so glad I did.

    Your bio, your photographs - there is poetry in them all.

    I'm 38, female, from India, but I can so relate to most of your 55 lessons :)


    01 July 2011

  68. What a Wonderful list. Facing down my 54th I'm thinking about writing my own list. I promise to give full credit to my favorite Gluten Free Goddess for the idea.


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