14 August 2020


Down the rabbit hole
Photo of unoccupied table in a library covered in books

As you might already know (from previous blog posts), I own a Mitsubishi FTO that was born in 1994.

Ah yes, the year 1994. Those were the glory days right? To be honest, I wouldn't really know, as I was born in the year following 1994.

It still surprises me, every now and then, to be in possession of something so ancient (in today's standards), and you might be asking yourself, 'Why does he do this to himself?'.

Would it not just be easier to surrender what belongs in the past and get with the times? To go into a dealership and trade money for a psychological buffer of reliability and security that a new machine would provide?

Of course it would. There are very real costs, financial and otherwise, attached to preserving an older machine. If anything, I have had nothing but problems since owning the FTO.

And the problems go deep, spending hours lying down on the ground, cold and exhausted, trying to solve one problem, only to create another new can of worms.

This journey keeps going and going and going, until finally there comes a day when you get into the car and there comes peace. The weird sounds are no longer there, the steering wheel stops vibrating and the engine readily turns over as if called to stand to attention and purrs along smoothly.

And then you grin with pride, thinking to yourself, "This is too good to be true!", and nudge yourself gently out of that elevated state and back down into reality.

A state not filled with the uber highs and lows of excitement, high energy, disappointment or anxiety, but a steady sense of calm, contentment and ultimately, anticipation of the next challenge that is to come over the horizon.

If there is one thing I have learnt from tinkering with cars from past generations, it is this.

It is a foolish endeavour to expect problems just to conclude to some finite end, once and for all. Just like in the rest of life, time brings to a machine wear, deterioration and the necessary urgency, a call to action, to evolve from one state into the next.

This urgency, this call for attention, manifests itself in the form of Problems.

Knowing this then, problems become an integral part of the natural cycle. There is nothing 'unfair' about being dealt with problems, there is nothing inherently wrong with You - all of this is part of the journey of what it takes to be a human being.

Even a brand new car, freshly minted off the production line, can never fulfill the impossible role as the impenetrable shield against problems and the uncertainties of life. Things go wrong over time, but perhaps, new machines are blessed with a stroke of beginner's luck and have not had the opportunity just yet.

So, I sit here today asking myself the question of: 'If it is not within my power to live in peace by eliminating problems completely, what then should I aim to do?'.

Perhaps a better question to ask could be: 'How might I become better at dealing with problems once they manifest?'.

I'm not sure what a good answer to that question might look like, and so the personal journey for me continues.

. . .

Problems emerge, in small and harmless forms initially, and demand for your attention.

Do you put them aside, sneak them beneath the mound of clothes already growing on the floor?

Or do you attempt to sort them out to where they belong, one small step at a time?

As the old adage goes, better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

“ To drive successfully, we don't have to understand, or even perceive, the complex machinery of our automobiles. The hidden complexities of our private cars only intrude on our consciousness when the machinery fails... when our car fails, our incompetence with regards to its complexity is instantly revealed. ” - Jordan Peterson