It’s better a little over a month since I paid off my student loans. Every day since February 15 feels like a breath of fresh air. I took a short hiatus from blogging to take everything in and decompress for a while, but I’m back now! And although, I am feeling slightly directionless at the moment about where I want to take this blog next, my fingers have been itching to start typing again. I’ve said from the beginning of this blog that I want it to transition with me through my life events. I named it “Wildest Dreams” for that sole reason. I want this blog to be almost like a diary of some sort, where I can look back at my past and see how far I have come.
At some point through my debt journey I felt like that last payment day was never going to come, I knew focusing on my future goals would ultimately be what I needed to push myself forward to make it to the end of my debt journey. Paying off debt was a huge goal for a long time, but it does not define me as a person. While I still plan to talk about money here and there it probably won’t be my primary focus anymore. That beginning said, I feel like I am currently at crossroads. There are so many things on my mind right now that I want to start accomplishing; dreams that I have pushed aside while I paid off my debt. The possibilities seem endless now that I am 100% debt free, and I feel like I can finally start focusing my attention on working on that dreams list I wrote at the beginning of last year.
So where has been attention been focused on this last month? Besides continuing to work at my side hustle and working on my savings goals, most of my attention has been focused on wedding planning! Last November jmr proposed to me, and I have been in wedding planning mode ever since. There is nothing I love more than planning and organizing (I’m super type-A) so even though I was still finishing off paying my student loans when he proposed, wedding planning gave me an outlet. It was so nice to have something to focus on other than debt for once. Marrying jmr was my number one dream I wrote down after becoming debt free. I wanted to start our life together both beginning debt free. (He was already debt free.) I know there will always been big expenses we will have to pay for like a mortgage and costs related to kids, but I wanted to make things slightly easier on us by limiting all my debt prior to getting married. Since paying off my debt we have been able to put down deposits on big planning items and so far have booked our church, venue, DJ and photographer. This past weekend I also bought my wedding dress…
I feel like it is also bringing us closer as a couple since it is a project we are working on together. We are having so much fun with it and can’t wait to see the finished product next year, and to finally be married of course.
Besides wedding planning I also started working out – Pilates at home mostly. (Trying to work on that #weddingdiet. Ha!) The wedding may have a little to do with it, but honestly it has been making me SO good. Not just physically, but mentally too. We’ve also been eating super healthy as well, not that we didn’t eat healthy before. We’ve always had a pretty good diet. We avoid processed foods, I cook most nights at home and I try to make everything we eat from scratch, but I really felt like we could be a little better when it came to dinner choices (example: cutting out pasta dishes even though the sauce was from scratch). We now try to stick to a completely whole-food plant based diet. I’ve also been drinking a green juice every morning with jmr (he’s been juicing every morning since July 2015) and I have been trying to drink 2 litters of water a day. I bought a 48 oz. water bottle from REI and I take it everywhere. It’s huge. (I drink 1 ½ of that bottle a day).
Lastly, I have been spending a lot of time focusing on something I’ve always had a passion for but had to limit somewhat when I was paying off my debt – travel. Jmr and I have a goal to visit all 50 states. So far I’ve been to 18, with the plan to add at least 4 more this year to my list (see map below). Last fall we wanted to take a long weekend trip to Minnesota, but ended up pushing it off because I didn’t want to sacrifice making my normal accelerated SL payment. Now that I don’t have any debt, all the money I was putting towards it a month goes straight into a savings account which allows me to book a random weekend trip whenever I please. We decided on Memorial Day weekend and have already booked our hotels and bought tickets to see a Twins game (this is my first time seeing a baseball game not at Busch Stadium). We also are going to spend a night in Iowa and visit Wisconsin during that trip as well.
In July jmr and I are taking a week trip to Tybee Island, Georgia with his family and in October I’m going on a five day trip to Lockport, New York with my Aunt (we are going for a murder mystery dinner on a train, but also are going to see Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls and spend a day in Canada).
And if I am REALLY lucky I’ll be able to talk jmr into taking (separate) weekend trips to Oklahoma and Nebraska this year. We both need to mark them off our list and they are drivable from St. Louis. He’s not as thrilled as I am about these trips. I woke up this morning and told him I had a dream about Nebraska, to which he replied “You are probably the only person in the world to say those words.” HA!
Next year we have planned (separate) bachelor/bachelorette parties to New Orleans and, if we can get the time off work, cross your fingers and toes, we want to take a two week honeymoon, flying into LA and then driving all the way to Canada using the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping in multiple cities in California, Oregon and Washington.
Becoming debt free was an amazing feeling in itself, but it’s even more amazing to start seeing all your dreams come true – because of that ONE goal you accomplished. I may be at crossroads at the moment, not really focusing on one particular goal, but I also like the freedom of circling around multiple things the interest me.