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The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

I still remember that sickening feeling in my stomach, that hot day in August, almost two years ago.  I was sitting in my car, in the parking lot of my office building.  There were only 15 minutes of my lunch break left, so I was hurriedly scarfing down a slice of pizza.  My air conditioning was broken, and I was sweating profusely in my black, company t-shirt. Yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to go back inside, back to my desk.

“Holy sh*t,” I thought to myself, with my stomach in knots. “How did I get here?! How has this become my life? Didn’t I want to travel the world, live in Mexico, start my own business, and be skinny by now?!” My mind and heart were racing.

“Is this all there is? Oh my God, have I wasted my twenties?!”

Not knowing what else to do, I mustered enough energy to take my sweaty, exhausted, and uninspired self back to my desk.  Moments like these helped me realize that I needed a change. A BIG change.  They showed me what I’d been missing all along – excitement, purpose, wonder, creativity, strong relationships, self-care.  Over the last two years, I’ve rearranged my life around those things that matter most.  I feel good now.  Motivated.  Happy.  And recently, I woke up with an idea in my head.  A full life – one with excitement, purpose, wonder –  is like a full, delicious, balanced mealGosh, I’m weird when I sleep. But it’s true! That’s how I’ve been able to rescue myself these past few years.  I’ve slowly but surely made my life look like a colorful plate of delicious, healthy, filling food. Stick with me.

In the deepest part of my rut, I’d been theoretically eating a plate of pasta noodles with no sauce on it.  Just cardboard.  My life was boring.  I was a living zombie. If your life is like a steaming pile of cardboard, like mine was, here are some suggestions to make your life tastier, juicier, healthier, and more exciting! How? Fill your life like you’d fill a plate, like this:

Add Your Protein

The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

Chicken, fish, beef, turkey, nuts, lentils.  The main event.  The part of the meal that keeps you full and satisfied for hours.  So what is the protein in your life? What is the main event – the thing that keeps you satisfied and fulfilled? For me, the cornerstone of life is my purpose.  The thing I’m here on this Earth to do.

Two years ago, I had no idea what my purpose was.  Honestly, I’m still not 100% sure! But I wish I’d tried, at least, to figure out what I’d been slightly interested in.  I wish I would’ve asked myself: what makes me excited to get up in the morning? What do I enjoy doing? Writing, painting, salsa dancing, traveling, cooking, reading articles about interior design? What am I good at? What do I always daydream about? Which blogs do I read? Which podcasts do I like?

Invest your time into something – anything! – that sparks your curiosity.  Protein is necessary to any satisfying meal, and purpose is necessary to a satisfying life.

Add the Carbohydrates 

The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

Rice, potatoes, pasta.  The good stuff.  The grain, the starch.  And, I know.  Healthy-food gurus are probably smacking their foreheads right now.  But I can’t deny that a small portion of carbs makes me feel warm and cozy inside.  Without it, I just wouldn’t feel all-the-way full! So what is the equivalent of carbohydrates in a well-balanced life? Something that makes you feel warm, cozy, and full?  For me, it’s meaningful relationships.  Without a robust social life, my life doesn’t feel full.  I’m truly happiest when I’m surrounded by genuine, goofy, kind-hearted people.  

You can ask yourself: Which friends make you leave with more energy than when you arrived? Which outings make you buzz with excitement, long after the activity is over? Concerts, brunches, group dinners, dance nights, wineries, movie nights? You can take it a step further – you can even develop friendships with people who share your purpose! For example, in Chile, I met friends in a language-exchange group, since I’ve always loved speaking Spanish!


The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, leafy lettuce.  Although vegetables may not be the most glamorous part of the meal, they make us feel good, healthy, and fit!  What are the vegetables in a balanced and fulfilled life? Something that makes us all feel great and healthy? Self-care. Two years ago, back in my old job, I completely neglected myself – all self-care was out the window.  I didn’t invest in my emotional, spiritual, or physical health at all.  I was just too tired and fed-up to do anything for myself.

I wish I’d carved a little bit of time each day to do something that felt good, like going to the gym, cleaning my room, listening to an inspiring podcast, reading a funny book, or taking a warm, bubble bath. Self-care helps to balance out a satisfying life.  And with the vegetables, our delicious, colorful, variety-filled meal is almost complete.  Yet, what would a meal be like without a little flavor? Without a little spice?

