Recently our only car broke down. Although the timing was inconvenient to say the least, it has provided a great micro case study for us. Since moving into Seattle we have been speaking in hypotheticals about if owning an automobile was a necessity or convenience for our family of 5. Now we have been forced to confront the reality of operating without a vehicle.
Even when we had an operating car we only used it sparingly for extra circulars like medical appointments, shopping, church, destination parks, and restaurants. Our everyday needs like getting to school, work, neighborhood parks, and grocery shopping were met by walking, biking, or public transit. Granted, on rainy days we would use the car to drop our kids off at school or go to the grocery store etc. Inevitably these “rainy day” habits would sometimes carry over to pleasant weather days because of the ease the car provided.
Since the car has been out of commission it has allowed us to take stock of our habits (good and bad). We have been able to differentiate between what is required for us to function in society from day to day and what is superficial. Operating without a car has confirmed that simple living and solid planning can alleviate most of the perceived inconveniences that come when you don’t have a personal vehicle at your disposal.
If our car is reasonably repairable we may decide we can operate without it for the next 6 months or we may decide to repair it and continue to use it. Regardless of what we decide our forced car fast has allowed us to recommit to more healthy sustainable lifestyles. We were forced to go on a car fast, I would encourage everyone who owns a car to voluntarily go on one for a predetermined period of time as an experiment. You may be surprised how far a little creativity can go, and how freeing it is to operate without the need of an automobile.
As I finish these post we will be walking out to take care of some errands. Although this may seem like a small thing it is going to allow us to get in a little physical activity, family time, and a restful break from the breakneck pace modern society. Something we wouldn’t get if we drove.