I haven’t written a Reality Wednesday in a while, partly because every day around here is Reality Wednesday – the real-life, in-the-mud, hardscrabble struggles of everyday life. Reality Wednesday is the flipside of Facebook, where everyone always seems to be having fun with their friends, traveling abroad, or buying beautiful new cars.
That last one is my focus for today because we seem to always be in a never-ending cycle of having a car that’s either broken down or about to break down. Our situation is compounded by the fact that if we want to get up and down our steep driveway in the winter in northern Michigan, a 4WD is an absolute necessity. We are not city dwellers who drive an SUV because we want to drive it up mountains on the weekends. We literally cannot go anywhere without a 4WD.
I try hard not to fall into the trap of comparison, because as mentioned here, I’m part of the group of Old Mission Peninsula residents that are NOT wealthy, that struggle to pay bills from month to month, and that fret constantly about said bills not getting paid.
And comparing what you have to what everyone else has is a losing game. Comparing makes you sad. Comparing makes you angry that you don’t have what undoubtedly (you say in your head) would make your life way easier. Comparing steals your joy right out from under you. Comparing makes you ungrateful for the blessings that are right in front of you. If you are constantly comparing your work, your finances, your life to everyone else, you are missing out on your own life, and missing out on the joy that comes from cheering someone else on. We’re all in this together, after all.
That’s not to say that my line of reasoning always works. When our 1998 Jeep broke down on the way to town last week, all I could think about was how amazing it would be to have a brand new car that at least had a reasonable period of time where you knew it would run well and you wouldn’t end up coasting it into Fire Station #2 on Center Road, where it would sit for a few days until you got it onto a trailer and hauled it over to your brothers’ cooling pad. (Don’t worry, brothers, it will be headed to Padnos this week – long before cherry season starts.)
For the record, the transmission went out on it, and it’s old and not worth fixing, especially with the non-working 4WD issue.
So instead of coveting a new 4WD vehicle (though, seriously, that would be awesome), here’s what I’m grateful for right now:
1. A community that sees my car at the Fire Station, knows it’s my car without asking, and contacts me to make sure we’re getting where we need to be and oh, here’s my schedule if you need a ride anywhere (Thank you, Maura, and everyone who texted, called or emailed me to make sure we’re ok).
2. The gift of good timing. We knew this day would come. We’d been searching for another Jeep because the 4WD on this Jeep died at the end of last winter, so we’ve been hoofing it up and down the driveway since the first snowstorm last fall (not to mention the little episode with a shattered moon-roof that required a plastic container lid and plenty of Loctite Spray Foam). Anyway, my awesome mechanic-husband found our next car on Craig’s List and we brought it home a few weeks ago. Is it new? Heck, no. In fact, it’s two years older than the Jeep that broke down. But it’s got low miles (150,000, which is low for us), AND the 4WD works great.
3. My awesome mechanic-husband who can fix anything and who’s survived just about every horrible medical crisis you can think of, including three emergency aneurysm surgeries exactly one year ago. Who cares if we’re walking up and down the driveway?! We’re eternally grateful that he’s still here and that we’re still walking together – which, by the way, is great exercise we normally wouldn’t get during the cold winter months. Nothing puts life in perspective like walking on a cold clear night with the stars shining up above.
4. No car payment. Thanks to aforementioned awesome mechanic-husband, we never have a car payment. So that brand new car I think about? It’s a blessing we don’t have that. It’d be one more payment to worry about.
5. A belief that no matter what life throws at us, we always manage to make it through. If only I could get that through my thick skull when I get caught up in worrying about any and everything. But hey, life is messy, and I’m a work in progress.
Happy Reality Wednesday, Everyone.