I was feeling so anxious last night. My husband and I made a very logical decision. But I had to keep telling myself it was a logical and very responsible decision. It didn’t require a whole lot of thought or work to achieve and in the end it will probably save us some money. Then why is it so hard to feel ok about it? Why do I feel like I am missing out on something? Why do I feel like I am turning my back to an old friend? Why am I giving such deep emotion to a car? Yes, you heard me right….. a car.
Let me explain a little.
So last year, we decided to try being a one vehicle family. We traded in both of our current vehicles and bought a new 2016 model. Since I was working so close to home (literally less than a half mile) we thought only having one car for a while just made sense. We picked out a new car, with all the bells a whistles and shared it for over 6 months. In that time, if I needed the car I would just take my husband to work and then pick him up later, thus giving me the car the rest of the day. Or when I didn’t need to go too far I would either ride my bicycle or my motor scooter. Over time, my work and social life started to pick up a little more and we also realized that we were putting the miles of two cars onto one, so later in the year we bought a second car (a 2017). This would be my car. By the time we got the second car, the 2016 was a year old and had over 20,000 miles on it! (That is about double what an average person drives in a year.) Now, after 4 months of having my own car, we realized that I still don’t drive as much as my husband does. By the time the 2017 would be a year old it MIGHT have 7000 miles on it.
In comes the logical decision.
This past weekend I really got to thinking about the general maintenance for each vehicle. We have extended service warranties on both vehicles and they are mileage based. Basically, so many services, every 5000 miles, for so many years. Well my husband had already used 4 of his services in the first year alone, while I hadn’t even used my first one yet. So I thought, why not switch cars to balance out the mileage for a little while? I mean I basically picked out both cars and liked both of them anyways, so what difference would it make which one I drove? Makes sense right? Of course it does. But then why do I feel so much anxiety about such an easy decision?
Because I am still learning about how to not place feelings and emotions into inanimate objects.
I have always loved cars. I’ve had so many cars in my 20 some years of driving that I would run out of fingers and toes if I tried to count them all. And I literally loved some of them; gave them names and kept them in spotless condition. Now my husband… not so much. He likes cars as a daily tool, but never really cared too much overall about what he drove. Just not his thing. To him, a car, is literally just a thing. He takes care of his car ok, but nothing like the way I do. My cars have always been clean, inside and out. I love trying to keep that new car smell for as long as possible. I park far away in parking lots to avoid door dings and I visit the car wash often. If I run over a curb, first thing I do is pray to the car gods that I haven’t scratched my wheels. Again, my husband not so much. He doesn’t necessarily “trash” our cars he just views them as what they are; a tool for getting from one place to another, carrying whatever needs to be carried; whether it be people or objects, nothing more, nothing less. If some coffee gets spilled or a window gets left rolled down, no big deal. But my car is almost like my pet. I tend to personify them and when I drive my car I view it as an extension of myself. Like my noble steed. So having to “give up” my new “baby” after only 4 short months feels like, like…. I don’t know. I can’t explain it. Like I am saying goodbye to an old friend after a short, but over due, visit. Which is crazy because the car will come home everyday to our house. It’s not like I sold it to a stranger or dropped it off at the scrap metal yard!
I guess maybe the anxiety comes from a lack of control. I can’t control how my husband will treat my car. I know he isn’t as mindful with our vehicles, but I also know he understands how I like to keep them in good condition. He wouldn’t do anything on purpose to “damaged” the car, but I just feel like I am more careful. Whether that is actually true or not, I really can’t judge. Maybe since I don’t drive as much and my car doesn’t get as much ware and tear, it gives me a false sense of validity that I take care of it better?
So after switching out our things from each car, and parking my “new” vehicle in the garage (what will my car think having to spend the night outside?) we came in and got ready for bed. I started to talked to my husband in a very serious manner. I really wanted him to understand that I wasn’t messing around and that I was really struggling with this new idea. I truly think he did try his best to understand my anxiety. He told me that he understood that it’s always been very important for me to take really good care of my vehicles even before he knew me. He said that he remembered me explaining to him that “a car is your second biggest investment to your house” and that he could understand why I would have some reservations about all this. But he did remind me that financially this was a good and logical choice (plus it was my idea in the first place). Then he said something that really resonated with me. Something that really made me think about how silly I was being for having such anxiety. He said to me:
“Don’t let the things you own, own you.”
I couldn’t have said that better myself if I tried. It was 100% on target with everything I had been trying to live by lately. It was ok to appreciate the things that I had in my life but that was just it. This car was a thing. It was not a person or a pet; it was a thing. Somewhere down the road I forgot that. Sometime in my life, probably when I was younger, I took a turn and started to really place human emotions into an inanimate object. I also was a guilty of letting what I drove speak for what kind of person I was. I traded in cars left and right just to have the newest model with the newest gadgets. Or something faster. Or something bigger. Or…. or….. or…… and so on and so forth. Always looking for something else and never just being satisfied with what I already had. I would literally ride the high of buying that new car but over time it would fade and I would need another “hit”.
Come to think of it, I went through a similar situation about two weeks ago. My three-year old, iPhone 5s, had finally crapped out on me for the last time. I had to face the music and go to the store to buy a new phone. I had been holding off for months. I really didn’t want a new phone. While I was talking with the salesman, I felt that same sense of anxiety and loss of an old friend. I loved that 5s. It was paid off and in my opinion, just the perfect size and shape for me. I felt like the new 7 couldn’t possibly take its place. But here I am, weeks later and I don’t even think about the old phone any more. I already bought a new case for it and several people have told me that they can hear me better when I talk to them on it. The battery lasts a lot longer and it doesn’t just randomly shut itself off anymore.
Why do we do this? Why do we “love” our things so much? I mean we LOVE them. The Minimalist have talked about this many, many times. How can we use a word, that expresses such a deep emotion, so freely, on an object? You love your parents, kids, pets, partners, PEOPLE (and animals); but to love a phone or a car? That’s where the disconnect is. That’s where we need to evolve more and check our priories. We need to:
“Love people and use things, because the opposite never works.” -The Minimalist
Change isn’t easy and it is an ongoing process. I heard my husband leave this morning in our car and I got hit with a little rush of anxiety again. But after finishing this up and really putting things into a different perspective, I can say I feel a little better. I feel like in a weird way doing things like this, letting go of my car, letting go of that control, is something I really needed to do in order to evolve a little bit more.