At the Car Wash

I’ve rented only two cars in my life, but that is all it took for me to learn one of the great axioms of life.

You don’t wash a rental car.

You pick it up, you drive it a little faster and looser than you would your own car, then you drop it off and never see it again. You enjoy the fact that when you curb-checked over that corner, it’s not you who will have to deal with the shocks or alignment. Coffee spill on the center console? No sweat. Accidentally drive five miles with the emergency brake on? You don’t even flinch.

And the idea of washing it? HAAA.

But your car at home? Well, that should be a different story. I mean, you’re paying for the thing. You might not detail it and shampoo the carpets every weekend, but you try to maintain its quality and keep up its looks, right?

There’s a enormous difference between renting and owning a thing. And that principle can carry itself across the board in life.

For the longest time I was a ‘renter’; always dabbling in one thing or another, solidifying as a jack of all trades, and a master of none. I found myself busy in many things, but making meaningful progress in none of them. I didn’t even realize that it was what I was doing. I was burning up and burning out, and everything transformed in my life. The joy of doing a variety of things became the tyranny of checking things off of my list.

So, I decided to break my leases. I didn’t want to be a renter anymore, I wanted to be an owner.

So, as an owner in life, I’ve come to a couple conclusions:

  • I don’t have the personal budget to own everything, so I’ve had to trim down on what I own. This makes for me doing fewer things.
  • In what I do own, I’ve found more depth and significant growth. There has been more tangible development (and personal satisfaction) in the areas that I own than there ever was when I was renting.

I hope I’m not carrying the metaphor beyond its value, but it has made a significant difference in my life to rent less and own more.

Are you renting that car or owning it? How’s it working out for you?

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