Recently I was blessed with a “newer” car. It’s five years newer than the car I had, but several years older than the cars I’ve been eyeing. I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but this newer car didn’t excite me, and I was only given a week to decide if I wanted it. Logically, it made sense to accept the car and save money while I focus on other priorities, but the hastiness of this buying process made me uneasy. Less than a week and $1000 of repairs later, I’m thinking about how this experience sounds too much like my past relationships.
Growing up with parents who will be celebrating 33 years next month, I knew marriage was in my future. I was obsessed with that outcome. In fact, I was so tied to the storyline of marriage that I tried to make every suitor the missing piece to my life’s puzzle. I was oblivious to the process. I’d never seen my parents argue; I didn’t know much about their struggles while dating, and I definitely knew nothing of the sacrifices and growth it took for their relationship to work. I looked at potential partners like I looked at this car and said, “This could work.”
No decision should be a settling one.
I went along with this car and past relationships because I couldn’t always articulate why it wasn’t a good choice. In hindsight, I’ve built some very unhealthy habits when it comes to decision making, and this car is forcing me to reflect, so I can operate differently moving forward.
Forever takes time to build. A common theme in receiving this car and starting past relationships is a lack of patience. I habitually started "relationship talk" at the two-month mark. It made sense to me that if we dated for a certain amount of time, got along, and weren’t seeing other people, we obviously needed to label it. But why? If we want something to last, we need to take the time to fully unpack what we’re getting ourselves into. No outside force (society or a pushy seller) should determine how long that time should be. If it’s meant to be, there’s no need to rush. I’m working on accepting the patience that comes with long term goals.
Intuition over logic. I knew that rushing into a new car didn’t feel right, but I convinced myself that my feelings weren’t important without proof. Wrong move. I’ve done the same things in relationships. I felt like the relationship wasn’t going to work, but without a “real” reason to end it, I stayed in it until something happened. YOUR FEELING IS A REASON! I’m preaching to myself right now. We can always find a logical reason to keep going, but we were given intuition to guide us, and we need to listen to it. It’s not anyone else’s job to tell us what we’re feeling. If it feels bad, don’t move forward.
Read the signs. In case our intuition isn’t enough to keep us grounded, there are always signs. When I think of the relationship in which I was cheated on, I remember that he showed his polyamorous ways while we were talking. I ignored those actions just for them to surface months later in our relationship. Same with the car. When I first drove it, I heard that everything wasn’t right, but instead of addressing the issue, I took on the responsibility of fixing it thinking that everything would be fine after repairs. Nope. Signs are meant to be read. Like our intuition, they guide us.
Take agency. The real reason I ignored the signs and my intuition is because I didn’t value my voice, my feelings, or my observations. I went along meeting the expectations of others, and I paid the price in the end. If I’m taking control of my life, I have to make decisions that work for me. I don’t have to explain or justify them; I just have to be okay with it.
We don’t have to passively take what life throws at us. Taking control means valuing yourself enough to speak up for what you want and being patient enough to wait for it.