I did something I’ve never done by myself before – something I wasn’t sure I could do. I bought a car.
I’ve learned to do a lot of things by myself in the last 14 months. Here is a partial list of the hurdles I’ve cleared:
- Changing batteries in fire alarms, which requires standing on a tall ladder, holding my head at just the right angle and uttering a few choice curse words;
- Replacing the line in a weed eater, which requires several trips to the hardware store, asking the guys behind the counter many stupid questions, bending over the apparatus with my mouth held just so as I thread the line … and uttering a few choice curse words;
- Using the aforementioned weed eater to “mow” the small fenced area in my backyard a real mower can’t navigate. This requires curse words and bandaids, because I always manage to slice up my shins, but I can weed whack the shit outta some stuff, ya’ll;
- Purchasing and replacing air filters, which is fairly easy but gross; and
- Rolling the trash and recycling bins down the hill to the street, which is also gross and which requires balance and precision so the bin does not roll down the hill faster than you’re willing to walk.
Point of clarification: Yes, I have a teenage son. Yes, he helps with most of these things. However, I am trying to ensure he doesn’t step into the role of adult too soon. One of the first things I said to him after his dad and I separated was I didn’t want him to feel like he had to take care of me. He can help me – he should and does – but I want him to know I can manage it all just fine on my own, thank you very much.
Until now, though, I hadn’t made a big financial decision on my own.
I did some research online and decided what I wanted. I called the credit union where I had my loan to find out what they would loan me and at what interest rate. I was determined to not incur a monthly payment more than my current payment. I had a plan.
As I worked up my courage to test drive cars, I almost asked my boyfriend to go with me. Then I thought about asking my brother … or even my dad. Finally, I said to myself, “Self, are you crazy? Why do you need a male escort to shop for a car?”
So, I went by myself. I drove the SUV I picked out online. I loved it immediately. I was honest with the finance guy about my less-than-stellar credit and steadfast in my commitment to not pay more per month than I was already paying. And you know what? I got everything I wanted, including a much lower interest rate than my credit union was willing to give me.
One more hurdle cleared – and it was a big one!
There’s a scene near the end of “St. Elmo’s Fire” when Billy visits Wendy in her new apartment. She’s finally moved out of her parents’ house and is starting life on her own. She tells him:
I got up last night to go make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And it was my apartment. And my kitchen. And my refrigerator. And it was THE BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’ve ever tasted.
So, without further ado … meet Wendy.I got her with my salary. And my marginal credit. And my smarts and courage. And she is THE BEST car I’ve ever owned.
There’s a lesson here, of course. When is there not? As Glennon Doyle Melton writes all the time on Momastery, “We can do hard things.” If we have to, we can even do them by ourselves. We may slice up our shins with a weed eater (figuratively and literally, in my case), but we never know until we try.
What’s the hard thing you’ve been thinking about doing by yourself? What’s stopping you? Go do it. I promise it will turn out to be THE BEST (fill in the blank) ever.