Nelly's Birthday: My Declaration of Independence
It was 2 am and I sat sniveling in my silk pajamas at my computer. I had decided to call my sister in the morning before our families got together for the 4th of July festivities and tell her I would not be writing a “humorous” book about organizing household finances with her. The reason was simple; I had no business telling anyone what to do when it came to money. At the not-so-tender age of 59 I had no retirement, no savings and I was $26,000.00 in credit card debt! The book we were to write together would absolutely get me out of debt, but my ethics would not allow me to be part of a lie. No way could I write a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do book.
The date was July 4, 2002 and one of those major pivotal moments in my life. I know how George Bailey in the movie A Wonderful Life, felt standing on the bridge contemplating suicide although I was never even close to doing that, I sent out a major request, “Help me God, help me.”
God breezes can come in strange ways. My God breeze came in the form of a question. “How old have you been acting when it comes to your finances?” I’d never put an age to my financial behavior. It was hard to answer the question at first, so I asked a question. “What do you mean?”
“Well, think about it,” the questioner continued, “you are 59 years old and you aren’t concerned in the least about your retirement. You have the optimism of a child and when you see something you want you charge it. You use your credit cards as if they are your source of income. You know what the experts on finance all say is true, but you don’t want to mind them. Should I go on?”
“NO! I get it!”
The list made me think of my granddaughter McKenzie. I’d just taken her shopping and she was a little I-Want machine. She had no concern for the cost or how she’d pay for it; she just wanted it, NOW. She was nine-years-old.
“Okay, nine!” I said to my interrogator.
“Yes, Pam Young, you have an inner child, age nine, who has been handling your money and if you want to help others who are in similar financial circumstances, get to know this little one, name her, get her cooperation and you will get out of debt. Oh, and you will enjoy the ride.”
An angel came to me that night, but she wasn’t an old man with a copy of Tom Sawyer’s Huckleberry Finn, she was a little girl with pigtails, freckles and a pouty mouth. She is my inner child complete with all the attributes of a nine-year-old, including the immaturity. I named her Nelly, because I perceived her as a real brat like the Nelly on Little House on the Prairie. I even built a website in her honor and called it The Brat Factor, because at the time I truly perceived Nelly as a really, really big brat.
Every July 4th I not only celebrate our country’s independence, I celebrate my “conscious” relationship with Nelly and my freedom from unwanted behaviors.
I no longer call Nelly a brat and I’ve even changed the name of my website to Make it Fun which of course was Nelly’s idea. In eleven short years she has gone from a brat to a happy child and with her cooperation I was able to get out of debt, lose thirty-five pounds and I’m enjoying my life with child-like joy! Why not live by her motto: Make it fun and it will get done and watch what happens?