I miss having a car.

In the U.S., not having a car is a huge social stigma. Some people choose not to have a car (they usually live in large metropolitan areas with good public transportation systems) but they still face the fierce judgments of their peers. That hurts, even when you’re in a good financial position.

However, I didn’t choose to be car-less. After my divorce, my old car died and I could not afford to get a new one due to the fact that I was on unemployment and in graduate school. Eventually, a year later, I managed to spend $1000 on a 1985 Volvo which I hoped would run for a couple of years. It might still. But last week the radiator, which I knew had a few small leaks, finally gave up the ghost. And the fact of the matter is that I do not have the money to fix it.

Hello, really big lawn ornament. *sad!face*

In truth not having a car isn’t a huge obstacle for me. I’m centrally located to grocery stores, a laundromat, and the bus lines. The bus system isn’t exactly the bright star of city services but it works and gets me where I need to go. In a pinch, I can walk home from work (it’s a 50 minute walk, but not onerous). Not having a running car saves me about $100/month on gas.

So why do I miss it? Because part of me equates car ownership with adulthood, freedom, and responsibility. The first car I bought for myself, with my own money, was hugely symbolic for me. Now that I’m 43 and car-less, I feel (quite illogically) like a failure. It doesn’t make sense, and is an excellent example of a “first world problem” but there you go.

I miss having a car.

(bonus points for anyone who recognized the song reference!)

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