Thursday, April 11, 2013

Going Counter-Culture (Again) and Loving It (Again)!

Have you ever noticed how fun it is to be counter-cultural? To swim against the tide, and make decisions that go against the cultural gods of "the way we've always done it"? I tell you, ladies, it's addictive! Once you start down the path, it just snowballs - in delightful and surprising ways.

One counter-culture decision that we made earlier this year was the decision to reduce from two vehicles to one. This was not made in order to be counter-culture, but just to save money - (1) to save on insurance payments, (2) to save on gas and upkeep, (3) to avoid having to make (more) costly repairs to get the car to pass smog, and (4) to be able to use the sale money as additional income during this season of non-income.

It was rather a reluctant decision, based on need rather than desire, and I expected that it would be an inconvenient nuisance - and that we would be a second vehicle as soon as possible. Of all the money-saving decisions and changes that we've made recently, this one was the one I dreaded.

To our complete surprise, both DH and I love having only one vehicle! No joke! We have laughed over this, as it was such a surprise, but going from two cars down to one has been just awesome. I don't know if we'll ever buy a second vehicle again.

Now pick your jaws up off the floor, and I'll explain why! Here are all the reasons that having only one car rocks:

(1) Money Issues - As anticipated, having only one car saves us in gas, in insurance payments, and in repair and maintenance fees. Score!

(2) Freeing Up Driveway Space - This sounds funny, but it's true! Our driveway is where our son rides his scooter and where the kids love to play. It's prime real estate, but having two cars really clogged it up! With only one car, the kids have plenty of room to play, and we never have to hear, "Mom! Can you move the car so I can ride my scooter?"

(3) Freeing Brain Space - This is odd, but true - it feels so much easier to have only one car to worry about! One car to repair, one car to maintain, one car for oil changes, one car's records to keep. It clears up so much mental clutter! Not to mention that I am much likely to go wash one car than I am two!

(4) Family Benefits - Right now, I would normally (i.e. back when we had two cars), be at a homeschooling moms' night out. However... DH needed the car, so here I am at home! Yes, I missed an event - but what we also missed was a frantic night of trying to get everyone ready to head out the door in different directions, and all the stress and irritability that go with it. Instead, I have spent a wonderful and relaxing night here at home, planting squash and watermelon in the backyard with the kids! Yes, I lost... but what I gained was greater than what I lost.

Additionally, not only does having one car limit us to doing one activity at a time, it also inclines us to family-type activities and errands rather than individual-type functions. It's a great safeguard against having each family member going in a different direction, and it keeps us much more family-oriented in an age when dividing the family on a regular basis is an expected (but unhealthy) norm. It also helps us to prioritize - instead of choosing concurrent activities A, B, and C, having one vehicle forces us to choose the best thing and stick with that alone rather than dividing our energies (and our family) amongst non-essential activities that lead only to chronic busyness (and stress and exhaustion).

And so... This has been a big surprise, but a very welcome one! We love having one vehicle, and the benefits have been enormous and wide-spread. It makes one ponder very seriously which of our modern "conveniences" are taking from us more than they promise and/or deliver. Hopefully this will lead me to evaluate which of our modern "advances" might be better left behind. 

Thoughts, dear readers? 

The next step!

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