Saturday, July 25, 2009

Living With Less

I am still trying to figure out how to live without income and how to make decisions that are reasonable and make sense. I tell myself I cannot spend money because I am not making any money, and I had better get accustomed to living with less. I believe I have been working toward this for months, but I am not very good at it. I have been using my debit card exclusively, so I know where my money is going day to day. When patients pay me cash, I do not deposit the money and try to keep track about where it disappears to.

I went shopping at Marshalls today. I am looking for three large duffel bags that roll, but have yet to find what I envision will work for us and may have to modify my expectations. I found all sorts of clothes for Maya and myself, but as I approached the cashier, I realized that I did not need everything I had chosen and, feeling guilty, I brought the buggy to the service desk and informed the clerk that I had changed my mind and would not buy anything. I scooted out of the store, relieved that I had not spent money, but curious about this novel behaviour of mine. What do I need? How sparely shall we live?

I scheduled patients at my office today, but the second patient was also expected to pay a huge bill, and he did not show up for his appointment. I had planned to deposit his cheque and then get online and pay for a flight to Providence on Southwest, rather than driving up to Woods Hole tomorrow to see Eric for a few days. I made the decision not to buy the tickets because I did not get the money I expected, so I will drive the nine hours tomorrow with Maya in the care watching Star Wars. I would rather fly, but I could not justify the expense.

Living with such limitations is new to me. In the past, if I needed more cash, I would simply work harder and cover whatever was needed. My means are finite now, and there is no option to work longer hours to make up for any excesses. I am already feeling cramped by this new lifestyle. Normally time is money, and driving nine hours would never make sense. But perhaps time is freer now, and I can enjoy the view from the highway. I was actually looking forward to the planned drive to Florida. I had not been on a long road trip on my own for years and years, and I thought Maya and I would enjoy seeing different states and staying at roadside motels. I had planned to organize the route to explore new and interesting towns. Now that ERic is worried that we will not get our visas in time, he would like me to stay in Baltimore until the day of y flight from Miami to Quito. He will drive the car to St Pete later in the month. I had hoped that Maya would see her grandparents in Florida before our year away, but that is no longer possible. I am more optimistic about the visa, so I was ready to plan the drive anyway. Now I have scheduled the doctor's appointments, but I would cancel them in a heartbeat. I am very eager to get moving on this adventure and be in Ecuador.

Maya on the other hand prefers to stay longer in Baltimore. She is sad and irritable and pushing to stay until the end of August. Change is so difficult, and our lives are so unsettled and irregular. There is a ballet camp in Carlisle PA (or Pennsyltucky as she calls it) that she has her heart set on. I believe that with all the preparation, it is best to move on and start our lives in Ecuador, rather than holding off any more. I am so very eager to start our adventure.

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