My little humbug car broke down. Of course he did, with my buying nothing challenge this year. At the back of my mind I think I knew it’d happen, but still, when the engine failed and the suspension snapped in half, it was a wave of frustration that washed over me.
I’d planned on finding new ways around any potential transport problems. So, I tried to look on the bright side. No car means no negative impact on the environment. No car is an opportunity to get out in nature. No car is a way to slow down. No car is less expense.
In the end, I bought a new car. Not brand new, of course, but still, a replacement. After much soul-searching, I concluded that I work 3 jobs, and found that I couldn’t get to the second one on time after I finished the first. The walk home is pretty, well, shall we say ‘stabby’ in the daylight, let alone in the dark. I didn’t feel safe walking an hour and a half in constant worry.
I spent a lot of time worrying about my decision. I looked out of the window and felt a mixed feeling of regret and guilt, with only a little sprinkling of joy. I worried that I’d failed my challenge. I worried that I found it so hard to embrace a car-free existence. I worried about the cost. I still worry about the cost.
I feel guilty that I didn’t try harder to learn to live without a car. I mean, what an opportunity.
But I realised, eventually, not to beat myself up. This year is a year of learning, a journey, an experience. I learned that my commitments are important to me. I learnt that by not having transport at the moment, I’d be denying myself more opportunities than I thought. I learnt that when added up, the cost of driving and running a car is cheaper than public transport. This fact saddens me.
I found that leap too large of a gap for now. But being car free for a few weeks has opened my eyes. I walk more. I cycle more. And I keep my car for the necessary things. My three amazing areas of work are necessary. Essential. I designed my life and I will fight to keep it the way I love it. My new little car is part of that life-a tool, but an enjoyable one.
Yes, I think this means that technically I failed at buying nothing. I hate to fail, but that doesn’t mean I’m quitting. I made a decision and I still believe it’s the right one, for now, for me.
As far as #buynothing2015 goes, I’m at that turning point where I feel free, no longer deprived. I don’t really care that my hoodies are bobbly and my jeans are wearing through. I know I can fix them. So, car aside, I’m continuing to buy nothing this year.
I wonder what the rest of the year will bring?