I got my car detailed yesterday. It’s a small SUV that suits me well. Over the past couple of years, though, as much as I love this car, I’d grown pretty used to using it as more of a tiny pick-up truck than as a “car”. We moved. Started a business. For big needs and small needs, my SUV served us well. We only needed to rent a truck specifically to haul something twice: once for a king size mattress, and again for a band-saw. Not bad. Here’s the thing though; I wasn’t investing time in proper care of my SUV all this time, and aside from occasionally taking out all the bits and pieces of trash and nonsense flung about or running it through a car wash now and then, I just wasn’t caring for my car as though it were a car I love… I was just “using it up”.

…I catch myself doing that with my own reserves of energy far too often…

So, after my Traveling Partner got a pick-up, it was clearly time to put things right with my car. I got it detailed, to give me a head start on keeping it nice, again.

Getting into my car after it was ready to be picked up was… an experience. It was cleaner than it was when I bought it! Wow. Every nook and cranny… clean. Carpets? Clean and deep dark black once again. Upholstery? Clean. Not a single crumb or mote of dust to be found. Super clean. That under-dash panel that popped off a couple years ago (that I was obviously too lazy to put back)? Back where it belongs. That wee clip or cover for something or other? It’s back on, too. The car smells clean. Wow. Just… yeah. Wow.

It was once again a thoroughly enjoyable experience to drive my SUV. Like… a total blast. I do love this particular car. Have since I first drove it. I’ll probably get a new one in a couple years – that good. In the meantime, though, the experience of enjoying this one? Fully restored. No trash or empty coffee cups on the floor. No dust or crumbs anywhere at all. It’s such a cute ride.

This is a real experience – but it’s also a metaphor. If we drive ourselves so hard that we begin using ourselves up, never taking time for self-care, or a moment to appreciate our accomplishments, or to just enjoy our life for a little while, we lose the joy that our experience can provide. We begin to lose a sense of what makes us special as an individual. We begin to take our qualities for granted, and become – even with ourself – exploitative and potentially even abusive (of our own self, and this fragile vessel in which we reside for this mortal lifetime). Life can become a grind. A series of errands.

It’s down to the details, isn’t it? How I care for myself matters; doing so, or not doing so, changes my experience of myself and my life. Worth considering.

I sip my coffee thinking happily about my very clean cute SUV. I think about the conversation my Traveling Partner and I were having last night about making some changes to our shared camping gear to account for the truck – it has vastly more room for things than my SUV! Trying to camp in style with just gear that fits in my SUV is a bit limiting, and fine for a solo experience, less so for the two of us. I grin thinking about my Traveling Partner shopping for a proper camp kitchen set-up. I generally get by with my Jet-Boil and freeze-dried camp meals. lol I’m looking forward to better camp food. 😀 (He’s a super good cook, too.)

A new day dawns. I think about odds and ends and things I need to get done. A quick trip to the grocery store. Put essentials back in the car now that it’s detailed (like, hey, the freakin’ paperwork back into the glovebox!!). Launder my all-weather gear that stays in my car for whenever I need it. Emergency kit. My spare cane. I shift in my seat restlessly.

…It’s already time to begin again…