Spoiler: I was not ready.
So I bought a car a few weeks ago! A purchase that was a year in the making! And when the time came on May 31, I still was not ready! Actually, that's not true--I was excited by then. Before, however, was a different story!
After I finished exposure therapy last summer, it became clear that I would need a car of my own, so that I could drive regularly and stay un-terrified of driving. But I was not thrilled about this proposition. Luckily, saving for a down payment was a great, indisputable excuse that let me to hang out in comfy noncommital limbo for awhile. In the meantime, I could borrow my dad's car and drive to work once a week, thereby not undoing all the progress of exposure therapy. Insert thumbs-up emoji here.
Buuut then, in March, I got my tax return back and could suddenly afford a down payment.
OH CRAP! was pretty much my mindset from March until May, although I did test-drive a few cars and work out my budget in that time. And my commute on public transportation was getting to be a giant pain in the ass. A normal person would have reached their breaking point with a four-hour-a-day commute long ago, but for someone who feels anxious in down time and also while driving, it was nbd. Or at least it had been. I couldn't deny that a 45 minute drive, in a car that was waiting for me whenever I was ready to leave work, was pretty sweet. Certainly less stressful than trying to make four Septa connections each way!
A week or so before I bought the car, I was on the bus near work (connection #1) heading home when I saw that my usual train was delayed and that a portion of the el (which I would take in place of the train or catch later in its route after getting off the train) was shut down altogether. I jotted down what ran through my mind as I hyperventilated through that commute, so I wouldn't forget how insane it was:
I could no longer deny the ridiculousness of my commute. But even so, the night before I was set to buy the car, I was having serious second thoughts, and poor Pops made the mistake of asking me about my lack of enthusiasm. "OF COURSE I'm not excited--I'm about to sign my life away to something that scares me! Why would be excited about that?!" And that's when I realized that I was actually having a very normal reaction for me. I have never been someone who welcomes change with open arms. So of course I'd be freaking out about having to embrace change, commitment, and driving all at once! IT ALL MADE PERFECT SENSE! I was right on track (for me)! And realizing that took away a lot of the worry and doubt. Instead of falling prey to my anxiety and interpreting it as a sign that buying a car would be a huge mistake, I was just like, "Oh, I'm exactly where I usually am in situations like this. It's just business as usual, ok." And, lo and behold, I felt excited when I woke up the next morning! I was still nervous of course, but I wanted to pursue the trip to the car dealership as planned. I did play a pump-up song on the way there, but the rest is history!
No joke, this is my jam. And only the "club remix" version, haha!
As I had feared before buying the car, I'm still stressed about driving. But that makes sense too--there's no real way to get used to driving every day without having a car to, you know, drive every day. So I'm hoping that this residual anxiety dissipates with more driving practice. But so far, I don't regret taking this leap at all.