For the first time in either of our lives, Joel and I own a car.
This happened thanks to the love and support of friends and family, and our joint decision (spurred by me and by recent life events) to invest in this quality-of-life purchase.
Oh boy, our quality of life has indeed been affected in ways large and small.
I can now jump in the car on Saturday mornings and drive down to Long Beach to visit my dad in the hospital. Each week in between visits, my anxiety over his health and his journey back to wellness slowly increases, but then on Saturday, I just get in the car and zoom down to him. No need to walk, or bus/walk the 3.5 miles to the Enterprise in Alhambra and shell out $50-$90 for a weekend car rental; no need to spend nearly 2 hours on public transit; no need to hope that a friend has the time and is going from LA to LBC.
I can do our grocery shopping on Sunday mornings and it doesn’t take me 3 hours, and I’m not limited to only one store, and I’m not forced to decide between taking a Lyft or getting just what I can carry on a bus/walk home. I’m able to go to Sprouts and Aldi’s, and take advantage of the cheap, good produce at Sprouts, and then get meat/cheese/dairy and pantry staples at Aldi’s low prices.
I was able to go out and get cold/cough meds for Joel when he was in the thick of a nasty chest cold a few weeks back.
I’m able to make a quick run at night after I get home from classes for some necessary ice cream for Joel and I (sometimes it really is necessary).
I can drive myself to the plays that I am required to see for classes–it took only 20 minutes to get to Boston Court to see the incredible Everything That Never Happened, instead of the 60+ minutes it would have taken on public transit, and I was able to bring a carless classmate with me.
I can drop off/pick up Joel from D & D nights at Sean’s (although school schedules have affected the D & D schedule), which is just fun, but also means Joel doesn’t have to make the 20 minute walk home late at night, or spend $ on a Lyft.
Those things are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a gratitude and a freedom that has come with having our own car that cannot quite be put into words. I know that I feel an agency and empowerment that has contributed to positive mental health this semester (amongst other things). That is perhaps one of the biggest unexpected pluses from this blessing.
Thank you to each and every person who sent us good thoughts, who prayed for us to get a good car, who pitched in to help with costs, who has been there for us when we needed rides in the past, who has offered time and support in ways large and small. It really does take a village to raise a human, and we humans never stop growing, never stop evolving. Not everyone gets to be surrounded by a village of loving, caring individuals and groups, and I feel incredibly fortunate to know so many wonderful human beings. You help make our world a better place by simply being who you are and doing the things you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you.