Doing vs. Having

Around six months ago, I decided that I wanted to buy myself a new car. Sure, thousands of people make that decision every day, so why is me wanting to buy a new car such a big deal? Well, if you keep reading, I’ll tell you.

Because, as it turns out, I didn’t end up buying myself a car.

Wait, what? What the hell kind of story is this?

HOLD. ON. Does it look like I’m even remotely done telling the story or making my point yet? No? Then relax. It’s Friday. There’s no need to rush through this. I haven’t even begun to amble my way sedately through this topic. And I’ve barely made a humorous quip yet.

As I was saying: I thought it was time that I finally bought myself the car that I wanted: Ford Mustang.

I’ve wanted one of those for a long time.

Long time.

Talked to my neighbor, who happens to sell cars, and he let me have a look at a 2012. Nice.

Thought about it awhile, then realized how far the payments would cut into my expendable income. That would limit the amount of things that I could do, like take trips to conferences or go on vacations, see shows and concerts, etc.

I love to do things. I love going places and seeing things.

So I had to make a choice.

Spend my money on something to HAVE, or spend it on things to DO?

Decisions, decisions…

Turns out, by the time I actually got done considering, it wasn’t that difficult a choice.

Experience over possession.

Doing over Having.

Life over Stuff.

I did, however, spend part of what I was going to spend on the Mustang on a car for my daughter, who was about to (and since has) graduated High School and head to college this fall. I bought her the car that she really wanted: Mini Cooper. It’s used, but she loves it. (Not as much as she’d love a ’67 Mustang Fastback, which I’ve been beating into her head since she was 3, but hey.)

What does all this have to do with anything? Don’t see it yet? You haven’t been reading this and thinking about what you’ve been spending your money on? How you could be spending that money “better”?

Of course you have.

As a writer, experience is everything. Going places, seeing things, meeting people: all these things feed the creative beast within us.

Experience is the most important raw material for writers.

Possessions? Not so much.

But I certainly wouldn’t turn away a Mustang if it showed up on my curb.

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