Grateful for Our 5 Hours in Auschwitz

Once inside the death camp you begin to understand the sheer volume and scale at which these mass murders took place. The camp is expansive, beyond the horizon, with only barbed wire fences, very few buildings, and brick crumbles of what was left of the factory furnaces. Yet, somehow within the ruins, there is order to everything. The organizational system is so clear it’s maniacal. The methodic planning and vision that went into building this place is uncanny. How could humans, people we share our very DNA with, have had the foresight and brutality to construct not just a death camp, but a death camp of this size and assembly-like fashion organized to destroy these poor victims at such speeds and volume that factories put together cars. This place sickened me.

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The Milestones of FI

Reaching FI or fat FI doesn’t mean it’s time to sit on your ass and do nothing. Hopefully over the several years it took you to reach this milestone you’ve thought about and maybe even started implementing ways you want to live your life. This might mean blogging, writing a book, volunteering, spending more time with family, working part time for a company with a desirable manifesto and moral backbone, or focusing on your painting or fitness goals. Or maybe I’m being too cynical and you love what you do now, keep doing it but without the added stressing of needing a paycheck. Whatever it is be mindful of the lifestyle you choose to lead after FI. It should be a life of value and meaning. It doesn’t have to be a busy or overloaded one that mirrors the 60 hour work week you wanted to leave behind, but it should compensate the hard work you put in to achieving FI. Do something worth while with your new found time. I would guess that most people, myself included, strive for FI because they recognize just how valuable, precious and limited their time is and most of it is dedicated to work instead of family, to commuting instead of traveling, and to busy tasks and lengthy meetings instead of hobbies and passions. FI is a way to get that time back and put it towards what truly matters to you.

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The Best and Worst Advice for the 20-Somethings of the World

I traversed my 20s between 2009 and 2019, alongside the influx of social media that increasingly normalized a chaotic, and sometimes painful, decade of life when realities like having only $7 to your name is masquerading in the form of YOLO-ing and #sorrynotsorry. A global financial crises paired with the high cost of tuition and topped with an aging paradigm in our cultural mindset primes the way for situations like this, especially early on in our 20s when we’re making shit money and even more shit at managing it. And I am no stranger to this. I once over-drafted my checking account at a baseball game for a beer. Yeah, that beer, pictured above. A frivolous purchase to perpetuate my already drunken state.

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Passive Investing: How to Float Your Way Through the Economy

You need to be mindful of your money and how that impacts your future. There’s no lottery coming your way, no wealthy individual waiting to sweep you off your feet, no inheritance check, no one to throw you a life line. Whether or not those things may actually be true, you never know when either one might run out ::I’m looking at you, social security:: Don’t rely on somebody else to save your ass! You don’t need to understand the stock market at a level to hold conversations with Warren Buffett – you just need to understand that investing today is essential for your future. The rest will come together and I, along with some amazing other bloggers I’m going to mention, will help distill the information. Got it? Good.

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6 Quirks I've Noticed Since Living in Germany

Well, it’s official. I’ve been living in Germany for exactly one full month. Not long enough, by any means, to feel like a local but long enough to observe some unique quirks and social norms different from my American companions. My German boyfriend explained a lot of this to me prior to moving here but my stubbornness refused to believe the extent of which these things are true. Quirkiness can be frustrating when you don’t understand where it’s coming from. In an effort to better understand the culture I’m living in and instill some empathy for why things are the way they are I did a little digging on these observations and here’s what I’ve found:

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Decluttering 101: The Why & How of Minimalistic Purging

…it happened. I was sucked deep into the black hole of the internet where I read story after story of people who significantly downsized and turned their backs on conventional consumerism and were actually happier because of it. The more blogs I read and podcasts I listened to, the more fascinated I became with the concept of minimalism and intentional living. I didn’t just want to begrudgingly dispose of my possessions. I wanted to embrace it. We all know, superficially, what matters in life. Ask anyone and a majority will tell you it’s things like family, health, and well-being, but most won’t show you that. I was no different and I no longer wanted to live that kind of life.

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5 Mistakes I Made That Racked Up $70,000 in Student Loan & Consumer Debt

Going into debt is not inevitable nor should it be considered a ‘normal part of life’. It’s not like getting braces, having an awkward first kiss or getting a pimple. Instead, our financial choices can last much longer than our awkward teenage years. Deciding to take on debt should hold more weight than it currently does and it’s something you need to seriously consider before signing up.

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Stop Making New Years Resolutions – They Don't Work!

Maybe it’s the intrusive crowding at my gym come January, or the incessant hype around unrealistic resolutions paired with lack of expectation management and vision, or maybe, I’ve grown cynical in my old age ::wink:: Either way, I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions and, truthfully, I can’t remember the last time I made one. Don’t get me wrong – I love goals and lifestyle challenges but these should be predicated on a deep yearning for growth and change brought on by self-reflection, not because the clock strikes midnight on December 31st.

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What is Minimalism?

I wrote and re-wrote this post about four times. I struggled with the best way to describe minimalism without sounding generic. On paper it’s not difficult to define, but in real life it’s a little more complex. Minimalism is not a yes-no or black-and-white lifestyle. It’s full of gray areas with idiosyncrasies, sometimes irony and the four letter word many people hate – work. So, I decided to speak freely from the heart and describe what minimalism has done for me without the bells and whistles or the curated ‘moment of epiphany’ story that seems to align so perfectly with a life lesson. Minimalism has never been that for me. Like I said, it’s work, especially at first. But, eventually it becomes entrenched in your life and the benefits are beyond rewarding.

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5 Things You Should Know Before Moving Abroad

Be mindful that this process will most likely happen, probably several times. Do not over romanticize the idea of moving abroad. Do not underestimate the challenges on a logistical level or the culture shock and adjustments on an emotional level. Do your best to ride the waves – the highs and lows – and embrace it. While there is not much you can do to prepare for the uncanny valley you will undoubtedly experience when moving abroad, I think it’s helpful to be mindful of it and just enjoy the ride!

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Our *Schlep Through Rome, Italy

Now, just a brief background as it pertains to the context of this post, my father’s side is Jewish, which is how I was raised. We are very reform. In fact, so reform that we had a gay rabbi (unheard of) and a woman cantor (very rare until about 10-15 years ago) at our synagogue. I like to think we were ahead of the time. I didn’t realize then but looking back I fully appreciate how progressive and accepting our congregation was. Full transparency: while I am proud of my ancestral heritage, appreciate a lot of what Judaism teaches and respect those who practice, as an adult I have never been religious myself. I’m also not here to debate or *kvetsh about the race, ethnicity, religion or cultural prose around Judaism. Instead, I’d like to share my experiences in Rome surrounding Jewish history. Regardless of personal beliefs or creed I hope you find interest in our excursions, enjoy my *spiel, and consider checking these things out if and when you make it to Rome.

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What is F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence Retire Early)?

Early retirement sounds great on paper but it’s actually really really really boring. Sure, the first couple months to a year might be nice, especially if you’re leaving a stressful, fast paced job ::flash forward to sipping Mai Tais on a beach:: But people need to feel like they’re contributing to society. And one too many Mai Tais leads to a bad hangover. We need goals to work towards, tasks to stay busy, socialization and community. We get a lot of this from our jobs. Many young adults who become financially independent go on to do things they are passionate about at their own speed without the added pressure of needing a job for income; they take lower paying jobs in a non-profit sector they truly care about, start their own business, switch careers, become stay-at-home parents, volunteer, or fully engulf themselves in their hobbies. It’s a chance to slow down and take a more mindful approach to life. It’s freedom.

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