Happy Birthday to me! I just turned 27 and got to celebrate with a few days in Vienna with Colin and Ellie. It was an awesome birthday; I’ll be posting about our time in Vienna soon and can’t wait to go back for another visit.
But before I get to Vienna, I wanted to spend some time doing a bit of self-reflection and setting some goals for myself. What do I want 27 to look like? Now that I’m officially in my late-twenties (!), it’s probably time I get a little more intentional about things.
I’ve never been one to make a big deal about birthdays. I don’t care about gifts (I much prefer a thoughtful card) and the idea of hosting a dinner or night out with a bunch of people makes my skin crawl. My ideal birthday really is traveling somewhere new with people that I love. So check and check for 27!
But I do love the idea of spending some time being reflective and intentional about the year behind me and the year ahead. So without further ado, here are some questions and goals I have for myself for 27.
Reflecting on 26; Looking ahead to 27
What do I like about my life?
A lot of things! On the day to day, it’s easy to get down about little annoyances. But on the whole, my life is pretty freaking amazing. Right now, I love that I get to work in travel, writing and social media. I love living with Colin and Ellie in Prague. I love how much I get to travel and how much freedom I have with my work and my schedule.
What is the most important habit that adds to my day-to-day living?
One habit I love that Colin and I do is we end every day by asking each other the best part of our day, the worst part, and the part we’re most thankful for. I like doing a little recap of the day, checking in with my partner and always ending with gratitude.
What am I happy about from the past year that I will continue next year?
I’m really happy with how much traveling I’ve been able to do. And not just the trips, but the lifestyle I’ve set up where I’ve been able to make travel such a huge part of it. Living in Prague, that will definitely continue into the next year.
Did I take anything for granted?
I think I took my freedom for granted. I’m so fortunate to work from home and to be able to set my own schedule. I want to take more advantage of that and be more intentional about how I spend my days. I also think I took for granted how amazing it is that I have a partner who not only supports me in traveling but has made so many sacrifices to make it part of our lives.
Did I nurture my passions this year?
I did! This blog is a huge passion of mine. So is traveling and reading, both things I’m spending a lot of time doing.
Am I happy with my life right now?
I am. It’s tough for me to see it every day but when I step back, I am so happy. But I think I can improve on that by doing the small things that will help me to feel happy every single day.
What habits – if any – held me back last year?
There are a few habits I need to kick. I need to spend less mindless time scrolling on my phone or watching garbage TV. I need to get over my desire to have a sweet treat after every meal. And I need to start getting more serious about the promises and commitments I make to myself (the easiest ones to break!).
If I had all the money in the world, and no limitations whatsoever, what would I be doing?
This question actually puts a huge smile on my face because I’m kind of doing it. With all the money in the world, I would want to be living abroad, traveling as often as possible with Colin and Ellie, and working on a book or some other writing project. It’s very cool to know that I am kind of living my dream.
What are my most memorable moments of the last year?
When I think about my last year, I find I count time in trips. My highilghts of the year are always the amazing places I have been. All of my trips from last year: London and Iceland with Colin, Amsterdam and Paris with dad, Christmas in Toronto, Southeast Asia, moving to Prague, and our European explorations; they all stick out as my most memorable moments. And I intend to create many more this year.
Did I try something new in the last year?
Colin and I did 30 days of no sugar added eating. That was an experience! I don’t think I’d recommend it or want to do it again, but I definitely want to eat better.
If I were my closest friend, what wish would I wish for myself for this coming year?
I would wish that I take advantage of opportunities, push myself outside of my comfort zone and live life to the fullest in Prague.
What was my greatest learning of this last year?
I think I learned a lot about how to be intentional, how I want to live my life and that I do have options. For a while, itt started to feel like I was stuck. Because we bought a home in Surrey, had a dog and Colin had a fixed job, it was feeling like travel and living abroad weren’t an option for us. But that wasn’t true. We just had to get a little creative. And I’m so glad we didn’t just fall into a routine but did the work to create a life that we want.
What was my greatest achievement of this last year?
Honestly? Making it to Prague. The last few months before we left were a lot of organizing, packing, paperwork and to-do lists. My base stress level was through the roof. The moment we arrived in our apartment and finally unpacked our suitcases, it felt like a huge weight off my shoulders.
