I was planning on doing an epic Thanksgiving recap today, but I thought I’d dig a little deeper and do some reflection. FFF is 5 years old and SO MUCH HAS CHANGED since I started this little baby. 20 year old Lee was a junior in college, in the middle of recovering from an eating disorder, anxious, meticulous, rigid, and self-conscious. She cared way too much about what other people thought and her standards for herself were ridiculously high. Well friends, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching over the past 5 years. I said sayonara to my stable corporate job and hiyah to working for myself full-time. I’ve been traveling my butt off. I got my first seriously boyfriend and then went through my first breakup. I started 2 other websites. And most importantly- I started living intentionally for myself and finding happiness in every single that I do.
I’m an old soul and always have been, but lately I feel like I’m young(er) again. While I don’t have any regrets on my early twenties, there are a few pieces of advice that I wish I would have had during that time…
If you’re not weird, you’re boring.
So…I’m weird. And I think it’s awesome. If you follow me on Snapchat (fitfoodiefinds), you know I’m weird. If you only read my blog, you most likely think I’m semi-weird due to my ball obsession. But in all seriousness, I’m weird. I make weird faces, I say random things, I sing all the time (even when I’m not in the shower), I laugh at myself a lot…the list goes on. The one thing I’ve learned in my 25 years of life is to just embrace the weirdness because normal is boring. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too. One of my favorite qualities in other people is not knowing what they are going to say next, especially if it’s a little weird, witty, or sarcastic.
Your body is a wonderland so don’t treat it like shit.
This piece of advice is interesting. Most 20 year-olds eat like crap, don’t workout, and treat their bodies horribly. When I was 20, I didn’t eat enough, worked out wayyyy too much, and created my own UNHEALTHY definition of what the word healthy really means. I treated my body just as poorly as a binge drinking college kid, but on the opposite end of the spectrum. No bueno. Looking back, I would actually encourage my younger self to get wasted a few times and then eat pizza and be okay with it. I’m definitely not suggesting I put that in my daily routine, but life should be all about moderation, not about the extremes!
It doesn’t matter how much money you make, it matters how happy you are.
This goes out to all 20 something year olds. Happiness trumps $$. Why don’t you see for yourself? My happy is different than yours, so go out and figure out what that means to you. Walk the lake every day, bake some cookies, crochet a scarf. #youdoyou
Cyberspace is cool and all, but don’t forget about fostering relationships in real life.
I’m referring to all things technology in this one. Technology is a beast and social media never turns off, but taking times each day to turn it the EFF off is necessary. It’s necessary to be intentional with the time you spend in REAL LIFE, face to face with your friends and family.
If you knew me 5 years ago, I was the opposite of spontaneous. Each and every day that I lived had a plan and boyyyy did I stick to that plan. I planned my day around what I ate and what my workout was. Over the past 5 years, I’ve challenged myself every single day to add a little spontaneity to my life. Honestly, some things in life you just can’t plan and the more willing you are to just go with the flow, the easier it’s going to be. Spontaneity is a beautiful thing.
Do what you are really good at and be resourceful when it comes to things you suck at.
You might think that just doing everything yourself is the most efficient way to do something, but when it comes down to it, a team is better than one. Learn to work with other people. Be a leader. Build a team. Let someone do the things you’re not good at and DESTROY what you are good at. I promise, it will pay off.
You don’t have to have a 6-pack to be beautiful.
If I could go on a 20 minute walk with my 20 year old self, this would be the topic of conversation. As women I feel like we are pressured to look a certain way. Cute face, lil waist, with a big behind. Honestly- if you have a 6-pack you most likely don’t have any junk in the trunk. And I’m just saying, I like my junk in the trunk. Beauty most definitely is not about PERFECTION. It’s taking what you’ve got and loving every bit of it. The more you love yourself, the more beautiful you are.
Have an effing drink.
Hot damn…have 2!
At the end of the day, drinking should be about being social and letting loose a little bit. It’s going to be okay. You’re not going to gain 10 pounds, die, or not wake up the next morning. Chill the eff out and drink the damn margarita.
Heartbreak sucks, but IT GETS BETTER.
It’s crazy how much I’ve grown up on FFF. When I started the blog, I had never had a real boyfriend. I “dated,” but didn’t call anyone my boyfriend until I was 21. Heartbreak will make you stronger. It will make you love yourself. It will make you define what significant-other means. It will give you perspective on what you want. Heartbreak sucks a lot, but it gets better! Just make sure you surround yourself with all things positive and channel that new found energy to figuring out what makes you happy.
Be okay with having 5 REALLY great friends instead of 100 just okay friends.
Intention. Be intentional with the people you spend your time with. This most likely means having fewer important people in your life, but spending much more quality time with them. Popularity is just a word. If your mom and sister are your best friends, you’re doing something right. Be loyal. Be true to yourself and friends. Laugh a lot. Be weird. And only spend time with the people that give what you give.
