This summer I did the unthinkable, I let go of my best friend.
And to be clear from the get go, my best friend was a 2003 Silver Honda Civic Si.
Jovie and I have shared countless (some unspeakable) adventures; she was my portable office, where I could hide for a good cry, she kept a vault of my secrets, and brought me home safe through many a Canadian temperamental storm. Outside of the pleasure she brought me, I eventually also had to admit that:
- she was 14 years old and had truly given me the best years of her life (this makes her 98 in dog years… yes I realize she wasn’t a dog, but there is NO way one year of human life equals one year of a car life! Dog years is all I have.)
- she hadn’t produced heat for over two years and I missed feeling my toes during the months of December to March (these two winters were survived by wearing a blanket tucked around my lap while driving).
- that oil was evaporating into oblivion on a daily basis and keeping me in a constant state of frenzy and worry. Countless random stops were made in inappropriate places to double check that there was enough oil in her to get me home! I never left home without a funnel and a back up oil supply!
- that the howler monkey in my dashboard (that would only go away if I lifted my emergency break, or drove with my headlights on) was driving me crazy!
The quirkier she became the more I learned about how to maintain her, especially with the dramatic oil situation. The first time I discovered she was ‘oil-less’ I accidentally (on purpose) put in five litres to fix the problem. She kept taking the oil and showing nothing on the dipstick, so I assumed she needed more! My mechanic restrained himself from laughin as he explained to me that new oil is clear on the stick, and under no circumstances is five litres an acceptable amount of oil to put in a car. I can only imagine him retelling the story to his fellow mechanics, “seriously, FIVE litres! Who’s the real dipstick here?!”
Yet, through the stresses, oil stains, chilly drives, and keeping my headlights on during the brightest day of the summer, I never felt like my car was an inconvenience. She was indeed the most high maintenance friend I have ever had, but she had been a great friend so it was my pleasure to help her through her ‘golden’ years.
What was the official breaking point? My CD player became unreliable. I was no longer able to trust that I would get through listening to an entire book borrowed from the library… I truly wish I were kidding on this point!
I decided that Jovie’s replacement would be a 2017 cherry red, Honda Civic Turbo… my first ever brand new car that nobody else would have driven, eaten or farted in! I was quite pleased about my choice, but during the five days I had between purchasing my new car and actually picking it up was filled with a growing ill feeling of guilt topped up with disloyalty. After all, I was abandoning something I knew well & appreciated for something I knew nothing about and that didn’t know me at all! I was a monster.
I arrived at the Honda dealership and purposely parked Jovie in a hidden back corner so I couldn't see her as I drove away. The feeling of utter illness was at its climax, and I felt like I was going to barf at any moment. I walked away from her after taking a picture of the odometer (so proud of almost reaching 300,000 K) and our last selfie together and I could feel it; my tear ducts filled to the max and ready to release the five days of stress. Then it happened… the dealer saw me and excitedly asked, “how excited are you” and the floodgates exploded with a vengeance. Four other car dealers came running over to see what the emergency was… after all, if a girl is crying this historically there HAS to be an emergency!
I am still discovering the new technology (seriously, who KNEW cars could do what they do now?!) but I am completely smitten! After many a suggestion from friends about what to name her (Cherry Bomb, Merlot, Scarlett, Ruby, Lola Rouge, & Rhonda the Honda being just the tip of the suggestion mountain) I went with Joy. Why? Because that is how I feel the moment I see her every morning before work, it is how I feel when I drive her to any destination, and it is how I feel about the decision to let go and move forward.
I have been asked why I waited so long to make the switch, and my simple answer was that Jovie was still working, so why replace something that wasn’t really broken? But looking back, she really wasn’t working. I simply didn’t want to let go of her. For some reason I assumed if she left, so did all the wonderful memories we created together. And more embarrassingly, I didn’t feel like I deserved a car that didn’t make me work so hard.
The experience truly had me wondering what else I was holding onto that wasn’t benefiting me or that I didn’t feel worthy of. The questions that flooded my mind actually overwhelmed me and pulled me in multiple directions.
- What was I holding onto in the name of fear?
- What do I put up with because I am afraid of change?
- What else do I avoid pursuing because I feel unworthy?
- What am I missing out on because I am holding onto something else?
- Where am I expending my energy to maintain something that is no longer serving me?
- Why do I feel like letting go means I am no longer safe?
- What great opportunities am I missing out on by holding on?
- Why do I feel that loyalty involves never letting go?
- How often do I use ‘but it isn’t broken’ as an excuse to hold on, instead of letting go?
What disturbed me most about the experience was how much my worth seemed to be the king pin of the entire drama. All the excuses I gave myself and others for maintaining my car all came down to the fact that I didn’t think I deserved more than I had. It is hard to say where beliefs like this originate, but one thing I know for sure,
a belief is just a thought I keep thinking,
and it is time to establish some more kind, and truthful beliefs about myself. This adventure made me realize that I am indeed worth... joy!