A few weeks ago, as the cursor hovered above the registration link for Camp Mighty, I struggled with the thought of taking something this big just for myself. I had done it before, but for some reason this felt different. That time before, eleven days in the High Sierras, felt worth the travel, cost, time away. This time felt selfish, like a splurge with no real backing to justify it. Even though this was the weekend I had been hearing about and lusting over for the past year and a half, even though I knew that it would be inspiring to be among all those amazing women, I still hesitated.
For a long time I have felt the burden of being the only one of us with health care or benefits or a salary. For years I've struggled with knowing that I couldn't leave my job even if I wanted to, that every financial decision was based on what I brought in, that the big raise I received just as Mike's final year of school and student loan were running out in 2011 meant that I covered the difference in his new, lower paying temp job. So I never really felt that raise because it was immediately put towards something else. But it was ok, when Mike decided to go back to school I knew we were in this together, that what was mine was his. And that it had been that way since the beginning.
Just a few months out of college and six months into dating, I admitted to Mike that I was in debt-I was so irrationally scared of facing it or the collectors and wanted to just let them disappear. I was young and should never have been given a cell phone or credit card but I was and those companies had me where they wanted me. Mike wouldn't have it and sat with me as I called each and worked out a payment arrangement. At the time I was unemployed and living off the little I had saved from college graduation and my very generous roommate and best friend in Boston. Mike took what he had and paid them off*. Six months into dating and he was already sure that we were in this together, that what was his was mine.
But now the scales have balanced. Our finances have always been combined but now there is a feeling that we each have, where before it had always been one more than the other. And so the investment in a weekend away to learn and create and do some good is happening: Camp Mighty, here I come.
*It should be noted that even though Mike told me around this time that "I was the woman he was going to marry", I was a bit more skeptical (hey, child of divorce, our skepticism runs deep.) And so I took his offer of paying off my debt but paid him back over time, just with the luxury of no interest rates or scary collectors.