The attraction of practical

Jo has driven a BMW since we met.  Well, except for that two weeks when she technically didn’t have a car at all … she and Miss M were at the mall getting their nails done because I was training for a marathon and the Divine couldn’t ride her bike with me anymore while I ran as she’d broken her foot and was in a cast for a few weeks. Apparently, if you are a child wearing a cast on your lower leg/foot, it is imperative that your toenails be painted well (at least, it’s imperative to the parents who are concerned they might be otherwise horrified by toenails that can’t get washed or groomed well for several weeks). Anyway, they were driving out of the mall parking lot and got hit by a driver who hadn’t noticed the red light in front of her.  When I arrived, M was in the back seat, sporting her cast and telling the nice fireman that it was the second wreck she’d been in that summer (which was true) and that no, that’s not how she’d broken her foot (also true) … I had a fleeting thought they might not let me take her home.

Jo’s BMW never seemed particularly practical (and the maintenance was outrageous) but still, I do have to admit, it’s a fun car.  It’s fast, it’s sporty and well, it’s just a sexy car.  Even strangers remarked on it.

It also sits low to the ground and does not handle remotely well in snow and ice. And we’re moving to Boulder, CO.  They have snow there, guys.  A lot of snow.  So, the sexy car? Not long for our world.

Jo knew this was coming and has actually wanted a Jeep Wrangler for eons. But knowing something is coming and it actually arriving, two entirely different things.  Like a good little trooper, she went from dealer to dealer test driving used Jeep Wranglers and Toyota FJs, the only car that has ever made her eyes stray from the Jeeps.  It was late when we finally decided but on Monday, she’ll go to the dealership in her BMW and leave in an FJ, an awesome, rugged vehicle specifically made for off-road activities.

She patted the dash several times on the way home tonight.  I suspect she might spend tomorrow communing with it.  I’d call this mourning but that seems a little harsh to the new car.  And the new car is nice.  I know she likes it and it will be perfect for Colorado – both weather conditions and all the outdoor activities.  But I have to admit that even for me, who always rolled my eyes good-naturedly and chuckled at Jo’s love for this car – trading it in for the FJ does give me pause.  It feels a little like a reminder that we’re getting older.  The FJ is more practical for our changing needs.

Why is it that practical and realistic feel more like old, and less like wise?

Our daughter starts junior high this year, which I would not do over for all the money in the world.  Same with high school.  I might like to do my 20s over, but I’d still really want to take what I know now with me.  I remember when I was young thinking that when I was an adult, I’d have life all figured out.  Just the thought now makes me chuckle.

When I was in my earliest 30s, someone told me that we solidify during that decade – not in the stop growing sense, but in finally realizing not only who we are but who we want to be. When we finally choose the things in life that fit us and discard those things that don’t.  I have found this to be true and I think others my age have as well.

I remind myself of that when trading in for a more practical car makes me sigh a little.  And let’s gain some perspective, we are making this “mature” decision as part of picking up our lives and moving to another State with barely any plan and only potential employment prospects.  Nothing particularly practical there.  Though, it is a part of the final stages of what doesn’t fit and what does – and Oklahoma does not.

For that, I’ll happily trade in the sexy sports car.  Besides, rugged can be attractive, too, especially now, when it’s tied a little to wisdom, and knowing we’re growing up rather than getting older.

 

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