Kelly McCarren’s 31 Lessons From Her 31 Years

18 October 2019

Life’s a funny thing isn’t. One minute you’re 14 and navigating the art of giving your first gobbie with the added hindrance of braces and then BAM you’re 31 and… well actually wearing braces again (clear aligners to be technical) because you didn’t wear your retainer as a youth.

READ: 30 Things To Do Before Turning 30

This week, I’ve turned 31 and it’s a bit scary TBH. Of course, I am always grateful to age (I explain what I mean quite well below) but 31 is officially ‘early thirties’. I’m no longer ‘thirty and dirty’, which seems like such a fun and frivolous age. I’m like proper adult age now.

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Today is my 30th birthday and having so many of my favourite humans in one room last night to celebrate was all a gal could want. However, all the gifts were sick and I'm not offering to give them up or anything 😏😌 Thirty is one of those birthdays many people dread and in some ways, it IS super scary to not be 'in my twenties' anymore. But as cliche and entirely self-absorbed as it sounds, I do get more fabulous ever year and I continue to achieve and kick goals my 20yo self would be in awe of. Anyone who whines about getting older needs to think about it as luck. We are BLESSED to be getting a year older. Stephanie Scott was also supposed to turn 30 today but had her life snatched away from her by someone she worked with and every year I think of her. I am so so happy to be turning 30 and I am so excited to see what Kel can do as a dirty thirty yo! 😈💪✨🥂Enjoy that ramble? I go on more in an article I wrote about turning 30, link in bio. 💛

A post shared by KELLY LEE 😝 (@kelly_mccarren) on

But I’ll tell you one thing about turning 31; you’re wise AF. You KNOW shit at 31 and you scoff at your younger self who THOUGHT she knew shit about the world but was actually more naive than a little fishy about to gobble on some hooked bait. So I thought I’d impart some of my wisdom on you all, despite not having been asked. You’re welcome.


#1 Don’t roast yourself like a rotisserie chicken. 

When I was a humble youth, I would oil myself up and roll around in the sun, cooking my skin from all angles. Exactly like a rotisserie chicken is prepared for your sandwich. Don’t do this. You’ll hear it shouted from the rooftops by EVERY parent, beauty editor, supermodel etc and a tan might look good, but for the love of your wallet, stay out of the fucking sun would you! Obviously, it’s not realistic to just veto the sun but don’t spend your summer baking. It’s stupid. You’re putting yourself at risk of developing Melanoma, so you could like, DIE; and it looks shit as soon as you reach 30. Sun damage isn’t cute and you’ll spend a bomb trying to rectify the signs with procedures and skincare. Just fake it baby.

READ: These Are The Only Fake Tans That Don’t Look Fake

#2 Filler and botox make you look old AF. 

Controversial, but true. If you’re in your early 20s, DO NOT have ANYTHING injected into your face! It will not make you look hotter, it will make you look 35. You might think some of your fave influencers look fab but do they look fab for their age? My guess is that you think they’re a lot older than what they are. There is nothing as youthful as… youth so put down the needle and stop trying to look like a weird inflatable doll.

#3 It’s ok to be selfish and put yourself first.

No one else will!

#4 If you’re going to have an opinion about something, make sure you’re educated about it. 

People like to say that they’re entitled to an opinion but if you’re just spouting crap that doesn’t make sense and is factually inaccurate, you’re an ignorant asshole and need to STFU.

#5 Unless you’re getting paid for it, don’t worry about your body too much. 

Sure, I get wanting to look hot and that means different things to different people. Beauty is VERY subjective. But unless it’s your job and you’re getting paid for it, don’t spend your life trying to look tight AF in a bikini. Be healthy, work out and eat your greens; but also eat that pizza and drink that wine and enjoy desert. No one cares about your lumps and bumps as much as you do so just enjoy yourself.

#6 No one looks like influencers, not even them. 

Same goes for actresses and models. Anyone whose image you see plastered on your Instagram, online or on a giant billboard. It isn’t real. To get that shot, there’s been hours of tan, hair, and makeup. Several outfits. Posing, angles and hundreds of photos. Don’t forget there’s then Facetune/Photoshop, a VSCO filter and Snapseed for the extra bishes. PLEASE, keep this in mind and stop comparing yourself because you’re not comparing yourself to a real human. 