How do I define success and did I achieve that this year?
I have talked before about defining success and not wanting to get stuck defining it in monetary terms. Because financially speaking, I’m not a huge success. My blog makes no money and I know many people my age who are making way more than I do. But I don’t think success is just about money. After all, as I mentioned above, what I would do with all of the money in the world is pretty close to what I’m doing right now. That, to me, is success.
How old would I be if I didn’t know how old I was?
This question makes me laugh! I think the idea of running off to Europe and living abroad, and not because a job transferred you but because you wanted to, is a bit of a young person’s idea. But then working full-time as a freelancer, owning a home, being in a partnership and having a dog are usually traits of an older person. So maybe I’m right where I’m supposed to be at 27.
What are my goals for next year?
Check them out below!
My Goals for 27
27 goals to accomplish at 27 years old!
1) Finish a story: I have started so many stories but have never managed to finish one. Writing a book is one of my life goals and I’d love to tick it off at 27. It doesn’t have to be good, or long, or ever get published. It just has to get finished.
2) Walk 10,000 steps a day: I got a FitBit for Christmas and was really on the ball going after those 10,000 steps. I crushed it while we were in Southeast Asia, getting over 20,000 steps in places like Singapore and Angkor Wat. But then, as things got crazy with our move, I fell off the FitBit train and stopped wearing it. I’ve recently put it back on and want to recommit to this goal. It’s hard to get that many steps when you work from home in front of a computer, but I need to try.
3) Get more creative in the kitchen: I’m no chef but I can whip up a few things in the kitchen. I prefer to wing it when it comes to sauces and spices, looking at recipes and measurements as more of suggestions than strict rules. Colin is totally the opposite; he loves sticking to a recipe. But I often feel like we are re-doing the same few dishes. I’d love to add some more options to our kitchen repertoire.
4) Floss (almost) daily: I’m no saint so I know it would be unrealistic to floss daily. But I do need to start doing it at least a few more times a week than I currently do. I have no desire to figure out the Czech dental system, so I need to keep my teeth in shape until we get back to Vancouver!
5) Keep reading: As I shared on my Instagram Stories, I used to be a huge reader. Unfortunately, leisure reading fell to the side when I got to university and had textbooks to read instead. And then after university, I kept trying to get back into reading but never really managed it until I gifted myself an e-reader this May. Since then, I’ve been reading up a storm and loving it. I want to keep that going for 27.
6) Travel solo: This is something I have done before but it’s a goal I want to have every year of my life. I think solo travel is so important. You learn more about yourself, you depend on yourself and you answer to no one but yourself. And yes, you can travel solo even if you have a partner back at home. I’ll actually be crossing this one off early when I head to Stockholm solo in mid-August.
7) Visit 45 countries: I know this goal is a bit shallow as country counting is pretty vain. But it’s also one of the only quantifiable ways to look at travel and I am proud of how much of this world I have seen and explored. As of our trip to Vienna, Austria, I am at 38 countries. And with Stockholm and Copenhagen coming up in the next couple of months, I will hit 40. Can I fit five more in before I turn 28? Fingers crossed!
8) Quit my Milka addiction: Milka is a European chocolate brand, with as many flavours and as ever-present as Cadbury or DairyMilk back home. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of popping down to the Potraviny (convenience store) and grabbing a Milka bar way too often.
9) Learn 100 words in Czech: At first I was going to say 50 words but hey, let’s shoot for 100!
10) Post consistently to TOA: Since February 2018, I have been posting a new blog every week on Teaspoon of Adventure. That’s pretty impressive (considering I have gone six months without a post in the past). I’ve recently started posting two times per week, as I think I’ll have more content with us living abroad and travelling more, and I want to keep that up for all of 27.
11) Find joy and accomplishment every day: I have this awful habit of getting really disappointed around 9:00 PM and complaining to Colin that we should do something that isn’t just sit on the couch, scroll on our phones and watch TV. Only, it’s too late and I’m too tired to think of anything to do, let alone actually go and do it. Part of the problem is that I have a hard time heading to bed if I don’t think I accomplished anything or did anything fun during the day. A day of work and dinner in front of the TV bores me. So I need to work on finding the joy in my days, where it already exists and where I can bring in more.
