Since I started my FIRE journey, I’ve become more and more aware of my past mistakes. I tell myself it’s a good thing, as this should help me avoid making more of them in the future.
Every quarter, I’m painfully reminded of my past mistakes in an annoying physical form; Wrapped in cellophane in my mailbox (the snail-mail one) I find a glittery magazine from one of the premium German auto makers. I’ve written them, phoned them – and written them again, if they would PLEASE stop wasting precious resources, by sending this piece of ancient communique to my mailbox. But to no prevail. They keep sending them (perhaps it’s some kind of evil plot from the Universe?!). It’s a reminder of my past, filled with fast cars and fast women (not really – I’ve been with the same woman for 12 years, but she doesn’t mind being categorized as a “fast woman” for some odd reason). Anyway, I’ve owned (leased actually) a couple of premium German cars, and apparently that warrants a lifetime subscription to their magazine. Go figure.
I’ve never cared much for designer clothing, fancy furniture, jewelry or caffé latte (or the disco for that matter). Cars however, have always been my kryptonite. I’m not particularly car savvy per say – I don’t care about the horse powers or the torque (although the torque of a Tesla is pretty addictive), but somehow a fancy car became a synonym of success for me. I think it runs in the family. My uncle always drove fancy cars. My favorite was the Porsche 911. That was my dream car when I was young (until I actually drove one and had difficulties first getting in, and then getting out of the thing!). It’s the most impractical car I’ve ever driven (on a race track in Sweden).
So when I started making good money, I started driving expensive cars. You know, because I could – and because I thought it made me look successful.
I drove my last fancy car about 2 years ago (the one with the magazines). When my friends asked which car I was getting next, they didn’t believe me at first when I told them that I was done with fancy cars. I realized that while driving those fancy cars might make me look successful, it also put me in that dreaded douchebag category 😛 (you know the type. The guy in the big Audi who parks wherever he likes because – it’s an Audi, and he’s important!). I never did that, but I always did kind of feel like a douche in that car…
Well, no more douchebag here! It was time to be more sensible. A car is a means of transportation, not a penis extension.
While I keep telling myself this, while I drive my reasonably priced car (it’s not a Kia Ceed, but it’s close) I still get that little sting in my heart, whenever someone pulls up in a nice car (it doesn’t have to be fancy – just more fancy than the one I currently drive). That feeling of inadequacy. Why don’t I drive that car? It’s stupid, but that’s how I feel. I’m sure it fades over time, but I can comfort myself in the fact that replacing that fancy car with a reasonably priced one, was the first step that I made towards FIRE. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m glad that I decided to quit the douchebag race…
I’ve spent the equivalent of the price of a small house in the suburbs on cars, since I got my drivers license. I never regret the money I’ve spend (I had a good run!), but I insist on learning from my past mistakes. I give the magazines to my dad (he’s not a douchedad – he drives a Mercedes) as he likes to read them 😛 At least then someone get enjoyment out of them.
Anyway, my point is this:
Don’t cry over spilt milk – but do try to avoid spilling it again, next time you pour yourself a cup 😉
Everybody make mistakes. It’s part of life. The important thing is that we learn from them. We try, we fail, we learn and we move on. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes!
I’ve made many mistakes in my life (one of which was selling my stock portfolio in 2008, but that’s a story for another time… 😎 )
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas Edison
What’s your vice (past or present)?