Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The experiment: part three

An introspective update to our experiment in becoming a one-car family...

The deed is done. Or at least the advertisement is posted. I had trouble sleeping last night. It is true that our cars are a reflection of ourselves and, though I feel silly admitting this, it will be difficult to give this one up.

I was composing a playful blog post in my head over the weekend about the financial implications of selling a durable asset to my personal balance sheet and the mistake of buying a new car to drive for only 4 years. But of course we should not make our decisions based on sunk costs (the past depreciation) but on future cash flows. By that measure I’m doing the right thing today. I did the wrong thing 4 years ago - if I had a crystal ball back then I would not have purchased a new vehicle. I didn’t know when I was starting my job in New Jersey that I would get hooked on mass transit in Dallas in 2006.

But I’m not going any further into all that. I am struck by how emotional the decision is when logic tells me how smart it is. It’s a head versus heart decision. The head is winning but the heart hurts a little. For a thing. How can I be emotionally invested in an object? I didn’t really believe I was until I posted that ad. Perhaps this experience makes it that much clearer that it is not a bad thing to unshackle myself from it. I don’t think it’s bad to like your wheels. But it’s probably a good thing to be reminded that the car is not a part of who I am. And if that means that I am humbling myself in some way, then that can be a very good and healthy thing.

But we do this all the time don’t we? Our homes say something about us. As do all our shiny gadgets – our cell phones, iPods, flat screens, granite countertops, clothing, wrist watches, other assorted bling, etc. In some ways we are our stuff. Our stuff says something about us and what we value. And we choose our stuff based on our lifestyles. I need to try to live in a way that I am not my stuff. I need to live in a way that I am the people whose lives I touch; to be a living prayer. It is something to strive for.

1 comment:

Lee said...

Great post!