I ran back out into the parking lot today, immediately before I was about to sell my car to CarMax. I bought my bright, yellow Fiat just two and a half years ago, and it immediately became a symbol of my individuality and independence. In fact, once, a friend of mine said, “That car is so Paul.” Perhaps what they meant by that was that it was colorful, or perhaps they meant it was a bit loud; maybe they just thought it was obnoxious.
Regardless, it was me.
And so today, I brought it to CarMax, ready to give it up–my penance for beginning a new life out in San Francisco. The woman at the desk asked me to pull it around, and so I ran out to my car, hopped inside, stuck the key into the ignition like I always used to, and turned it on. The radio echoed immediately, as it always had done, the bass resounding at my feet and the sounds of pop singers blasting through the side, front, and rear speakers, this time to the tune of Bastille’s “Pompeii.”
“And if you close your eyes,” it sang, “does it almost feel like nothing’s changed at all?”
How fitting, I thought to myself, alone in my car, awaiting the moment when I’d walk out of it and never see it again. It sounds weird to have such an attachment to this material good–to my car–but over the course of the two and a half years that it found itself in my possession, it became a friend to me. It became a friend that knew me possibly better than anyone else in my life does. It saw me every day, and it granted me a piece of my adulthood. It sang along with me in the glory of summer when I rolled my windows down, when I let the wind kiss my face, and when I allowed the sun to dance its rays from my forehead down to my chin. Better yet, it enveloped me with the sounds of melancholy music, deep in the cold of winter, when I drove to and fro, pondering over things and people I’ve lost over the past two and a half years.
It seemed only fitting that those lyrics were the last it sung to me, reminding me that truly “nothing has changed at all”–that even in two and a half years of constant change and transition, nothing has truly changed, because I still have me, and that is what I will take with me this week when I leave for San Francisco.
And I think that is what my good friend–my car–was trying to teach me in our last few minutes together.
Regardless of the nature of our transitions, regardless of the happiness–or the despair–we experience when we encounter change, we always and absolutely bring ourselves with every new phase and into every new beginning.
And that is the greatest thing we can bring.