General14 Dec 2009 03:17 am


Colleague and friend Ryan Jackson took this series of portraits of me at work a few weeks ago on his Yashica-D. I suppose that makes this the face of 29 years and 2 weeks, but I’ll just say thirty.

I guess it is only natural to look back on your birthday, especially when it falls so close to the end of the year. I always meant to make a list of “Thirty Things (to do) Before Thirty”, but before I knew it I turned thirty. It is probably really easy to critique all the negatives and “shoulda-couldas” in my life, and trust me, there are many. But I’m already too critical and hard on myself, so instead, here are thirty great things I’m proud to have done, experienced and made happen before I was 30. Kind of a retrospective bucket list. And who doesn’t love lists?

  1. I became the first member of my immediate and extended family to earn a university degree. Kelly Zee, B.Sc.!
  2. …That degree took me twelve years to earn. That’s right. Fans of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers were born the same year I started university.
  3. I have visited nearly 20 countries and lived in five.
  4. Learned how to scuba dive, even though I am afraid of fish. Learned to rock climb, even though I am afraid of heights. Learned to ski, even though I am afraid of yetis.snowy
  5. Went through a long application and interview process for a job with the United Nations. They didn’t receive funding for their next year of operation, though. So, no job.
  6. Camped on a beach in Thailand, for two weeks.
  7. Learned how to drive a golf ball. Still can’t putt very well, though.
  8. Became a tarantula and scorpion keeper.
  9. Always been a fashionista.midkaz
  10. Turns out I am pretty adept at understanding geology, parasitology and pharmacology. Math and astrophysics? Not so much.
  11. Learned how to speak French, Thai and Arabic…to varying levels of skill. Have yet to master English. (Its/it’s gets me every time)
  12. Started a fire with a single match. But only once.
  13. Proposed to my boyfriend. (He said yes!)
  14. Hosted a crazy party at my parent’s house. (Sorry mom and dad!)
  15. Swam with turtles in Hawaii.
  16. After 16 years of a bruised butt, ego and broken teeth, I quit figure skating at 19.
  17. Became, and stayed (so far!) a winning poker player.
  18. Have yet to join Facebook.
  19. Went on a three month long solo trip through Southeast Asia.
  20. Maintained a blog in some form or another for a decade.
  21. Saw a chevrotain, in the wild!
  22. Snuck into a New York City club while underage.
  23. Changed a flat tire by myself.
  24. Rode a cow…for about 10 seconds. He wasn’t happy with me.
  25. Got over my fear of cutting my hair and went short. khair
  26. I was into internet dating before it was cool.
  27. Gave the eulogy at my grandmother’s funeral.
  28. I have still not seen The Godfather, or any of the James Bond films. (Is that an accomplishment, or a tragedy?)
  29. I still get excited every time I ride the elevator at the Journal up to the newsroom, where I work.
  30. I am a published writer. And not just in those poetry books advertised in National Enquirers.

I’m not sure what some things I want to do before I am 40 are, but I’ve been pretty happy with the other three decades of my life, so I’ll just let it run its course.

Picture 2


At my dad’s request, I am sipping something “really good” while I type this. El Tesoro Aniversario tequila, in my “Z” monogrammed glass.


5 Responses to “The face of thirty”

  1. on 14 Dec 2009 at 8:20 am H.Peter

    Kudos on 6, 17 and 19.

    Godfather yes (Part1), Bond no.

  2. on 16 Dec 2009 at 9:45 am she

    beautiful post kelly. glad i found you again after all these years via troy. you’ve always lead such a full life and i’ve always been amazed by your fearlessness! i’m jealous!

    i had no idea you did figure skating!! that’s neat.

  3. on 17 Dec 2009 at 12:19 am A Canadian Foodie

    Happy Birthday!
    You remind me SO much of my daughter now living in San Francisco. I loved your post, and your passion. You ARE truly the “Crazy” gal… and I love your sense of adventure and positive attitude. Didn’t know you worked at the Journal, but did know you could really write.
    My favourite was the proposal. That, and the slide show of it – brilliant.
    The expression on your father’s face looking at you …. you’ve got it, and you are making the most of it.

  4. on 17 Dec 2009 at 10:10 am habanerogal

    I love the idea of the “reverse bucket list” I might just have to borrow that idea for my next milestone birthday. Congrats on the many achievements so far and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more.

  5. on 17 Dec 2009 at 9:04 pm Jayson

    Happy Birthday Kelly. I’m sure glad to have gotten to know you before you turned 30. And for the next 60!