This week marked the end of our journey with just one car (for now at least). With a new job for the hubby and an unfortunate need to commute rather far, we coughed up the money to adopt this little beater from a little old lady who is no longer on the roads.
For almost a year, we’ve lived on only one car and have learned a few things along the way. Here’s a glimpse of what we’ve found:
- It CAN be done. Really. I mean it. And frankly, I’d recommend trying it for at least a season in life.
- More time was spent together. If we needed to go to two different places, we were in the car together twice as long. There was no “you go here and I’ll meet you later when I want to.” It was together time, all the time.
- Constant communication is required. Extra coordination was needed for just about every car trip we took, whether it was across town to hang out with friends or a simple quick grocery store run. Sometimes this meant creative problem solving. Either way, we had to work as team to figure it out. It was always “us” against the obstacles. It was challenging but it also allowed for more wins for us as a couple.
- You have to ask for help. In a society where we are supposedly self-sufficient, it can be annoying to ask for a ride or ask for help. But if you have one car and one person is 30 minutes away and a short ride would make all the difference, it’s worth it. And honestly, some of our best conversations have occurred with friends this way. We’ve had an opportunity to be connected with people when we may have otherwise been isolated. This is something we don’t want to change as we transition into this next phase. (A special shout out to all of the friends and co-workers who have shuttled us around from time to time!)
- Sometimes you have to say no. There’s plenty of hard parts to sharing a car and this is one of them. There have been short trips or fun opportunities we’ve had to pass up because there was no way to make it happen. It wasn’t fun, but it was good to understand our limits and also the blessing a car can be. It’s easy to take these things for granted, and I hope we continue to appreciate what we have now with two cars.
- Repairs makes it all the more interesting. Someone recently told us that our car was in the shop more than anyone else they knew. We have had our share of breakdowns, flat tires and unexpected mishaps. All of the above lessons then become amplified tenfold.
- Public transportation is not the worst. It’s not the most convenient or even fully integrated into the community but it is available. Try it. See how your neighbor lives.
- It can save some money. While my daily commute is not short, we only had one tank of gas to fill each week. One car to insure. One car to fix.
One car to wash.Okay, that last one never happened.
- You have to be willing to make it work. Major kudos to the hubby who took on the brunt of this one-car living. For the majority of the time, he biked to work. It was three miles each way and one heck of a hill. Our bike rack was always on the car so that in case it did go to the shop, we could bike there to pick it up. At the end of the day, it was our only car and we had to figure out how to make it work and how to have a good attitude regardless of the inconvenience or rain or embarrassment or car troubles.
- Be grateful for the adventures you do have. It wasn’t easy, but we still had a lot of fun. That car moved with us halfway across the country. It took us on trips to Nashville, Charleston, Asheville, Gatlinburg, the Outer Banks, Philadelphia, D.C. and many more when we were still in the Midwest. It was decorated for Groundhog Day and has carried instruments, boogie boards, camping gear, library books and groceries. It’s driven through rain and snow, mountains and beaches. And you know what? It’s not done yet.