Today is my 26th birthday! I know for some that might seem super young but I was sitting here freaking out thinking what have I even accomplished or experienced in 25 years. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done nothing. I wanted to take time to reflect and write down some highlights. My friend Shelly who runs the blog The Eclectic Voyager recently turned 27. She did a post called 27 adventures before turning 27 so I wanted to do a similar post. This way I can reflect and remember all I have done when I am feeling unaccomplished. Here are 26 things I did before I turned 26.
1. Lived with a Family in Spain
In high school, I went to Spain for a month during the summer. The trip consisted of exploring Madrid/Barcelona, living with a family for 2 weeks in a smaller city, and volunteering. Our family was an older couple so it definitely was pretty interesting but I have many funny stories. They spoke 0 English so it tested my Spanish speaking skills.
2. Studied Abroad in China
The spring of my Junior year of college, I studied abroad in China. It was an amazing experience. I studied in Shanghai but took trips to Beijing, Chengdu, Xian, Hainan, Nanjing, Hong Kong, and a few other smaller cities.
3. Graduated Undergrad in 4 Years with 2 Majors and 2 Minors
I took some AP classes in high school so that helped me get out of some general education classes but I still graduated in 4 years with 2 majors and 2 minors. My 2 majors were International Business and Global Supply Chain Operations Management. My 2 minors were Chinese and Spanish.
4. Snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef
This past April my best friend and I visited my sister in Australia. While we were there we traveled to Cairns and snorkeled/dove the Great Barrier Reef. The water was a little rough since it was right after a major storm but the views were gorgeous.
5. Lived in 3 States
I was born and raised in New York and then went to college in South Carolina. After college, I moved to Indiana for my job and lived there for two years. Now I am back in South Carolina and I absolutely love it!
6. Visited over 20 States
I won’t sit here and name them all, but by living in different regions of the US I have been able to visit many states. There is still so much of the US I need to see.
7. Seen over 20 Different Broadway Shows
Growing up in NY definitely explains this one but it is still a fun accomplishment. I have been going to Broadway shows since I was 2 ( the first one was Beauty and the Beast and I think I’ve seen it 3 times haha) and now that I don’t live in NY anymore we try to go to a show once a year around Christmas. My favorite show is Aida (not on Broadway anymore but gosh it is so good).
8. Started My MBA
This past January I started my MBA in Finance. It has been a lot more work than I thought it was going to be but I know in the end it will be worth it. It is sometimes hard to manage work, school, and life but that is what coffee is for ?
9. Got a Tattoo
Not willingly (and I threw up after eating too much Moe’s) but my sisters and I got matching tattoos on our ankles. Probably my first and only tattoo. My sister told me your foot hurts the least and since it is right on my ankle bone that is 0% true.
10. Zip Lined in Costa Rica
For spring break my senior year of college, my best friend and I went to Costa Rica. One of the excursions we did was zip lining through the rainforest near the Arenal volcano. It was a little nerve-wracking at first but was so much fun.
11. Became Debt Free
I became debt free almost a month ago! I was 25 and debt free and it was a great feeling. To read more about my debt free journey check out my post.
12. Lived Alone
I have lived alone since I graduated college and it definitely has its pros and cons. Sometimes I am super paranoid about living alone but for the most part, I love it. I have learned to be okay with being alone and not needing to be enterained 24/7.
13. Bought a Car
As soon as I graduated college (literally like the week after) I bought my first car. Yes, I bought a new car (read more about that here) but I learned a lot through the process.
14. Visited 20 countries (4 Continents)
I have been able to travel to over 20 countries in 25 years. I am so thankful for all the experiences I have had. There are so many countries still on my list.
15. Became a Licensed Customs Broker
I am a customs and trade manager for my company. In 2015 I decided to study for my customs brokers license which is a super hard exam. The pass rate on the first attempt is 1% and the pass rate overall is about 10%. I passed it on my first try and I am super proud of that accomplishment.
16. Hosted My First Holiday (Thanksgiving)
This year will be my third year hosting Thanksgiving. Since my sisters and I all live in SC, we decided it is easier to have Thanksgiving here (since the Clemson/Carolina game is that Saturday). It is a little stressful making all the food but I love hosting. I am looking forward to hosting more events in the future.
17. Bought Gamecock Football Season Tickets
I am obsessed with my South Carolina Gamecocks. Like super obsessed. Football season tickets are an expense I won’t give up. It is in my budget and I absolutely love going to the games. I go to every home game. I am thankful I am able to afford season tickets and spend those fall weekend with my sisters and friends.
18. Helicopter Ride
19. Learned to Cook
In college, I pretty much made easy mac and like maybe chicken nuggets. Over the past few years I have really branched out and learned how to cook (semi-healthy) meals. This might not be an accomplishment for everyone but for me who lives on mac and cheese and chicken nuggets this is definitely an improvement.
20. Became a Big Sister (BBBS)
This year I was looking for volunteer opportunities so I decided to become a Big Sister through BBBS. It has been such a great experience and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to volunteer.
21. Visited 2 of 7 New Worlds of the World (Great Wall of China & Roman Coliseum)
When I studied abroad in China, my grandma (who was 82) and I climbed the Great Wall of China. My grandma came to visit me for my spring break and we traveled to Beijing. One year for Thanksgiving my sisters, mom, grandma, and I went to Italy. We went to Rome, Florence, and Venice. We were able to tour the Roman Coliseum while in Rome which has been on my bucket list since 6th grade. It was such a surreal experience.
22. Started a Blog
This January I finally started my blog. I have been thinking about it for a while but finally did it when my best friend started hers. I am so glad I did. I have met so many people and I absolutely love it. It has been hard at times but I have learned so much about blogging, social media, and earning extra income.
23. Watched a Football Game at 9 Different College Stadiums and 5 Different NFL Stadiums
I love football (college and NFL). I have been able to travel to many away games for my Gamecocks (Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Clemson, Missouri) and I have been to a Michigan/Penn State game at Michigan and a few games at Duke. I have also been to NFL games at the Giants, Colts, Cardinals, Bengals, and the Panthers.
24. Called off a Wedding
I wasn’t going to put this one in here but it was definitely one of the big moments in my first 25 years. I was engaged after college and ended up calling off my wedding a few months before. Not going to go into specific details but through the process, I learned a lot about myself and about not caring what other people think. My friends and family were so supportive and although it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made, I have learned so much from it. Don’t get married because you feel you have to or you’ve been dating for a while. If you have any doubts, end it.
25. Started my 401k
I started my 401k at 21 years old and I am so thankful I did. I am really trying to retire early (definitely one of my major goals) and I am glad I started my 401k when I did. When I became debt free I increased my contribution percentage and now I am also working on my Roth IRA.
26. Started Therapy
This year I started therapy and I wish I did it sooner. I think everyone should go to therapy. It has helped so much with my anxiety and OCD tendencies. Even if you don’t have bad anxiety I think it is important to have someone to talk to. I go every two weeks right now and if you are considering therapy, I say go for it.
It was actually pretty hard to think of 26 things (not sure if that’s good or bad). I was so focused on crazy huge adventures and I definitely do not have 26 of them. When I took time to reflect on smaller accomplishments it was a lot easier to complete the list. I highly recommend taking time to do this because it helps you remember all of the small and big goals you’ve reached. I am thankful for all I have accomplished and experienced and I am excited to see what the next 25 years bring me (hopefully not too many wrinkles).