I’ve Been Living Like Lightning McQueen for Too Long

The end of this month marks 10 years since I purchased my home. And I spent most of that time keeping my expenses to a minimum in order to pay it off last August. And since August, I’ve continued to keep my expenses down because I needed to replenish my emergency cash reserve. I’ve done a pretty good job, but there is always a tradeoff. In this case, my frugality has been at the expense of fixing things up at my home.

I made do with an old dishwasher for years until it started leaking a year ago and forced me to fix my now-warped kitchen floor and get a much better dishwasher. I have owned a good minivan for 11 years, and I now need to replace its tires and fix its anti-lock braking system. I had an unused swamp cooler in my roof that started allowing water to leak into the attic and through the ceiling last month. So I had to remove it, reroof, and repair the damaged part of the ceiling. And there are many other instances of things breaking and causing damage before I knew to respond to them.

In other words, I have been living my life like Lightning McQueen.

Following in Lightning McQueen’s Tire Tracks

At the start of the movie Cars, McQueen comes up with a strategy to win a race by just getting gasoline at his pit stops. Unlike all the other racers, he doesn’t wait for new tires or other maintenance that could have helped him. He chooses to gamble that nothing will go wrong, and he avoids facing problems until they stare him in the face.

His luck holds out until the last lap of the race when his tires start popping, one by one. As a result, he barely manages to hobble his way past the finish line. He could have lost everything because of his shortsighted way of thinking. Thankfully, he learns his lesson by the end of the movie, and he trusts his friends to help him through emergencies.

I would like to follow McQueen’s example at the end of the film and put my trust in a higher power. No, not Doc Hudson on a stand above the racetrack, but the Being who gives life to us all, no matter our race (Piston Cup, Radiator Springs Grand Prix), color (Rust-eze red, Dinoco blue), or creed (living in opposite world, “turn left to go right”).

Running on Empty

I’ve been living like I’m poor for a long time, not wanting to spend money on things I knew were necessary but I thought I could get away with avoiding for a time. Well, the time has finally come to deal with them. My water heater is more than 10 years old. It might be time to replace it. My front and side doors aren’t as well-sealed as I’d like them to be. I should probably look into fixing them. And there are many other changes I can make to reflect my new mentality of trusting that the money will be there to do them.

None of this is to say I intend to live extravagantly or beyond my means. What I’m saying is that I put in the hard work to eliminate my debt so that I won’t have to live with the fear of losing everything in an instant. I spent a long time getting out of debt so that I wouldn’t have the dead weight of my mortgage weighing me down every month. There’s no more danger of losing my house to the bank. The only danger now is losing my house to neglect.

A New Perspective on Money

I have a chance to prepare for whatever disasters lie in the future. I’m grateful to have been employed at the same good company for 13 years. Although I’ve never earned an extreme amount of money, I do a good job of saving what I earn. Being frugal has served me well up to this point. But now I’m striving to learn not to be so stingy that I miss out on all the good I can put my money to.

At the start of Cars, Lightning McQueen didn’t have any friends or family members to share the fruits of his fame with. By the end of the film, he has a whole town full of friends to share the wealth with. I’m grateful to already have a wife and children I can bless with stability and other benefits. May we all take a break from the freeway of life and take a nice quiet drive on a forgotten path that leads to higher, happier places most others never get a chance to see.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

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About Robert Lockard, the Deja Reviewer

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and four children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
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