12) Host something: This one is out of my comfort zone, but I’d like to try it. I want to host something – a dinner, a party, games night. Bonus points if we could do it while we’re living in Prague with new friends!
13) Connect with friends in Prague and back home: As an introvert who works at home and lives with my partner, it can be very easy for me to fall out of touch with friends. But I don’t want to do that. I want to push myself to go out to events here in Prague and be social. With my friends back home, I want to write more cards and schedule more Skype dates.
14) Pick up a hobby or start a class: I’ve told Colin I want to drag him to a ballroom class for years now. 27 might be when that finally happens!
15) Finish our Prague bucket list: Colin and I have a Prague bucket list filled with sights, restaurants, views, parks and more that we want to see and do while we’re in Prague. It’s so fun to check things off the list and I really want to finish them all before we leave. It’s a great way to remind us to take advantage of living here and live it to the fullest.
16) Establish a morning routine: I want a nice way to start the day and get into a good headspace before I start working. Right now, it’s scroll through my phone for way too long and then go walk Ellie. But I’d love to ignore my phone, drink water, journal, stretch, dance like a fool and go on a walk before sitting down and starting my work for the day.
17) Live in the present, not the future: This is something I really struggle with. I am always planning for the future, dreaming of an upcoming trip, keeping a list or worrying about what we have to do. I don’t spend nearly enough time enjoying the moment.
18) Stretch daily: Especially important since I spend all day slouching over a laptop.
19) Get photos taken: This is another one that is outside of my comfort zone but feels really fun. I’ve never had professional photos taken, besides when I’ve been in someone else’s wedding or my graduation photos for school. But I love the idea of capturing memories in my life that aren’t a wedding day. Living in Prague for a year is a huge life moment for Colin, Ellie and I, and I want to capture that. The idea of taking pictures freaks me out, but I want to push myself to give it a try.
20) Keep up the expat spirit back in Vancouver: Our time in Prague is on the clock. We’re planning to leave at the end of May, which means we only have 10 months to explore this city. We have a bucket list we’re working through and we push ourselves to go out to events, take day trips, try new restaurants, explore new parks, and even admire the buildings we walk past each day. I want to take that same spirit back to my life in Vancouver. There’s so much to see and do in Vancouver that I’ve never done and have always taken for granted.
21) Submit writing for publication: This is my baby-step goal before “get published in (insert fancy publication here).”
22) Do a nightly tidy: I really like to keep things organized. It makes me feel more settled and stress-free when my surroundings are clean and clutter-less. It’s very Mari Kondo of me, I know. But it seriously makes such a difference. Colin and I always noted that every time we had to clean our Surrey apartment for a viewing, it felt so much more serene to see the minimalist space. So I want to start doing a quick nightly tidy to have that feeling every day.
23) Go to a show: I’m sure I will have no problem accomplishing this goal, but it’s nice to have some easy and fun goals on the list, right? I love theatre and look forward to seeing a musical, play or concert sometime soon. Have I been looking at tickets for Hamilton or Cursed Child in London and pricing flights? You better believe it!
24) Go on a hike: As you may have read in my bio on the right sidebar or on my About page, I am not a hiker. I really wish I was. I want to be a person who goes out and hikes for fun. But (at the moment at least) I am not. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good view. But I get winded walking up the slightly inclined street to our grocery store. So I want to push myself to go on a hike this year and maybe become a hiker one day.
25) Unplug more: As a freelancer, I work on my laptop and my phone. It feels like I’m always on and I don’t like that. I don’t want to be always thinking about and doing work. And even for non-work activities, I don’t want to spend all my free time mindlessly scrolling through social media.
26) Do more random acts of kindness: Both for people I know and strangers too, I want to do more random acts of kindness. It’s so easy to compliment someone, send a sweet text, pick up a coffee tab or feed a parking meter. These simple things make me feel good and make the other person feel good too. So why not do more of this?
27) Make 27 epic: Whether I complete all of these goals or not, I want 27 to be a truly epic year. I want to be more intentional with my time and money, say yes to adventures, and say no to things that drain me or waste my time. I want to make the most of this year abroad and take that attitude into the rest of my life.
If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading! While it’s probably not your birthday, you don’t need a special day to reflect on your life and set some goals. What goals do you have for the next 365 days?
Inspire someone else to get a little self-reflective: Pin it!