(Um...yeah...that's not my car pictured above. Someday...but not right now.)
It’s been a few months now since my last newsletter. A lot has happened and as one might expect, much of it is relevant on this life journey.
First things first: My car got broken late in the summer. (That’s a story in and of itself but we’ll save that for another time.) And what appeared to be substantial damage quickly turned into the insurance company labeling it a total loss.
Total loss—a harsh declaration indeed.
So I started my search for the same car, slightly newer, in my price range. While that goal might seem relatively simple in the Internet age, the task proved to be quite formidable. The search appeared to lead me into one obstacle after another, a false start or two, and a lot of shoulder shrugging from car salespeople.
To make a long story short, I found my car about two weeks ago. Ironically, it was located in my hometown in New York. (But maybe that’s not so ironic when you consider how the Universe often works). So after some back and forth with the salespeople at that dealership, I made arrangements to travel by bus, and then by train, to pick my car up. I felt like a two-month long slog was finally coming to a happy conclusion.
Then, less than 24 hours after I picked up my new car, someone backed into it and dented the driver’s side door.
What. The. Hell?
As I stood on the street, surveying the damage to this wonderful, expensive purchase I had just made, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry hysterically.
I was stupefied. And mad. And confused.
What did this mean? Was this NOT really the car I was supposed to buy? Was this a bad sign? Was it a good sign?
How do we assimilate circumstances like these? How do we frame untimely events so that we don’t automatically categorize them as just plain old bad luck and feel victimized by fate? Because I gotta say, in the moments after that turn of events, all I could feel was anger and disappointment.
So I let it gel for a few days. I let my own observations sort of swirl around the issue, and did what I needed to do to process the insurance claim.
And after considering all of the evidence, I can now see that this accident had to happen. It was a jar to my euphoric rush of finally getting the car I wanted, but it had to happen.
It had to happen because just like my previous car, which I didn’t realize how much I loved it before it was broken beyond repair, I was wayyyy too attached to this new car already. I had made it something too important, too valuable, too precious. (Read: Too much ego—too much me, me, me!)
And so the Universe rushed in to remind me that my beautiful new car was still just stuff. A material good. A liminal object. And it was fixable.
That car is a static thing, no more and no less valuable than how I deem it.
People and experiences are anything but static; they are fluid, energizing and enriching. They evolve us and we grow them. They push and shape us. And they don’t have replacements.
I’d like you to consider what you’re holding on to a bit too much. What are you grasping at and forcing? In what ways can you relax your hold on the things you’ve deemed, perhaps, overly important to who you are? Is it your job title? The stuff in your closet? Your business? What makes that thing so important to you? Would you be less without that thing?
Martha Beck-certified life coach, Equus coach, Penn State journalism instructor and professional writer.