Almost exactly a year ago, I lost my good friend Carl. Who was Carl? Carl was my 1998 Honda Accord. His odometer read a staggering 250,000+ miles and the poor ol’ machine just didn’t have any more miles in him. A few weeks after a fateful and incredibly embarrassing break- down, I sold my old friend to a local Pull- A- Part company. Carl was to be scraped and recycled, I was to be on my feet.
I was torn, not only had I lost a friend, but I had lost a freedom! The freedom of transportation and simple living. How would I get anywhere? All of a sudden, recently simple tasks turned into problems. I had no funds to purchase a new vehicle and didn’t believe in being in debt to finance a new one. My life felt as if it was slowly but surely snowballing into disaster.
The next few days I walked to work in the blistering heat. I was feeling sorry for myself and still trying to figure out my next move. Suddenly, it hit me. My longboard was the answer! I could skate to work to avoid shamefully walking. And then, just as suddenly, the voice of fear made itself heard. “The streets are too steep, how will you stop? You’ll get hurt! People will laugh at you!” I told the fear to shut up. I said it did not empower me and thus did not serve me, so it must leave. I resolved to skate to work the next day as I completed my trek through the heat.
The first few days came with many unforeseen challenges. I had never realized how many cracked jutted out of the sidewalks. A simple straight shot at my place of occupation became a minefield to be navigated with caution. I was also unfamiliar with how exhausting pushing yourself up hills on a longboard was, or with how difficult it was to skate against the wind. To top it off I constantly had to dodge unaware vehicle drivers as I sped through parking lots.
Over time I started getting more comfortable on my board. I went from a clumsy, unbalanced idiot, to a rooted crane that could peddle his his way up hills on one leg. Soon my legs became stronger and hills went from intimidating challenges, to relaxed, fun obstacles. I started to get a rush picking up speed and dodging cars. Not only had I been toughened by my constant exposure to challenge and the elements, I also became more confident overall and the elements I once feared became my allies.
The area I live in is plagued by strong winds. The wind element taught me that whether the wind blows with me or against me, it is my friend and teacher. Wind taught me to be tough and find strength and persevere when having to push against the wind. It also taught me to have fun and flow with it when it blew against my back. A cool breeze was also a refreshing friend on hot summer days.
I even started to ollie cracks as my confidence built. I am still not my best at it, but I have progressed very much since I first attempted. Popping ollies was a thing I had feared since my childhood. So being able to finally ollie gave me a release I felt back for years.
Soon I started to see the nonphysical benefits I received from riding a longboard everywhere. It gave me courage and confidence. I gained self trust and got a whole lot better and making quick decisions because my lifestyle forced me to. My days and commutes to work became more memorable and also brought me closer to nature. With my new appreciation for my environment and body, I grew on all planes of being.
My environmental impact significantly decreased. Cars emit around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other gases for every gallon of gas used. Not contributing to polluting our planet felt good, especially being a chi gong practitioner and knowing how important clean air is to the life of all beings is.
I did receive rides from friends and family, even uber, however needing to depend on another for transportation only strengthened more relationships and created new relationships. I was practicing my communication skills with new people and made many new acquaintances riding in ubers with people I would’ve otherwise never met. Random people would come up to me and ask a version of “Hey, you’re that skater dude, right?”. My relationship with my dad strengthened the most. On days he’d pick me up, we’d talk on our drives. He would keep me in the loop of family affairs and talk to me about his own life. I felt our bond grow dramatically in a short time.
Almost immediately felt my pocket grow as I was no longer spending money on gas and insurance and maintenance. I felt my stress load lighten and had more financial freedom to save and budget as I pleased. I thought of Fight Club and Tyler Durden’s voice in my ear telling me that the stuff you own ends up owning you. Not having financial stress improved my overall health. I worried less, ate more, and had more money to use for fun.
Nearly a year ago I was freaking out, stuck in a scarcity mindset, and afraid that I had lost my freedom. Now I see losing my car only gave me freedom. An escape, a new way to grow and improve myself I feared because I wasn’t thinking of how this situation could improve me. I thought in scarcity and forgot to remind myself all is positive. I greatly recommend giving yourself a period of time to find another means of getting where you need to grow. Push outside your comfort zone and force yourself to grow.