#7 Drink a green smoothie every day. 

And you get all your veggie/fruit requirements in one drink. Have you seen how much salad you’d have to eat to get the recommended veggie intake? Fuck that. Just have your drink and you don’t need to worry. PLUS, the benefits for your skin and gut health are insane.

#8 If you get pimples, Mario Budescu drying lotion is all you need. 

Make sure it isn’t shaken and use a q-tip to get a dollop of the pink stuff from the bottom and apply on your zit. It’ll be gone in a few hours.

#9 Don’t be mean to yourself. 

If you wouldn’t say something about your friend, don’t say it about yourself. Want to know why you feel like shit? Cause you speak about yourself horribly.

#10 Sex is NOT about ‘looking good’.

Sex is about pleasure and having fun and enjoying yourself. When you’re shmacking someone, don’t worry about your gunt or cellulite because the other person sure isn’t. Just have fun and do what feels good!

#11 Faking orgasms is stupid. 

You’re lying to him (or her) and robbing yourself of future orgasms. If your partner thinks they’ve gotten you there doing something specific, they’ll keep doing it! Sex doesn’t need to be about the orgasm, the rest can be pretty damn nice too, so if your partner feels bad for you not getting there, you don’t need to be an asshole and yell out ‘WELL I’M GLAD ONE OF US FINISHED’ (guilty), you can just explain that it still felt great!

#12 Finishing something because you started is also stupid. 

Sex, a book, movies etc if you’re not enjoying something, you don’t need to ‘power on through’. Just stop, there’s no point.

#13 Busy is a decision.

When someone says ‘I don’t have time’, what they’re really saying is ‘that isn’t a priority for me’. We all have the same amount of time and some people run bloody countries (not all of them do it well mid you). If you’re overwhelmed with how busy you are, fill out a timesheet. That seems counterproductive at first, given it’s another thing to do but it will help you manage your time better. A lot of people have had to do them for work before but I’m suggesting doing one for life. You might not even realise that you’re spending 2 hours per day mindlessly scrolling Instagram, which probably isn’t the best use of your time.

#14 Create an alter ego for yourself.

That way, you can blame every stupid thing you do when drunk on her/him, not yourself.

READ: Drunken Mistakes We’ve All Made

#15 If you get a pet, get pet insurance.

They’re fucking expensive and nothing is covered. I don’t have health insurance but I have pet insurance – go figure. Last week one of my cats (calm down, I have 2 and they’re siblings) was having issues with her lil’ heart and it cost over $4k. Ouch. I should get 75% back though which makes the monthly cost SO worth it.

#16 Don’t rush to move in with someone.

When you’re in the early stages of a relationship with someone and in the throes of passion, it’s easy to get caught up and start planning your life together. Starting with moving in together. DO. NOT. RUSH. THIS. Moving in with someone isn’t ‘romantic’ or necessarily the right thing for your relationship. Moving in with someone means life shit. Shit like bills, taking out the trash and arguing about who cleans more. And you can roll your eyes and scoff ‘pft that won’t happen to us’ but yes, it will. It’s inevitable. 

#17 We’re all capable of cheating.

You can act as horrified as you like but it’s not in our DNA to be monogamous, fidelity is a choice. It’s so normal to be attracted to other people when you’re in a relationship but acting on it is a choice. The best tip is not to put yourself in a situation where it could happen and also to educate yourself on some of the reasons actually behind why different people in different situations may choose to stray.

LISTEN: Esther Perel Knows Why People Cheat

#18 You should look at bad dates as great stories.

Because no good story started with ‘so I had a great date last night’.

READ: First Dates – An Ode To Them All

#19 You’re not entitled to your sick leave.

It’s there if you get sick, not because you ‘can’t be fucked working today’. Business owners aren’t allowed to say this for obvious reasons, but trust me, taking regular sicks days when you’re obviously not sick, reeks of a bad work ethic and is noticed.

*That said, don’t be a hero and come to work sick and get everyone else sick. Use common sense. 

#20 Getting fired might be the best thing that will happen to your career. 

