Own Two Feet

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Own Two Feet

A few months ago, I made the decision to sell my car.

At the time, I was planning a year-long to trip to Europe, and knew I would need the cash more than my car while traveling abroad. In the year that I had the car, I had already put over 30,000 miles on it, and would probably be in the market for a new car within a couple more years anyway. It made sense to sell my car while I could still get a decent amount for it. 

It wasn’t going to be an easy decision, though, because my grandfather bought me the car as a way of showing how much he loved and cared about me before he passed away. It was one of the last things he was able to do for me, and I know it gave him peace of mind in his remaining time here knowing I had a car of my own. 

My grandfather valued independence. His idea of success was never having to ask for help. By making sure I had my own car, he guaranteed I would never have to ask anyone for a ride, and by paying for it in full the day he got it, I never had to struggle to make car payments either.

This is how he showed his love. He built his entire life around providing for his family in every way possible, so we would never have to know the struggle he went through growing up poor in Brooklyn.

But by sheltering us from struggle, we never learned how to support ourselves. We never cultivated the values that created my grandfather’s wealth: hard work, dedication, rigorous discipline, perseverance, and commitment. We never learned how to save or manage money, and thus we never really had any of our own. 

By providing for us all the tools of independence, my grandfather insured we never truly became independent.

So after months of wavering back-and-forth on my decision to sell my car, I finally took the reins of my independence in my own hands, and did it. Despite the guilt from giving away a token of my grandfather’s love, and despite the comfort in convenience having a car provided me, I sold my car.

I’m fortunate enough to live in a city with a very reliable, safe, and affordable public transportation system that can take me wherever I need to go. I’m also lucky all the places I spend my time at are near each other, so I don’t ever have to travel long or far. It will be an adjustment learning to live without the convenience and support from my grandfather, but I know I can handle it.

As infants learning to walk, we stand up, and we fall. We stand up…and we fall again. But we keep trying. We don’t give up. At first, we may use the wall or the edge of a coffee table for help, but eventually we have to let go of the support that holds us up and stand on our own two feet.

I’m in the infancy stage of my independence. Selling my car was a baby step, but it’s still a step.

And one day, I’ll be walking upright, fully supported by my own two feet.

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