Don’t Forget the Herbs and Spices 

The Complete Recipe for Living an Amazing Life

Pepper, onion powder, garlic, salt, cayenne, cilantro.  These things can transform a bland meal into a meal bursting with flavor and taste.  So what is that extra spice in a well-balanced life? New events. Changing things up, trying new things, meeting new people, traveling to new places! Every month, I try my best to attend interesting seminars, read exciting books, try new recipes, and travel to different cities! When I think back on my life two years ago, every day was exactly the same – with no end in sight.  That’s why it’s so important to me that my life looks a little different day to day.  Herbs and spices round out a delicious and satisfying meal of protein, carbs, and vegetables, just as new events round out a satisfying life of purpose, meaningful relationships, and self-care. 

What do you think is important for a full and satisfying life? Let me know in the comments below!

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Jessica Marshall

Jessica Marshall is a writer, breakthrough-guru, and the co-founder of Your Velveteen Life. Joined by her sister, Shannon, she’s on a mission to help millennial women achieve their goals in half the time through the power of intentional travel.

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  • Lauren MacDermid

    Great post! Changing it up is so important for me personally.


  • Paige Cassandra Flamm

    Yes to all of this!


  • Great post! Last year I was in a slump with my job. I felt unfulfilled and a little discouraged by my future track there. When my husband felt the same way we decided to throw it to chance and start applying for jobs outside of our comfortable home state. Within 3 weeks, we had new jobs, an apartment and a new state to call home. It was hella scary but super exciting when we moved and started this new journey.

    • That’s awesome! Tough to do for sure but I bet it was all worth it 🙂

  • Madison Grace

    This is an interesting perspective, I like it. Balance is important xx

    Mads xx

    MY BLOG: http://www.bymybedside.com
    Free socks if you check it out! JKS. Got ya.

  • intriguing point of view !!! The Herbs and Spices really an important aspect !! Thanks for sharing it !!!!!!!!
    my blog you can take a look http://www.designercountry.com

  • While I haven’t had my pizza-in-a-hot-car moment yet, I fear I may be close. Thank you for sharing – seems I need to do some self-reflection on my own meal.

  • Jan McKerras

    Yes! Learning why you were created is the best place to start. We are ALL meaningful to somebody!

  • stephaniegbeaumonde

    Being a both foodie and a proponent of a balanced, well-lived life, I love your analogy. Think it’s really important to eat those ‘veggies’, but to always remember how much better they taste with a litte ‘spice’ added. Def was where you were, once upon a time. (ok, not pizza in a hot car, but M&M’s in the office at 11pm) Those moments of ‘eating junk food’ really can be great motivators of change. Thanks for the excellent reminder to be sure we eat our ‘balanced meals’. I’d only add to be sure to leave some room for a ‘dessert’ now and again, to enjoy any special treat that makes you extra happy! http://www.blogbeaumonde.beaumondeorganics.com/

  • edoep

    a blogthread about improving one’s life starts with a picture of a cup of tea with the tea-bag (!) still in it? and butterfly-shaped butter on top (!) of the jam? REALLY?? this is your level of tackling it? mediocre instant-tea for a mediocre ‘better-life’ recipe ….

    ==> unsubscribed from “bloglovin”.

    • C. K.

      you’re judging the content of the article by the background picture of the title? this is the most petty and shallow thing I’ve read today. get a hold of yourself. If you think you can do better, then you wouldn’t even be reading this!!

    • The author used a metaphor in this post relating to a “recipe”… If you read it, the food image would make more sense. She is not being literal in the sense that food will improve your life.

  • Tina Mari Skøyen-Fossan

    Thank you! I needed this on a sunday morning❤️

  • Emma Brooks

    I have just shared on my page, thank you. I’ve gone from bland noodles to a colourful bounty, I love the protein, veg, carbs and spices analogy too.

  • Victoria Rickert

    What a great analogy, simple yet to the point and very easy to remember since eating a well balanced diet has been drilled into my head since elementary school and learning the food pyramid., which reminds me Maslow hierarchy of needs pyramid. Thanks so much for posting going to share on Facebook.

  • Helen Wakefield

    I love the metaphors in your blog, what a great idea comparing food to life! Very well written 🙂

    Helen | The Little Giraffe

  • What a great post! Definetly getting me inspired <3