I was DEVASTATED when I was fired. I remember feeling humiliated and like a failure and how it was just ‘so unfair’. But actually, I definitely deserved to be fired. Probably a lot earlier than I actually was because I was so damn useless as my job. And when I was fired, my boss said to me ‘you just need to find what you’re passionate about and you’ll kill it’. And that was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. If you’ve been fired, you were probably miserable and failing (which isn’t a great feeling), but you didn’t have the drive or the balls to quit. The dismissal is the kick up the butt you need. Most people will get fired at least once in their lives, it’s ok and it’s not something to be embarrassed about. 

#21 You spend what you earn. 

It really pisses me off when people tell me they ‘can’t afford to live out of home in Sydney’. 10 years ago, I was paid $30k per year and rent wasn’t that much cheaper than it is today… neither were drinks actually. I lived near the city, bought clothes, went out on Saturdays, had a gym membership, and took holidays. Which sounds eerily familiar to my life now. I just have a nicer apartment, buy more expensive things, go to nicer places on a Saturday (anyone else remember $3 shots at Eye Bar in Kings Cross?), have 2 gym memberships and go on boujeer trips. You will always spend what you earn and it’s scary how quickly you adjust to an increased salary, thinking ‘how did I live before’. Well actually, you lived just fine, having a disposable income is a privilege. Remember that.

READ: Control Yo’ Cash – A Beginner’s Guide To Budgeting

#22 Frozen coke will cure 80% of your hangover.

Tried and tested. A cold shower (or better yet, ocean swim) also works wonders.

In fact, coke, in general, will cure many things. Got a headache? Have a glass of coke. Feeling queasy? A coke will fix you right up. 

*100% not DR approved or recommended. 

READ: How To Deal With A Hangover

#23 Oil is the best thing you can put on your skin.

Don’t be scared of it, oil treats a myriad of skin issues and mimics your skins natural defence barrier. Because oils are lipophilic, they can absorb and penetrate deeper into the skin than other products on the market. They basically trap the water in (which keeps skin plump and hydrated), while keeping any toxins and other bad stuff out. I use body oil, face oils and hair oils. I even put a drop in my foundation for a super natural, glowy finish!

READ: Why You Need To Be Using Oil On Your Skin

#24 Feedback is a gift.

Don’t be scared to get feedback. Feedback comes in many facets but without the ability to accept both criticism and compliments, you’ll never grow as a human. Think about it, if you don’t know what you’re doing is wrong, how will you ever get any better?

#25 Not everyone will like you.

And that’s ok. There’s no point getting upset about it or trying to get people to like you, it’s desperate and exhausting. Just try not to take it personally because they’ll always be people you don’t like too.

#26 Keep busy.

An idle mind is the most dangerous road to mental health issues. Ensuring you’re busy and have commitments and responsibilities is the easiest way to keep going. I was really upset about something last week and really just wanted some time to wallow in my own self-pity, but iI couldn’t, I had to work. Wallowing won’t get you anywhere so the best way to distract yourself from negative thoughts is keeping busy and not giving your mind the chance to stop.

#27 Don’t you ever, EVER write something mean on the internet.

Trolls and keyboard warriors are the unpleasant dregs of society that don’t deserve their WiFi connection. If you’re ever tempted to write something that offers no purpose but to make someone feel like shit, don’t.

READ: An Open Letter To Internet Trolls

#28 Stay curious and never stop learning.

Don’t fall into a trap of only consuming your social media feeds and reality TV. Absorb as many different types of content as possible and learn as much as you can about everything that interests you. Watch documentaries, read articles, listen to podcasts, enjoy different types of comedy and ask questions. Podcasts are my fave way to absorb information because I like doing other things simultaneously and they make shitty tasks like cleaning more fun.

#29 Don’t get a loan for a boob job.

Or a holiday. The only loan you should ever get is for a house because it’s the only thing that will increase in value, justifying the INSANE interest a loan costs you. Spending an unnecessary $4k in interest for a loan to get my TITS done, is the stupidest thing I’ve wasted my money on. And I get a lot of Uber’s.

READ: Want To Know Why I Got A Boob Job?

#30 Coffee and red wine are acquired tastes. 

You’ll learn to love them, trust me.

#31 Laugh and have fun.

Ok, this is so lame and cliche but if you can’t laugh at all the messy shit in life and have fun, there’s no point. Learn the art of silliness and try to make at least one person laugh every day, it’s literally better than medicine and feeds the soul, I swear.

Wise owl - Kelly McCarren.