On Wednesday, I took the day off work, and Nathaniel and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park. We drove his dad's speedy Porsche up the windy mountain roads and went to look at leaves, mountains and elk (except we didn't see any elk!). We were also searching for a pretty spot to take some portraits (below, taken with Nathaniel's Canon 7D). We have been together nearly 10 years, and spending hours together in the car, we can still talk and talk and talk.
Often times, when we are home at the same time (which isn't enough of the time), we fall into the lazy/exhausted habit of sitting in front of the TV, watching Netflix or HBO Go, not talking about the things that really matter for our future, because those things are scary! Why would I want to spend our little piece of together-time bringing up things that completely stress us out?
Well, lucky for us, these few hours in the car really allowed us to talk about some of the things that are looming over our heads, waiting to be figured out. We finally got to talk about how we want to go about doing some big life events (to an extent). There are a LOT of big expenses that we need to plan for in our life, the closest (probably) being our wedding, which isn't actually being planned. The other "big" things are saving up for a house and having kids (and of course there are lots of other odds and ends, too).
We are extremely lucky that day to day, and month to month, we have enough to get by. We've been able to pay his tuition without too many hitches, and we are able to pay our rent every month. We've even been saving a little more lately than we ever did over the past several years. Some months are better than others, of course, but we can pay our bills, and live pretty comfortably. Unfortunately, money still is one of the big stresses in our life. We know we are a bit too frivolous (we talked about this on our little car-trip), and we talked about what was worth spending, and where we could save some more. It's just so hard to fathom saving for a down-payment for a house, especially when we'd like to end up in Boulder. The houses we'd want could potentially be over a million dollars, meaning the down-payment would be 6-figures. Of course, realistically, we'll probably get a starter home a bit outside of Boulder for a more attainable price, but still...
And there's the more immediate (though there is no official plan/date) expense of a wedding. We've been together over 9 and a half years, we're basically married already, so a wedding is really just a party to celebrate our love with people we love. And both of us agree that we don't want it to cost as much as a new car, which many gorgeous weddings these days easily reach.
Now I will admit that I talk too much about getting married, especially for someone who isn't even engaged. It's hard to not think about it because I know it's going to happen, and Pinterest is a black hole of amazing ideas. I've been trying to talk less about it, because I want to be as surprised as possible when the day I get engaged comes. And I know that I'll have plenty of time to figure the wedding out once we actually are planning. We've also seen a handful of friends already get engaged and/or married, and each time we share those events with our friends, we notice things that we like, and things that we might do differently on our day. Because we were "stuck" in the car, and I just talked and talked, we actually got to talk about where we would save a bit, and where we would splurge a little. I'm not going to go into details, because I want it to be a surprise for you all once we do get married, but I will say that we had a really good talk, and it is really nice to know that Nathaniel also thinks about these things, even if he doesn't just blab about it all the time like I do. We even agreed that we should sit down and write out some sort of "budget" so we can actually actively save. A huge reason we're not married already is how expensive weddings are, so by having a plan, I think we might really be able to get there soon.
Driving through the yellows, reds and oranges of the changing aspen leaves and talking about our lives and what is important to us really made for a nice day. Maybe it wasn't "perfect" in the sense that it took forever to find the right place to take some pictures, the cameras were misbehaving a bit, and there were no elk (at least that we saw). But it was a really good day. We don't often get a whole day together, so being able to enjoy each others' company while talking about our lives together as the world changes around us was so necessary, and so wonderful.
Don't you just love fall?