I’ve heard, several times, that my car is long passed its prime and that I simply need to get a new one (that’s my odometer in the pic above). Employees have told me that, being a boss and all, I should have a far better car. My wife and son refer to my car as a “homeless and toothless old homeless man.” But, to me, my car is none of those things. Other than being reliable transportation, my car is a great metaphor for me.
My car is a 2000 VW Jetta (pictured above) and has 226,260 miles. I purchased the car brand new, over 15 years ago, when my son was around 6 weeks old. Since then, I’ve driven every single one of those miles and my car has outlasted literally dozens of my family members’ cars. Heck, my wife has had 4 cars since I bought mine and, although I’m teased about it, my Jetta has boosted BMWs, Hondas, and several other fancier and newer cars.
Don Quixote has Rocinate – his old white horse who always tried to be a virile stud with the female horses even though he was too old to do anything. Still, Rocinate carried Don Quixote nobly against the dragons in the Don’s mind. Nevermind that they were windmills; to Don Quixote, those windmills were dragons that required slaying and Rocinate never failed in his mission.
You see, I’ve always considered myself on a quest against the dragons of this day and age. but they aren’t windmills; nope, my dragons are the ills of an unjust world: Addiction, poverty, and unbalanced education. Those dragons require a constant vigilance and readiness and I have absolute faith in my Rocinate that I will be where the fight calls me to be.
Some might even try and make the case that I, too, am like Rocinate, passed my prime and ready to be put out to pasture. But, I, like my car, am battle-tested and proven and I know that I will deliver whatever result I’m asked to deliver. I’m not the prettiest dude in the world and God knows I’m not the fanciest, but what I am is true to my vision and always ready to take on the next mission.
That’s not to say that my car is perfect. Lately it seems that more and more parts are wearing out and are needing replacement. But, that’s the way life progresses, really: Things wear out with age and if we’ve taken care of our lives, then those things requiring maintenance are just par for the course. I’ve gotten sick, I’ve needed to lose a few pounds, and I even have to go to the stupid dentist from time to time. But because I’ve taken care of myself as well as I can, I don’t really have any major ailments. Just like my car. It needs a check-up, here and there, but it isn’t facing any major overhaul.
I guess that’s what my mission is all about. I seek to teach people that if they can find the best version of themselves and then take care of that version, then they can face any challenge life presents. Regardless of what people think and say that are negative, the truth is that no one has to be the prettiest, smartest, or shiniest person around. All we all need to be is who we are within our own lives and take care of that person. If we do, then like my car, we can produce and be ready whenever we’re needed and live a long and fruitful life.
I may buy a new car one of these days, but it will only be because I absolutely have to. The bigger issue for me is that, whether in Rocinate or a new car, I need to be the best version of me whenever I get where my car takes me. The vehicle will never matter as much as the person driving it. At least to me, anyway…