For every birthday, I asked “The Birthday Questions.”
The concept is simple: a series of 4 questions that encourages a healthy dose of reflection and speculation. It’s a fun way to reconnect with friends and spark thought provoking conversations.
Today, April 9th, I turn the big 2-8, meaning it’s my turn to take the hot seat.
Last year (Click HERE!), I ended my answers with: “ Where will I be in and what will I accomplish in the next 365 days? Stay tuned. I’m sure it will be anything but boring.”
I was right.
April 9th 2020- April 9th 2021 has been a wild ride far rougher and bumpier than cruising down pot-hole ridden roles on the backroads of Queensland in a run down 2008 Toyota camper van. Despite the pandemic-induced setbacks, 27 was still special. I got engaged, I moved to Australia, and I managed to roll with the punches rather than get completely knocked out.
Without further ado, here are The Birthday Questions.
1.What was the best part about this past year of life?
Hitting the road with Jeremy for a two-month van trip through Queensland!
I didn’t wear 27 well. When I lost dance, I lost a piece of myself. My purpose was gone overnight as the gas was completely drained from my tank. To spice things up, a month into 27, Jeremy had to leave NYC when his visa was up. My pillars were gone, and I handled it all exceptionally poorly.
I’ve notoriously been called “lead-food Katie”, so I floored the pedal as hard as I could, furiously trying to get myself moving in some sort of direction. Alas, it just left me exhausted and drained.
Getting to Tasmania in September added a bit of fuel as one of my pillars, Jeremy, was returned (click HERE for the journey). But I didn’t start moving forward until we picked up our run down campervan in Brisbane and hit the road.
I found myself again through travel.
My mental curiosities about life and the world around me returned. Waking up each morning became an exciting event rather than an obligation. Tackling 20 km hikes, encountering exotic wildlife, and immersing myself into the Australian culture fueled me. I finally started moving forward. “Katie” was back in business.
I have no idea if I’ll dance professionally again. But I have discovered that travel gives me an unbelievable amount of fulfillment and a genuine happiness.
How ironic that today is the final day of the adventure?
2.What was the biggest thing you learned?
This question gets me every time….
From a practical standpoint, I learned a bunch of cool random things that might serve me well in trivia via writing this here blog ranging from what makes meat red to the implications of forgiving student debt in the US. (Check out my “Chew on This” and “Fun Food Facts” tabs for more!) I also learned how to make pretty delicious brownies, which is probably the biggest success because who doesn’t love brownies?
From a personal standpoint… where do I begin? I learned that I’m not as strong as I think. Meaningful relationships are priceless. I am stubborn to a fault. The real meaning of “appreciate the little things.”
After mulling the year over, I’ve decided that this is the most impactful thing I learned that will be useful for the rest of my life:
Financial literacy is essential for everybody no matter how much money you have in the bank. A few hours of work might earn you $100. A few hours of learning about the markets and different financial instruments can earn you $1,000s.
At the start of 27, I had a Roth IRA, some money in a mutual fund and some money in an ETF. What in the heck did any of that mean? I was clueless!
I buried myself in books, videos, and podcasts to learn the basics of finance. I still have a lot to learn, but I gained a firm grasp of the foundations which has allowed me to start building wealth. Maybe I’ll retire one day afterall!
Waltzing my way into the markets right after it came plummeting down has helped me finance my life in Australia. Plus, I thoroughly enjoy keeping up with the latest business and market news!
3. What are you most looking forward to for the upcoming year?
More adventures ahead!
I’ve recently had a major “aha” moment: I don’t need to have my entire life figured out. Click HERE for the 411.
I have an online job that I can work from anywhere, so why not embrace the digital nomad life? One day I’ll go back to school, one day I’ll start building a career I love, one day I’ll “settle down.” But today, I’m not ready for that. Once COVID travel restrictions ease, why not go live in Thailand for a bit? Or perhaps Brazil. Maybe even India (I hear the food is great… and frugal!)
Jeremy and I have a passion for travel and we don’t have a lease, a dog, or a 9-5 that ties us down to one place. So why not explore the world for a bit?
4. If there was one thing you could tell your 80 year old self to never forget based on a current mindset, what would it be?
Don’t be led by the fear of failure or the dream of success. Simply never accept complacency.
Wrapping it up….
To quote 26 going on 27 year old Katie:
“ Where will I be in and what will I accomplish in the next 365 days? Stay tuned. I’m sure it will be anything but boring.”