The 5 Best Decisions I’ve Made In My Adult Life

1. Dropping Out Of College

The Pier on Avila Beach
Yep, when I was 19 I did that. And my parents were not pleased. I wish I could have stayed in my beautiful little beach town and graduated Magna Cum Laude, but dropping out was just something I had to do. I honestly was not mature enough to go to college when I was 19. Sounds stupid, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I was making bad decisions, not focusing on my studies and I had no idea how to turn it around. I knew I would go back eventually, but I didn’t want to be on the path that I was on.

3 months later my dad died. As lame as it was moving back in with my parents, I’m so glad I did. Also, I’m so glad I delayed going back to college until I really really wanted to be there. I had such a great appreciation for it and as such performed WAY better.

Lessons Learned: If your gut is telling you something, listen. If you don’t like where you’re going, there’s no shame in stopping and turning around. If you don’t *want* to be doing something, you aren’t going to do it very well.

2. Fighting for Garrett

He loves being subjected to this, trust me.
(Our relationship is so new in this pic that we hadn’t even said THE BIG L WORD yet — hehe — I remember because I fretted about it the entire trip!)

Oh doesn’t that just sound dramatic? As if there was hair pulling and cat-fighting involved. Ooooh, excitement! Well, sorry to disappoint, but there totally wasn’t. What I mean to say is, I’m so glad that I didn’t give up early on when the beginning wasn’t rose petals and romance. You see, in my younger days I spent a lot of time Looking For The One. Well, more like Waiting For The One to cross my path. Romantic comedies have just screwed this all up, am I right? Good relationships take work — whether it is at the beginning or in the middle, you are going to have to work at making a relationship successful. I absolutely love love love this Dan Savage video about The Price of Admission. Best relationship advice I’ve ever heard…and seeing as I didn’t meet my “Soul Mate” (barf) until I was 27, I have heard a loooooooot of relationship advice.

Lessons Learned: It is less about finding The One and more about Becoming The One. You really need to figure out who the hell you are if you are ever going be able to communicate what you need in someone else. Not who society thinks you should be, not who your mom thinks you should be, not who your friends tell you should be — WHO YOU REALLY ARE. Then, find someone who thinks that all of those things are the bee’s knees. But if you don’t know what you’re working with, you’ll never know what you want. You can win the love of your life back with 5 simple yet effective tips.

3. Giving Up Diet Drama and Learning To Cook


A while ago I wrote a weight loss series and it was sort of a turning point for this blog. So many of you responded and related and it really helped me come out of my little blogging shell and talk about my health and fitness journey. To this day my absolute favorite part of that series was Part Three, which was the story of my Year of Not Giving A Fuck.

I decided I would rather be fat and happy, than miserable all the time worrying about it — and it was the best decision I ever made.

I still stand behind that. Sure it wasn’t the year I lost the most weight ever, but it was a turning point in how much I valued the enjoyment of my life over being thin. Allowing myself to do that let me explore cooking for really the first time ever and I’m just SO DAMN HAPPY I did that. Cooking is now a major passion and developing recipes and sharing them on this blog has introduced me to amazing people. I can’t imagine if I still lived a Life of Lean Cuisines. Oh god, I shudder to think, really…

Lessons Learned: Sometimes when you feel like you aren’t making progress with your goals, you are making progress with your life.

4. Chucking Traditional Wisdom and Exploring Ancestral Eating

Christmas Dinner

This isn’t my advertisement for The Paleo Diet. This is my advertisement for marching to the beat of your own drum. I think that a major life skill that is worth learning is how to deal with nay-sayers. They are always going to be there no matter what you are doing. My advice if you are experiencing a lot of people around you drinking the haterade: Look Inward.

There were many when I decided I would eschew grains, legumes and sugar. GIRL, ARE YOU CRAZY? Hell, maybe I am. But what I realized is that I have every right to pursue what is best for me. I deserve that, and I am not responsible for figuring out what is best for everyone. Oddly enough, having that realization has brought with it some success. Most of the time if I am come from a place of self-care and confidence, people find that easy to respect even if what I’m doing is “crazy.”

Lessons Learned: If you march to the beat of your own drum, at least you are guaranteed to enjoy the music. Try new things, explore many ways to do things — if they don’t work, at least you will have learned something or had an adventure or made a memory. It’s not the years in your life but the life in your years, right? If you are getting a lot of negative feedback, look inside to see if maybe that is just a reflection of your own doubts and then KICK THOSE DOUBTS TO THE CURB, YO!

5. Starting This Blog

Out with the old editorial blog calendar, in with the new!
(These are my old/new editorial calendars for this blog. I take them with me just about everywhere!)

