This week a friend asked me, "Why did you decide to get rid of your car? Was it for ecological or economic reasons?"
Answer: It's not primarily for either of those reasons.
My kids have my car. They need one more than I do.
They have active social lives, I don't.
They want to go places, I don't. I like staying home.
It's not for ecological reasons, but I'm glad not to be buying gas and puffing out exhaust fumes.
It's good for my health. I walk most everywhere I want to go—the grocery store, public library, post office. I'll be back on my bike when winter's over.
It saves time, because I have to decide if I really need to go somewhere, and which one place I can go in a day, rather than driving around doing errands. I save money because I don't go shopping.
There are other financial reasons. I might get another car someday for special trips, but my priority for now and the foreseeable future is to save money. I'm using the income from my second job to pay as I go fixing up my house, which is kind of an investment as long as I'm careful and find creative solutions.
I'm lucky to live near the bus lines, and to have kind friends who give me rides sometimes.
I’ve been interested in time management techniques for a long time, and now that I am halfway through my 60s am even more motivated to make the most of the time I have to live. I wrote a song called “The Speed Limit Years”, the ages 55-70 that correspond to the maximum speed allowed on freeways in the United States. I decided to call this project the “Golden Decade: Getting Most Out of Your Sunset Years”, which I hope for me will be the ages 65-75, as I slow down a little but am not hopefully facing life-threatening conditions.
I’ve read a lot of self-help books in the last few years. I went through a painful re-education program to keep my job, learned and applied a lot, and came out the other end stronger and wiser. I asked myself a lot of questions and became more stoical. I learned a lot from the problems I had and wouldn’t want to trade them in even if I could go back in time. I didn’t keep a good record of all the sources of the ideas that inspired me, so I won’t be able to credit the original authors, but I guess the ideas are more important than the names and book/article titles and that they would just interrupt the flow. One I do remember is from one of my mentors (people who have guided me through their writings and saying, most of whom I have never met), Naval Ravikant, who said you shouldn’t rent out your time. He says very few people will freely give away their money, but most will give away their time, which is even more precious than money since you can always get more money but never more time. He says that the goal is to get to the point where you don’t have to go anywhere you don’t want to go, wear anything you don’t want to wear, and do anything you don’t want to do. I have become much more attentive to how to use time wisely and enjoyably, and most of what I expect I’ll be writing on here is how to use your time and energy to maximum advantage. The Golden Decade is a good time to do this since you generally have more free time (whether you’re “retired” or not), and don’t have to worry about looking cool anymore. What have you got to lose?
I'm wound up and winning, and hope that some of these suggestions may contribute to your happiness.