Who would have thought that buying a new (and by “new,” I mean different) car would bring about such challenging emotions?
Let me explain: The last time I shopped for a car, I was already driving an amazingly cool sports car. I started shopping for my “winter beater” and ended up instead with a fantastic, luxurious sedan that drove like a dream and had nearly every feature I could have imagined… For at least the first six months — and maybe then some — I rejoiced every time I got in the car to drive it…but that was more than a decade ago.
This time, I found myself driven to practicality: low gas mileage, cloth seats (at the children’s request, because leather is too hot), older than I would have liked… And, here’s the truth: I resent it. I resent being in a place where I have to focus more on needs than desires, where I don’t have the financial freedom to buy the car I really want, where the cost of a gallon of gas matters, etc. I’m perfectly certain I sound spoiled for saying so. I know there are zillions of people for whom financial realities preclude the thought of vehicle ownership. I know I should be grateful for what I have. But…
As always, when I’m feeling resentful, my thoughts veer back to my ex and our failed relationship, key reasons for my financial situation. Yet, as I continually remind myself, I made these choices. I made each and every single choice that has me where I am. I settled for a house I don’t love because my wasband liked this one the best; I stayed in a job I didn’t love because I felt trapped under the weight of having to support my family single-handedly; and now I’ve settled for a car I don’t love because it seemed like the most practical thing to do.
Yet in the larger scheme of life, I’m trying to stop settling for less than I truly want. I’m working hard emotionally and otherwise to ensure that I can not only provide for the desires of myself and my children, but also allow for them. It’s okay for me to have what I want. When I shop for clothes, I don’t buy it unless I love it. Like just isn’t good enough. I want to use my resources to surround myself with that which I truly love!
To that end, in this old house that wasn’t my first choice, I have transformed spaces and made it warm and inviting, and a safe place to land. Similarly, I will ultimately reconcile myself to the fact that this car is safer for me, more comfortable for my children, road-trip worthy and, ultimately, provides freedom that I haven’t felt for some time. No longer will I literally fear driving out of town.
And so I try to balance, to reconcile, and to heal the rift between what I need and what I desire, between good enough and my ideal, between resentment and gratitude, between failure and success…and I know that this is just another step along my path. And, even when it doesn’t always feel like it right away, I’m pretty sure it’s a step in the right direction.