Lessons from my first car purchase
MANILA, Philippines – Buying your first car is an accomplishment.
It’s the tangible culmination of long hours in the office and frugal weekends at home. Even the act of canvassing for the best price and features is a feat in itself. But once you find a vehicle that’s fit for your everyday needs, the feeling is unmatchable.
Don’t be surprised if you catch yourself shifting priorities. Taking care of a car is essentially like having a pet: you wash it every week, “feed” it fuel everyday, and go for routine check-ups at the shop.
The responsibility of owning a car changes your perspective on things and more often than not, forces you to adopt a more mature mindset.
Bigger goals ahead
Bettina Enriquez, a product analyst at a telecommunications company, saved up for her first car by setting aside a percentage of her monthly salary for about two and a half years.
The 24-year-old said: “I decided to buy a car because it's such a hassle to commute to and from BGC, where my office is, and Uber is always on surge. I feel like I waste so much time just lining up when commuting, waiting for the surge to go down, or waiting for someone I can ride with. Basically, I wanted to own my time.”
After getting your keys, review your priorities and take note of what you’d like to accomplish next. Bettina's next big goal is to finally set up her own business. Maybe you can invest in a condo, or travel to a dream destination? Whatever it is, be confident and take pride in knowing that you can now handle the hard work that leads to each item on your bucket list.
Road to independence
The most latent benefit of owning a car is the independence that it provides. Gone are the days of waiting in line for the bus or hoping a taxi passes by during rush hour; now you can go wherever you want, whenever you want.
Bettina said: “I feel so legit even if sometimes all I have to do for the day is go to the grocery. Before getting my own car, I'd have to ask my siblings, parents or the driver to bring me there.” This newfound sense of freedom allows you to be more in charge of your life. Owning a car has overhauled Bettina's daily routine. Now she has more control of her time and no longer has to work her schedule around other people’s.
But freedom is never without responsibility, and when it comes to driving, there’s nothing more important than remembering that now, you are accountable for each minute you spend on the road. Some drivers in the city are very aggressive. Because of the perennial traffic, everyone tries to get to their destinations in the quickest way possible – no matter what it takes. A lot of cars will try to enter your lane abruptly, so you need to learn to be a defensive driver. On top of mastering road ethics and traffic rules, you should anticipate the movements of the other vehicles, have fast reflexes, and act accordingly.
It could get frustrating, but you will learn to think on your feet and handle compromising situations with ease.
Going beyond your comfort zone
So you have a car. What next? Take your newly-acquired wheels for a spin and do things that are out of your comfort zone, like Bettina. “I’ve never tried driving out of town yet, so hopefully I get to go on road trip with my friends soon!” she shared.
Just like her, one of the first items on your bucket list is probably to go on an out-of-town trip with your friends. Road trips are a different beast altogether, especially when compared to city driving. You’ll have to master the different expressway speeds and train yourself to stay awake. Still, there’s nothing quite like driving down the highway with the windows down, and it’s worth doing if only for that.
Having your own car also means you can finally take those cooking classes at that out-of-the-way school, run errands for your dad, or take your mom shopping for home accessories in Pampanga or Laguna. Nothing says “adulthood” more than finally being able to do things for your loved ones.
New car, new you. During the first few months of getting your keys, you’re probably still very excited and want to use your car all the time. Take advantage of this momentum and direct it to other parts of your life. Much like how a clean desk can inspire you to work better, a new car can be a catalyst for new ideas and a more proactive mindset.
Although she's a generally ambitious person, Bettina admitted that she found it much harder to do well at work every time she was exhausted from an inefficient commute. Traffic and transportation play a big role in setting a person’s mood in the office, and having a new, fully air-conditioned car should give you an upper hand.
Now that you have better mobility and control of your time, you can also use the extra hours to be more productive. Coming to work early will allow you to psych yourself for the day ahead, give you more time to accomplish your tasks, and most importantly, let you skip rush hour traffic.
“I [now] know more street names,” Bettina said, when asked about how her road smarts have changed now that she’s driving. If you’re used to sitting in the car and gazing out the window, you’ll soon see just how different it is to be on the driver’s seat. No matter how clear the roads are, driving is never a passive activity. It is important to pay attention and to be “in the zone” at all times. There’s no time for spacing out. This is because when you’re on the road, you’re not just responsible for your safety and the safety of your passengers, you also have a stake in the well-being of other motorists around you.
Owning a car goes beyond learning how to maintain a vehicle. It teaches you to be self-aware, intuitive, and more responsible. These are traits that will prove to be useful not just on the road, but also in life. — Rappler.com