Meet my new-to-me ’09 Subaru Forester.
A new-to-me car may not seem like a big deal to some. But to me, it’s a huge symbol of how far I’ve come. I don’t consider myself a super materialistic person, albeit I do love some finer things in life. However, I know that’s not what lasts, and the things in my life are far less precious than the beings in my life.
The thing is…I came from this. My old ’99 Forester with 216k on it. After searching for a few months, and realizing that my $12/hour job was not going to qualify me for any loan, even with a co-signer, I needed a car quickly after the Jeep failed inspection with a potentially costly bill. What most people don’t know, is that due to the financial situation I was in after Kevin died, I purchased this car with 160k on it from a “no credit required” dealer in Lancaster and dropped off my payments there every month for over a year.
But let me go back even further.
After purchasing 3 Saturns and working for 2 central Pennsylvania Saturn dealerships in the early to mid 2000s, I met and married Kevin. Kevin brought along with him a car payment on his ’04 Neon SRT4. 2 car payments with 2 purchased-new 2004 vehicles. We were strapped. All extra funds had been spent on immigration costs. A few months into the marriage, we put my Saturn ION up for Sale, hoping to unload a car payment since Kevin was given a work truck to use during the day, a true blessing. But my car sat, and sat and sat with no sellers.
About 1.5 months before Kevin passed away, I had a buyer who was willing to pay the exact price of the loan, and willing to wait until the title came in the mail after it was paid off. Another blessing.
A few weeks after that we purchased a beat up ’99 Jeep Cherokee Sport so that Kevin could be taken to the beach since he didn’t have the strength to walk up the dunes to surf fish. We made 2 last Assateague trips together – 1 failed, one good.
Soon after, I sold Kevin’s ’04 SRT-4 to my amazing brother in law who unloaded me of that second costly car payment. The jeep, however, only lasted me exactly 1 year before it failed inspection due to excessive rust in the floorboards (not to mention, I had dumped a buttload into it over that year).
And so enters the ’99 Subaru. It cost some funds to keep running, most of which was assisted to me by my parents, my siblings, and my boyfriend. But she kept running. I had her exactly 3 years and I took her over those same beach dunes that I had with the Jeep. Tied to that car are a lot of memories – mostly just of me. Me, cruising the country, trying to figure out what was next in life.
With the switch to my awesome new job, I realized that the possibility of me having a car that doesn’t need a repair every 2 months was possible. Maybe not a new car, but a new to me car. And so when I drove that new-to-me car home last night, I realized just how far I had come.
I could afford a healthy amount of debt that wasn’t high interest like some of the credit cards I just paid off. I could have a few extra features in it that I never had before. I could do it all on my own…if I have to.
So from that first ’94 Saturn until now, my vehicle situation has gone up and down and all over the place. Each one has given me an adventure, and each one led me here. So a car may not mean that much to you. But sometimes, seeing that symbol in front of you of what you have come through means a whole heck of a lot. Thanks everyone for all you have done to help me get to this amazing freedom in life. It means everything.