July 23, 2013

The Beginning: How My Mustang and I Found Each Other.

I wrote this right after getting my Mustang back in April. Getting this car was the event that pushed me over the edge and set everything that's happened since then in motion.

So I ordered a copy of the book, "Anatomy of the Spirit", and I got to page 26, and the dam just burst for me. Mind you, I couldn't let it out in that moment as I was on a Boston-bound plane about to take off. Crying on a plane taxiing for takeoff? That's a recipe for delaying a flight!

It was these words:
"Peter's healing induced me to discover what we do that interferes with the energy that makes miracles happen. For instance, you can be a vegetarian and run six miles a day, but if you are in an abusive relationship, or hate your job, or have daily fights with your parents, you are losing energy - or power - in a pattern of behaviour that can lead to illness or prevent your healing from an illness. On the other hand, if you are spiritually centred and call back your energy from negative beliefs, you can eat cat food and still stay healthy."

These words just knocked the wind out of me. For the past 2-3 years, I've been in a challenging relationship, I've had a huge falling out with my parents, and I realized that my line of work has me living for the weekends. No wonder I've felt my health and energy declining!

I recently bought my dream car - a 1990 Ford Mustang LX 5.0L convertible. I've wanted this car since I was 12 years old. I never in my life thought I would touch one, sit in one, drive one, let alone OWN one! But it happened! And the immediate three days leading up to the Saturday when I bought it were unbelievably amazing. 

Wednesday: My boyfriend and I decide to end our relationship for good because it just wasn't working out. Although difficult, I felt real closure because we had at least really tried to make it work for a long time. In making this decision, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.

Thursday: I was talking to two of the baristas at the coffeehouse across the street from my Toronto apartment. One of the girls told me she HITCHHIKED to Toronto from VANCOUVER. I said, "That's crazy! I could never do that." And then before I knew it, more words tumbled out of my mouth unexpectedly.

"What I've always wanted to do is buy my dream car, a 1987-1993 Fox Body Mustang 5.0 and drive across the country."

"Dude! You should totally do that! That sounds awesome!" said Barista Girl.

"But I can't!"

"Why not?" 

And then I was about to open my mouth to respond when I realized that...

...I COULDN'T COME UP WITH A REASON. Not a single damn one.

So I said, "Fuck! I don't know why I can't! I think I'm gonna do this!"

Friday: I go Mustang hunting. Looked at my first one. My heart said, "She's not the one."

Saturday: I spent six hours in my car looking for my Mustang. I drove to Oakville, Hagersville, Georgetown, and then Scarborough. No dice. None of them were "The One". But - it didn't matter because I loved being on the open road and I LOVE test driving and buying used cars - it's a sickness, really.

In fact, I was annoyed by the Mustang in Scarborough because I had driven an hour to get there only to have the dealer say, "I'm so sorry! I tried to reach you to tell you - but it's not here - it went to the auction!" Although it sucked, I felt that this road block just meant that my Mustang was coming up, perhaps soon. 

I had an appointment to see a guy about a Mustang on Sunday morning in Oshawa. He sounded great on the phone. An older guy. Gentle. A fellow Mustang lover. We talked cars for a half hour! And he said to me, "You're not planning on driving this in winter, are you? If you are, I won't sell it to you because it's never been winter driven and is in beautiful shape. You can do anything you want with the car, except for driving it in the winter." A guy who loved and cared for his car so much that he refused to sell it to anyone who'd drive it in the winter? Hell yeah! His comment made me feel like his car might be "The One".

I was already in Scarborough (a hop and a skip away from Oshawa), sunset wasn't for a few more hours, so I called the Oshawa guy and asked him if I could come by since I was close to him. He said yes. 

I pulled up to his house, and he greeted me and then went in to open the garage door. 

The garage door started to open. I only saw the back of the car as it opened. But the feeling was immediate. 

I knew. This was, "The One".

I didn't feel desperation or that I HAD to have it as a result of some misguided mindless materialism. It was a subtle, sturdy, strong feeling. It just was. I knew in my heart that this was it.

I got into the mint condition interior, savouring the perfect smoothness of the black metal door handle, and the metallic clicks and solid thunks of a true American car door as I opened and closed it.

And then. 

The moment.

I put the key in the ignition. And turned it. 

She roared to life! And her exhaust note was perfect. A strong, throaty rumble. Steady. It was immediately clear that she had never been abused. No missing, no loping idling, no squeaks, rattles, or unpleasant vibrations. Perfection.

Tears almost welled up as I remembered being an outcast, lonely boy out in rural Alberta... Seeing the good ol' boys drive around in their 5.0s and their Camaros. And wanting so much to drive one of them, and escape from my life. I still remember dreams I used to have of getting in a red car and just driving away with no particular destination in mind. 

And now, it was happening, right here. Except that I wasn't running away from my life anymore.

I was, for the first time, running towards my life. 

My dreams, my true desires, my innate deep sense of wonder and curiosity and adventure - this is what I'm running towards now.

I called Mike, a gay friend of mine who is also a huge car buff. I could hardly contain my excitement as I told him about the 'Stang.

Mike said, "You sound so happy! I'll bet you're not gonna be able to sleep tonight!"

I paused. 

See, I'd been having trouble sleeping and getting out of bed for MONTHS. It had become such a problem that I was in fact scheduled for an overnight appointment at a sleep clinic the next night. 

"Actually, Mike. No. Believe it or not, having bought this car means that I will sleep well for the first time in months, because of what this car represents, and what it means that I've bought it."

I can't live my life any more the way I have been. I realized that I would commit suicide by doing so. Not the dramatic wrist-slitting sort of suicide, but the worse, more insidious kind. The living kind of suicide where you kill yourself slowly through boredom and self-denial and frustration until you die.

Buying this car means that I'm giving myself permission to truly follow my heart, which I've never done before in my life.

This also makes me think, "If THIS can happen, what else can happen that I didn't think was possible?" I felt like my whole narrow world just exploded with possibility.

So on Monday, I called up my manager and VP, and I told them that after my contract with our Boston client was done, that I'd like to leave. And that after I've had time off and felt ready, I'd love to pick up the odd contract now and again. They were very supportive. 

I'm now planning on leaving my apartment and beginning my summer adventure of just wandering for a while - road tripping and farming!

And after that... Who knows? If there's one thing I've learned in life over the past year, it's that you don't get anywhere by trying to plan your life in detail from an armchair. You have to give yourself permission to roll up your sleeves, and dive right into the wonderful, beautiful, chaotic mess that is life, and do what you want - even if you make mistakes.

My guiding principle in life is now this:
Whenever I feel like doing something, and I automatically think I couldn't or shouldn't do it... I ask myself, "Years from now, will I look back on this moment and wonder what my life would have been like if I'd done this thing that I now want to do?"

And if the answer is, "Yes, I will wonder what my life would have been like," then I give myself permission to do it.

I've never been so happy, and I've never been so free, even though I have no idea what's going to happen in life next.