Next January, Art and I are trading houses with an American couple now living in Ecuador. We'll be in their house for three weeks. As part of that journey, we're considering a side trip to the Galapagos Islands. But the islands are not cheap. Excluding airfare, ten days would cost about the same as our 17-day trip to Italy last fall. When I think about the cost, my bag lady fear twists in my gut.
I know the bag lady fear is not rational and I would like to get over it. So I talked yesterday with a woman who works as a money counselor and calls herself an "untangler". I told her about my mother - who was orphaned by the age of 18, married a military man because "I knew the military would take care of me", and held money out to me and my sister with strings strongly attached. Gifts of money from her were tied to whether we had been "good", and the definition was hazy. Mostly, I think, it was related to how she felt about us at money-giving time.
The counselor suggested that I picked up the idea of a relationship between money and being good when I was a small child - maybe five years old or so. Yesterday, during the phone call, I named that part of me the Little Banker, because she knew she had to watch out for money so she would be a good girl and she would be safe. Therapy stuff. But it made a kind of sense, because I know the bag lady is an ancient fear of mine. Maybe she comes from the idea that if I'm not good, I won't have any money and I'll end up as a bag lady.
The counselor helped me tell the Little Banker that she had done a very good job, but that I would take over the money now, because I'm a grownup and I know how to do that. She could go read or dig clams or whatever else she loves to do.
Anyway, I felt pretty good after that phone call, and I decided to make plans for us to go to the Galapagos next January when we're in Ecuador.
There's a second part to where I'm going with this story. Art and I have an ownership interest in a massage clinic a few miles down the road. Our two business partners Lillian and Sophia own a second clinic close to where we live. Lillian runs both clinics and Sophia works two days a week in the one close by. Last night I stopped by the close-by clinic and Sophia was working. I asked her how she liked working there. She said it gives her a much better idea about how the business runs than just looking at the financial statements, and she recommended I do the same thing. So I talked to Lillian and she said it would be fine if I work at the clinic down the road a couple of days a week, starting in August when I get back from the last of this string of trips. I could easily work weekends, when most people would rather be home.
As I was driving home I realized the extra money I'll bring in will be a good way to pay for our Galapagos trip. The Little Banker doesn't have to worry any more. And the Bag Lady doesn't have anything to say about it.
Just taking care of business, you know.