Challenge yourself. Do things that make you feel uncomfortable because it WILL pay off.
I recently did a talk at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and this is what I ended with. Success doesn’t come from comfort, it comes from the outside. Get uncomfortable and get used to it. Life is BORING when you’re not challenged. Crave more, do more, and just see what happens.
Yah want it? Go get it.
You don’t get what you don’t ask for and that is the TRUTH. When I quit my full time job 2.5 years ago, it was a huge risk. I wasn’t yet matching my corporate salary with income from FFF, but I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted to work for myself and turn my passion into a career. No one could tell or show me how to do this, so i knew I had to take a leap of faith and figure it out. You don’t get what you don’t ask or try for. If you want something, go and get it. If you want to go to Spain. Go. If you want to learn how to play the guitar. Do it. Stop talking and start doing.
If you don’t know, you know.
Someone shared this beautiful piece of advice to me while I was going through the breakup. You know the saying “if you know you know?” I think that if you don’t know, you know, as well. Listen to your gut, it’s usually accurate in what decision you should make even if you don’t know the right answer.
Happy December 🙂
You need to understand that money is important and if you don’t have enough cash in your hands it can sometimes just ruin everything. When I wanted to find a university for myself I was not able to do that because I was just a poor man and thank God that I found a service that delivers faxless online payday loans at NorthLoans to me . And right now I am sitting here and writing your article that I really wanted to edit but I can’t.
Absolutely love your blog and insight!
Good ideas, and beautiful post! Extraordinary collaboration of talent.
This is good. thanks
Spicy and sweet – oh my! That dish looks incredible and I think I would gobble it all down in no time.
Wow this post resonates with me so much! This is amazing, thank you!!
I really love “the more you love yourself the more beautiful you are” and “only spend time with the people who give what you give”. Great lessons to learn and keep reminding myself of. Thanks 🙂
<3 Thanks Kate!
I kept this open, with the thought of wanting to read it again and respond in the perfect way. This post holds so much of what I wish I could go back and tell myself. It also holds what I want my nieces to all realize as they start to grow up (but not too quick!). Thank you so so much for sharing these thoughts with us. <3
<3 Heart you! Honestly I need to continue re-reading this sucker.
What a beautiful post! I think your advice is truly applicable for all ages not just twenty somethings! Thank you – you go girl!
Thanks Nila!!! xoxo
oh em geeeee! I love this! I need to take some of your advice because I am 20 years old right now and take pride in being “weird”! Thank you for sharing 🙂
Awesome post girl, we agree with! One day we hope to be in the kitchen with you while sipping on a cocktail.
Well that would be a dream come true!
This is by far my favorite FFF post! You are wise beyond your years. 🙂 Also, why didn’t we get go get a drinkity drank together when I was visiting?!? Next time!
For sure next time!!! We gotta make that happen in 2016 🙂
I love all these so much, especially since my 20th birthday is fast approaching! I can totally relate to living that rigid, planned life, but I’ve definitely learned more about going with the flow this past semester!
I always enjoy reading your posts and watching your Snapchat and seeing your “weirdness”- I don’t think it’s weird, it’s just actually having fun with your life!!! So many people miss out.
I can’t wait to write a post like this in 5 years to see how much has changed!
I’m glad you find me entertaining on Snap 🙂 I mostly do weird shit just to make myself laugh.
Love this post so much Lee! I must say, your “weirdness” is pretty darn fabulous 😉 Our early 20’s are just such a weird time, but it’s been awesome to watch you (and FFF) grow over the years! Cheers to being weird and not boring!
Oh, and your quote about having a six pack means losing the junk in the trunk…I’m throwing up all the preach hands emojis over here!
🙂 A little jig never hurt no one 🙂
Proud of your journey! Wow, do we have some things in common 🙂 Keep going, keep inspiring, and keep being YOU, because someone else was already created!
<3 Thanks Erika! The whole fam will be in Milwaukee over xmas. We should meet up! I'd love to meet your girls.
Congrats on 5 amazing years! You’ve built so much here. My 5 year was in November. Crazy how much we can do in a short time.
OMG! We need to have a 5 year coffee date. PLEASE?!
LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Probably one of my very favorite blog posts EVER. thanks so much for sharing. Yes to it all!!!
wow. you grew into an amazing person. I love how out of the bad experiences came a good thing. I know you will help others overcome whatbyou overcame!
Enjoyed this so, so much. I turn 26 next week and boy, do I wish I could have a conversation with my 20 year old self!!
RIGHT?! How cool would that be. All I need is 20 minutes 😛
As one of your old lady friends, your advice is as helpful to me in my 40’s as it is to twenty year olds.
You are a wise young woman 🙂 love ya!