A few thoughts come to mind on a HOT Saturday morning, triggered in part by traderboy's heartfelt comment in the last post.
During a summer week in 2007, I had an atrocious two-day period. I don't remember the exact dates, but vividly recall it was a Monday and Tuesday after a weekend during which I had been shopping for a car to replace my 2000 Tundra pickup. Interestingly, the two days were not too different from this year's early July blunder in terms of magnitude. Now for the last twenty years, my car-buying strategy has consisted of buying clean vehicles that are about three years old with about 50K miles on them -- as this is often when the warranty expires and the previous owners trade them in. I've found it to be a great niche market where I can get great value (heck, I'm a trader).
Anyway, I had been looking for a particular model which would likely become my main mode of transportation for the next ten years, and I wanted to get both a comfortable car and value. The car I'd selected was a BMW 3-Series E46 which had been in production from 1998-2005, and it was now a matter of finding one that had all-wheel drive and was in decent shape. And believe me, that model isn't easy to find as it's one of the most popular and highest-rated models ever produced by any firm. And during that weekend, I'd looked at a couple that didn't quite fit the bill. BUT -- and this is key in terms of a misstep -- I was feeling good about ultimately making the purchase as the year was going well, life was good, and trading had been consistent at the time.
Then Monday & Tuesday "happened" which seemed to come out of nowhere. Looking back, I know I fell into the "Gee, if I can have a great Monday, I can pay for it in one day" trap. Then Wednesday came and I found the car I wanted listed on the Internet -- a black 2003 325xi with about 46K miles in very good condition at an acceptable price. The problem was that given the last two days, I had a huge pit in my stomach and felt I no longer deserved it. And even though it was a used vehicle and the net purchase cost after my trade wasn't that bad (the Tundra held its value well), it was still a significant purchase in my mind. Yet I was continually bothered by the events of the previous two days and wondered whether I really deserved any car with the letters "B-M-W" in it, no matter how old.
Frankly, as I drove the 90 miles to look at the car, I was actually hoping I wouldn't like it. Then when I saw the car and test drove it, I thought ... "Damn, this is the right one". The internal struggle was enormous. I then called my wife and told her I really liked it but wasn't certain about taking the leap. And while she wasn't fully aware of the extent of the prior two days, she knew me well enough to know it was a tough couple of days for me. Yet when I asked for her advice, she said "Do it. You work hard enough and deserve it." Those comments immediately put me at ease, I felt a burden lifted, and I made the leap and completed the transaction over the next hour.
Yet, before I made the purchase, I had to translate what my wife told me from "you deserve it" to "you don't deserve it", because I didn't. We rarely deserve anything we get. Yet I bought it anyway on the leap of faith that it was still OK to treat myself to something that I would enjoy. On the way back home, I named my car "Grace" because she wasn't deserved, yet I was allowed to have her anyway. And yes, I love the car.
Grace has some years on her and if you look closely, you'll see several nicks, scratches, and other imperfections ... just like her driver :-).
And I had no clue that the next day would be the day when my Bamboo Tree would finally break the ground's surface and begin its climb. Through all the years of toil and frustration, I'd frankly forgotten I'd ever planted the seed.