As we get older and life goes by, it’s easy to look back on moments that we thought were the worst points in our lives and laugh at them. We’ve lived more than we had then. We’ve seen more, and we understand more and more that both the best moments and the worst ones are still ahead of us.
Honestly, it’s what keeps us going. Even if there are awful moments waiting for us around the corner, we keep moving ahead because we know that something else, either good or bad, has to be ahead. We can’t tell if it’s the good or the bad, but we know it will be something new and something different. It’s what keeps us alive.
The other night, as I was driving around my city with much on my mind, I had to think back to a time that I felt was the worst I would go through, and how my Brick helped get me through.
Truthfully? It’s difficult to remember what exactly felt so miserable about 2010. Things weren’t awful, since I did have a job and a place to live and friends around me to hang out with. I can think of plenty of times in which things have been much worse.
But things weren’t great. Afterall, this was just a year removed from college and with plenty of anxiety of what to do with my life. My job was okay but not great, the house was decent but old and needed more attention than we could afford to give it, and my friends were sometimes needy and immature. Also there was this girl I was sort of pining after who just wouldn’t give me the time of day. More so than a terrible time of my life, it was a restless time of my life.
Then came the day I was casually driving down the road and spotted just the most beautiful, big Brick I’ve ever seen in my life. It sat out in a parking lot shining bright in the hot Mississippi sun with a gorgeous deep maroon finish and needlessly chromed handles and hubcaps.
All it took was one look, and I knew that The Brick, this maroon 2009 Jeep Wrangler, would be mine.
During those annoying days, The Brick was my escape. With the removable top and doors and windshield and who know what else, it was like a Lego set for a grown up. What would I do when work was particularly annoying or depressing? I’d go out and tinker with The Brick. What about when I would get ambiguously confusing text messages from the girl who didn’t actually like me? Well, that’s when the doors come off and it’s time for a drive.
When I needed it, The Brick was there. Other than an old white baseball cap, it’s the only object I’ve ever owned that was more to me than just an object.
But as is prone to happen in life, time has gone by. Better jobs came and went, the girl cycle has rotated and brought new confusion, and different friends have entered into my life. Heck, I wouldn’t be writing on this stupidly named website if not for the changes that have happened since then. Through it all, though, the one constant has remained: I still have my Brick.
When the top is down, I am happy. When the doors are gone, I feel alive. Maybe I haven’t always had the money to spend to keep it as healthy as I want. Maybe I put too many miles on it driving across the country and crossing borders. Maybe I drive too quickly over bumps. But The Brick doesn’t mind. It is there for me regardless.
When the top is down, I am happy. When the doors are gone, I feel alive. And even though circumstances have changed again and history has started to repeat itself, those truths remain. I’m back at that decent but not good enough job, the old house is still in slight disrepair, and even my newer friends prove to be annoying at times. Those situations simply call for time spent with The Brick, though, and things turn around.
When the top is down, I am happy. When the doors are gone, I feel alive. And if you see me in my natural habitat, spending quality time with a car that sometimes feels more like a best friend, I hope you join in. Come for a ride. We will drive by the water and talk about life and love and why. Because escapes and hobbies are one thing, but a means to building a relationship is completely different. Peace of mind and a constant source of happiness is different than a means to forget for a while. When you are just driving along with no roof or doors you have no choice but to connect with everything and everyone around you.
There will come a time when I will have to say goodbye to The Brick. I know this. And I will probably feel like it is the new worst period of time in my life. But around the corner lies something new and something different, and it will have to get me through. Until then, though? Well that’s a different story.
Because when you realize it’s not about coping, but about moving forward, this is what happens. When it’s not at all about excuses, but about a hobby that is truly enjoyable, this is what happens.
Because when the top is down, I am happy. When the doors are gone, I feel alive.