I started this blog in 2006 and holy hell was it a hot mess. But at the time it met a need: I needed a place to write. As the years went by I met some other people who enjoyed my silly hobby, and it met another need: I needed a place to connect. In the past few years it has fulfilled my need to share and to create community. As I get older and turn into more of a homebody it is so great to have this little space to talk about things I would like feedback on, and to meet and tell stories with people I would never run across in my day-to-day life. In the future I would like to see this space intersect more with my career goals and my entrepreneurial passions. It has had and will have so many different roles in my life! This has been the best vanity project/time-waster/procrastination-enabler I have ever participated in. I don’t know what I’d do with it. Or without you all. Best decision, for sure.

Lessons Learned: Pursuing and committing to things that make you smile will always bear fruit, even if they seem silly. Allowing evolution in your goals and pursuits is such a major key to your long term happiness.


Want to play along? Ever thought about what your 5 Best Decision You’ve Made As An Adult. I’d love to hear about them. Write a post and link back or leave a comment.

*Inspired by this post

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21 Responses to The 5 Best Decisions I’ve Made In My Adult Life

  1. I couldn’t agree more with these points!!! I feel like the basis of a lot of this, and a lot of our major life choices, is really truly learning who we are and what we want. You can’t be happy with anyone else until you’re happy with yourself!

    • Holly says:

      True Story. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, but I’m sure happy I did! 🙂

  2. Maureen says:

    I moved to Alaska when I was 30, 21 years ago. I had always been fascinated by the state, but never had the time or the money to vacation up here. I turned 30, and I was at the perfect point in my life to make a change. So I loaded up my Ford Ranger truck, my dog, and my sister who kindly drove up with me from Chicago then flew home, and moved. I didn’t have a job, didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a place to live, but as soon as I got here, I felt like I was home. After a few years up here, I met my husband, had my beloved daughter (just graduated from high school!), these have been the best years of my life.

    It is so easy to stay in a rut, in your comfort zone, and I am forever grateful to myself at 30, that I had the confidence to try something new.

    • Holly says:

      Oh I love this!
      And it was also a great reminder (and one that I need, for sure) that life can have many chapters. Sometimes I think to myself — well I’m 33, I’m too old to change my course on that — which, HELLO — is stupid. Something I do today could have positive ripple effects for decades and it’s *always* worth pursuing!

  3. Bree says:

    This is great, thanks for sharing! I like so many of your ideas that you write about on here that I would have never of thought to do myself.. just like thinking about my 5 best decisions as an adult! So again, thanks for sharing your life with us, even when you don’t know who the heck some of us are! 🙂

    • Holly says:

      Hey Bree — thanks for making this a nice environment where I CAN share my thoughts. One of the best things about this space is that I have yet to come across anyone who says nasty things! I love that! I hope it lasts forever. And if you think about your best decisions…leave them in the comments or if you blog about them, leave me a link. I love to hear that kind of stuff!

      • Bree says:

        I think I can come up with a couple right off the bat. I’m 26 years old and I bought my first house at 25. I was scared to do it because I’ve never had any debt besides buying a car when I was 22. But I decided to do it anyway, even without having any roommates planned to live with me. I was lucky and found 2 roommates that I already knew for several years within a couple of months of moving in last July. I’ve already paid more than I would have thought and I’m proud of myself for that.

        Another best decision is like yours, my significant other. We dated for several months before I pushed him away because of my fear of getting hurt. He was such a sweet guy and I knew how much he was into me, and that scared me. My parents are divorced and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to settle down yet; I pictured myself not ever getting married. But after a couple of months of not really talking to him, I asked him to hang out again and everyday I’m grateful for him giving me a second chance even though I didn’t deserve it. I can’t imagine my life without him now.. I guess that one was more one of his decisions, because he gave me the second chance, but I’m glad I opened up and went after him with a chance of knowing he might shoot me down.

        I think you’re right though, we need to know ourselves, follow our instincts and trust those instincts because life is too short to miss out on the small stuff!

  4. Amelia says:

    Love, love, LOVE this post. I really know what you mean about ditching the body hate and accepting yourself ironically being the turning point for actually losing weight without all the struggle. The best decision I ever made (in the health area of life) was to quit dieting forever. I decided I just wasn’t going to do that to myself ever again. There is more to life and all of that. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done and was really difficult to do – it took a long time to come to terms with myself. However, I finally realized that accepting myself and giving up on having a healthy life were not the same thing. It’s impossible to eat intuitively when you’re eating stuff that makes you sick and is addictive. That is not a fair game! So, by the time I came upon all this Paleo stuff, I was ready. I came at it from a place of acceptance, rather than punishment. I just had been missing this key piece of information – that sugar and grains, in particular, were throwing off my whole system, making it impossible to self-regulate as it should. It made all the difference. It helps me be patient, knowing that I’m on the right road, regardless of how slowly the scale moves.

