September 1989, I was 19 years old, living in Dayton with my future husband and working for a doctor part time with the plan to finish my college degree. During this month, I adjusted to living in a new city, got engaged and bought a newer car. A 1986 Nissan 300ZX in a deep burgundy paint with matching leather interior, a five-speed transmission, smoky T-tops and black louvers over the hatch window which I thought was the coolest thing ever. I loved this car even though it was only a two-seater and it certainly wasn’t the fastest thing on the road but it was fun to drive. And I love to drive.
I used to dream off driving when I was kid. While other girls were dreaming of becoming nurses, teachers or mothers, I wanted to be a race car driver. I started driving young around my grandparents farm but mostly tractors and not fast cars just out of the necessity of farm work needs every pair of able hands to get completed especially on their small, cash-poor farm. Driving felt like it was in my blood, I love to drive, fast.
I never became a race car driver but I loved zooming around in my Z. The car drew attention because it was pretty snazzy back in the day but I didn’t buy it for attention, I bought it because it was an adrenaline rush on four wheels. But like life can be when you make poor decisions (marrying the wrong man), your dreams can get hijacked and your life goes a different direction.
Over the years I have become the practical person who has watched her finances and tamped down a lot of my dreams and desires until the last few years. Several months ago, my husband and I got to talking about our future plans and finances as we will be turning 50 in 4-6 years (he is two years younger so I hit the milestone first). Did we want to buy another camper? Motorcycles? Travel to Europe? We mulled around the possiblities. We ended up decided on buying a Corvette. I imagined one that was a few years old but all souped up and super fast. We would save up and splurge on one. My husband grew up around Corvettes as his father was an engineer for GM. I don’t have a particular alliance to any sports car so I was fine with the selection.
My husband, however, started doing research into what he wanted. I’ll make a long story short, we ended up buying one now rather than 4-6 years later. Instead of a super expensive high end model, we got an 8-year old base model with low miles that was one-owner and still smelled new inside. I hadn’t driven a manual transmission since the early 2000’s so I test drove it twice just to get the feel back. Wow, it was fast and powerful even as the base model. The car is silver without racing stripes or anything that really stands out except for the fact that it is a Corvette. I preferred it that way. There aren’t a lot of options on the car but we both own optioned out daily drivers and really we were busying something fun to drive that won’t even see winter roads and salt. It is actually cheaper than both our vehicles though most people wouldn’t guess it.
We went with a hard top coupe which you can remove the top and it’s similiar to a convertible. The first weekend was gorgeous weather and we spent both days driving around in it and exploring places I haven’t been in years. I think we were smiling ear to ear the entire weekend because my face muscles hurt Monday morning and I was a bit sunburnt. My husband went back to work Monday but I didn’t drive it again until Tuesday evening after work when no one was home, my first time driving it solo. The sun was starting to set and fall was definitely in the air. I drove down my road and along some other back roads, feeling the thrill and adrenaline rush of feeling so much power.
It dawned on me as I drove back home that I had long locked away my dream of owning a sports car when I had to give up my Z back in 1990. I had literally talked myself out of it and told myself that it was no longer important. I had my sportscar and I should be happy that I once owned one. I settled. I’ve done that a lot in my life. Let the fire just be squashed right out of me by life. Or by ex husbands, failed marriages, etc. I think you reach a point where you are tired and worn down. A ‘valley’ of sorts. Where you regather your strength and try and reignite the fire you lost. Slowly mine is coming back. According to my therapist, it happens often to middle-aged people. Makes sense.
So now, I’m enjoying zipping around in our Corvette, my husband is on Cloud 9 with our new car. It gives us something to bond over, enjoy and travel around in as a couple (two-seater). We are planning our anniversary road trip at the end of October now as we speak.
Now I am going to dig deeper to see what other dreams I may have squashed. Don’t talk yourself out of your dream, you might just need to make a few adjustments or just believe again. Even if it seems frivolous or useless, remember life is really short and waiting until you retire, etc. when you can do something now might not be the best thing. Tomorrow is never promised.