Hey, I forgot to tell you! A few months ago I got rid of my car.
It was the first and only really nice car I have ever had and it was a lease and (to me) it was expensive but man did I love that vehicle. In 2015, having that car was really exciting. I loved it, loved riding in it and putting the top down and feeling free. Of course I wasn’t really free because it was a solid car payment every month and I was locked into it for three years. Anyway, at the time it meant something to me and I ADORED that car.
I am glad I had a season of Fancy Wheels and don’t regret leasing it, but by the time my contract was set to expire at the end of last year, my life had … evolved? Changed? Something was different. I still loved the car, but I was absolutely aware (again) that I am not a car person. I put less than 20,000 miles on it in three years. I hate driving. I know some people feel that a car is a necessary extension of their inner being — especially here in Los Angeles! — but I am not living my best life in a car.
So I decided to walk away from the lease. However, this is LA and I do live alone and have two cats and we still need an escape vehicle should the zombie apocalypse arrive, so I turned my attention to finding the cheapest-but-best car available to me and that was how I came to pay cash for a secondhand Fiat Pop. It’s small and fits in my (tiny) parking spot and has low mileage and lower insurance. The best thing about that car is that I have NO car payments! I love it. No Ragrets.
Who knows, maybe in three years I will decide another fancypants car is just the ticket. There are no rules. We change, and not everyone is in the same place at the same time, and our needs and values change as we do. It felt good to make a decision based on what I value right now. I want go places, but not in a car! And the craziest thing was that at the same time I was going through my car decision tree, the Captain was coming up on the end of his lease, too, and he decided to also find a low-cost used car (in his case, a Camry) and we both took one giant step out of car culture.
It was a big step toward something, too: More airplane tickets! What used to be car payment money is now going to be travel money. It made me think about how many decisions we make in a day that help us achieve our personal goals. I wanted to start this year off as my year of NO SHOPPING! And I did a completely terrible job at it. I immediately failed, like on January 1st at 6 am or something I was clicking an amazon.com buy button.
And every day this month I kept asking myself WHAT THE F IS WRONG WITH YOU? each time I purchased a thing I didn’t absolutely need (cat treats, some Vitamin D gummies, Joann Doodles — my ultimate downfall.)
This morning it hit me like a lightning bolt: I was doing that thing you do before a particularly heinous diet, where you can’t for the life of you stop eating junk food. Because soon all the junk food will be taken away and you hate lettuce and life is not happy. (By “you” I mean “me.”) I’m not sure what to do with this information. I still like the idea of keeping my consumerism to an all-time-low. I enjoy feeling like I am working toward a goal. But maybe it was too strident, too all-or-nothing. Maybe my budget needs a little tiny room for cat treats and vitamins … and Doodles (only on sale though, let’s be real, that fabric is too expensive to shrink so much.)
The best part about still being upright is that we get to try again with every breath. Tomorrow is already February 1st can you believe it? I’m excited about February! We are going back to Norway, going to see the Northern Lights (I hope), something I have wanted to do forever. Aaaaand I’m finishing up a super tedious project at work that will be done for another year, and next weekend I will be sewing my first pair of snow pants. Not that I didn’t buy two pairs on amazon mind you (already going back for a refund) but I know I can make a pair and they will fit, as opposed to mass produced snowveralls made for 83-foot tall people.
And thus ends January, my first one in six years with no car payment, my first one maybe EVER without a start-a-diet resolution, no ridiculous personal organizer full of massive to-do lists. Just me out here trying to enjoy being alive today, whatever today brings. WHO AM I???