    I also loved what you wrote about Garrett. Life isn’t a fairy tale and getting what you want not only takes work, but insight into yourself. You hit the nail on the head with that one. How can you find someone to be with if you don’t know yourself? You guys are adorable and I’m so happy for you!

    The overarching theme I’m getting from you is that it’s important to go with your gut, even if it’s not the accepted thing to do. I encountered times of resistance when it came to who I chose to live my life with and also with this whole ancestral eating thing. But, I’m glad I never listened. Finding what’s right for me is up to me. You do this so well and write about it in such an engaging way. You always make me think!

    • Holly says:

      Amen to everything you said! (And hey thanks for all the nice compliments…I’m officially blushing!)

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  6. Tara says:

    1. Taking my time with college. I was never cut out for the traditional college experience, and I’m glad I did it the way I did.

    2. Jim. I was only 18 when we met, and 20 when we got married. Through ups and downs, though, he’s my only.

    3. Deciding to have a baby.

    4. Deciding to try again after we lost our first child. Eriana is amazing, and I can’t imagine life without her now. What if I’d really let fear take over?

    5. Deciding to do something about my health/weight. I’m not skinny, and I’m not always the best eater, but I am much better now than in my past. And I’m still trying.

    • Holly says:

      True story on college. I didn’t graduate until I was 26. Whatever…doesn’t make my degree any less useful! 🙂 And I enjoyed it so much doing it later.

      Also, the amount of courage it took to try for another baby is absolutely amazing. Truly. xo

  7. kara t. says:

    Such a great post, thank you so much! I am also glad that you started your blog. I love reading it and watching you progress in crossfit. Your recipes are great 🙂

  8. Christy says:

    Thank you for this. It’s so nice to hear how people’s lives are improved by the little things (and sometimes the little things are the hardest.)

    • Holly says:

      What’s that quote? Enjoy the little things because one day you might look back and realize they’re actually the big things?

      Love that…and I’ve found it true more often than not!

  9. Thank you for this inspirational post! I’ve posted my own 5 best decisions here:

  10. sizzle says:

    Great post, Holly.

    I either didn’t know or forgot that our dads died when we were the same age. I also stopped going to school but this was after he passed away. I was just having way too hard of time to be in school.

    My five would be:
    1) Not going away to 4 year college straight out of high school but rather staying local to attend a junior college. Some of the best classes I ever took were at that school. Some of the best times I ever had were during those 3 years. It also allowed me to be with my family when my dad was sick and when he passed.

    2) Transferring to UCSC. Living in Santa Cruz shaped who I am. I met amazing mentors and had great friends. I was introduced to Women’s Studies as a major there and became a certified women’s self-defense instructor as well as worked at many non-profits that taught me SO much.

    3) Dating a lot of different people. I always thought something was wrong with me for not being in long term relationships but I learned so much about myself going on all those dates. Plus now I can totally say I’ve “sowed my wild oats” and truly appreciate having a committed, loving relationship with Darcy.

    4) Moving to Seattle. It tore my heart out to leave the comfort of Santa Cruz but I never would have met Mr. Darcy, be getting married, own a house, or have had the opportunity to watch my nephew grow up.

    5)Taking a job that paid me less for an organization I believed in. Six years later I am here in a different role, getting paid well, with a flexible schedule, and the respect of my peers. I turned down 5 other jobs knowing they were not right for me while everyone thought I was nuts to risk it (I had only about 5 weeks worth of money to live on when I moved here). It all turned out okay. It usually does.

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  12. Madelyn says:

    I remember when you and Garrett were friends and you had to make some tough and scary choices about your relationship and I thought you were so brave. I just never in a million years could have been that brave. And now you two are at the top of my role model couple list. It seems silly probably but not having good relationship role model parents puts you at a real disadvantage. Even when you find a good person you don’t know how to treat them or behave. So it has helped me immensely to see you fight for your relationship and for yourself and your happiness. I guess one of the best decisions I’ve made is to find healthy role models. Not an easy task! But definitely worth it. Then surround myself with those people. Work, eat, sleep, breathe them and learn from them. Next would be letting go of expectations of myself and others. That was a real hallelujah moment! Life is so much better now that I’m not all hung up on expectations and can actually appreciate what is right in front on me. Which kind of brings it all full circle to the best decision I’ve made which is not to let life just toss me around and be sad because I don’t like where I’m going. To choose to own my life and be happy! Thanks for the great post -you rock!

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