What’s the Plan?

If you don't plan on getting married, and believe me, I don't, when do you sit down and talk about the future? I used to think that one of the major advantages of not getting married was not having to think about the future. Two people could just go along, take things as they come, decide every day what the next day was going to be like. And if they decided that they don't like each other any more, then they could split up. Pretty much free and easy.

It turns out, though, that that kind of doesn't work. Frank and I have been dating for a while now, and there's lots of stuff we might maybe sort of eventually like to do together that requires some amount of saving and planning and paperwork. Things like buying an apartment or eventually retiring someday.

I am a planner aheader by nature. I start thinking about what to make for dinner by 11 am. I mentally pack days before a trip. It's odd that this proclivity has never translated into planning out my life, but for some reason it never has. I never had a five-year plan, or even a one-year plan. When I graduated from college, I not only didn't have a job, I had no idea what kind of job I would even want to have.

Anyway so I have no idea how non-married yet committed couples get all that stuff figured out. Weddings just seem like a natural time to talk about money and that sort of thing, because all that legal stuff changes. Right? But if nothing is changing, really, how do you sit down and say, "Ok, here are some major things we'd like to do in our shared lifetime." It's not like I'm scared to talk about it or don't know how to bring it up. Frank and I have had discussions about buying a place, or where we might want to live someday or how it would be great to travel, but they usually go something like this:

Me: It would be cool to live abroad someday.
Frank: Yeah, definitely.
Me: How do we do it?
Frank: I dunno.
Me: Me either.

And that's the end of things. All that stuff is so complicated, it just seems easier to put it off and keep on keeping on. I'm just kind of worried that at some point we'll wake up and realize that we should've been saving for a down payment the last ten years, or that if we'd done something with our 401ks or whatever, we'd be much richer. Or like I keep meaning to figure out how to give each other medical power of attorney, so that if one of us ends up in the hospital and unable to make decisions, we wouldn't have to wait until they could contact our parents. Of course I haven't really made any headway with it, and of course I probably won't until it's too late and I'm in a coma.

I guess that as we get older and more responsible we'll slowly start to get our shit together. I did eventually get a job, after all, and even though the last five years weren't planned out, I didn't completely screw them up. Thinking too much about the future makes my head hurt. I'm pretty sure that's not an admirable quality, but there it is. I suppose I'm a bumbler rather than an achievable action stepper. As long as I don't end up in a coma, I guess I'm doing something right. I don't know.