Eschewing the urge to wallow

I’ve always been an extremely self conscious person. I would lie in bed at night when I was younger, replaying the day’s events in my mind. Berate myself for lost opportunities, for failing to come up with witty retorts, for a particularly embarrassing trip’n’fall, and so on. I had a kind of list going on. Points for having the guts to speak up in class. Points deducted for getting tongue tied in front of my crush. Basically, a tally of maturity, as judged by me.

When we got the news about this latest car repair, I wanted to throw myself on the ground and launch into a tantrum. Why’d you have to make such a big deal about one tiny thing? Couldn’t the first two mechanics’ clean diagnoses have sufficed?

I went for a long, sweaty run. Then I decided there was no point in sulking. I could let it ruin my afternoon, my day, my week. I could wallow, gloriously – if wallowing was a sport, I would be a Olympic athlete. I decided that heck, I can’t do anything about it. Shit happens; we couldn’t have done anything differently. You never know with a used car how it was treated before.

Or I could chin up, change my attitude and move on. Basically, act like a damn adult. Whining might make me feel better, temporarily, but accomplishes nothing. (I started bashing out a furious post, that went something along the lines of:

WHY do we always have the ridiculous problems? Why does nobody else we know have to deal with such insanely fucking expensive issues? Yeah, T drives a lot, but he doesn’t drive stupidly. Surely we’ve paid our dues with learning about regular maintenance, and paid our dues with his insistence on buying a stupid boyracey car and now opting for something sensible (insert LIFE’S NOT FAIR rant)

If I had double my cash savings right now, I would be seriously thinking about financing a brand new vehicle right now – 3% over 3 years, 30% down.)

before realising what a self-pitying douche I sounded like.)

And in the long run, whining only serves to make feel you worse. Instead, I would do what I do second best: deal with it. I’ve been meaning to get around to working out a new realistic number to direct into our irregulars account, which I’ve been putting off. As for ponying up the cash, it just means a blow to progress on the travel fund.

As always, car costs are the sticking point. We haven’t had any of our cars for more than two years, so judging reasonable ongoing repairs isn’t easy. Last year, the first year I tracked, we spent about $1000 on our piece-of-crap beater. So far we’re on track to spend double this year for our current 10-year-old one, between the new tyres and the new transmission (it was cheaper to replace the whole gearbox than the one specific part that conked out). I don’t anticipate much more for the rest of the year, and we shouldn’t need to get any work done to pass its warrant, but you just never know, do you?

Maybe aiming for $1200, the same figure as our motor insurance bill, is a good starting point. I figure this is actually not that crazy, because between his commute, visiting friends and family, and trips, we put a lot of kilometres on our one car. Where tyres might last 2-3 years for some people, it’s more likely to be closer to 18 months for us. So that’s already nearly $500 there. Add to that maybe $100-200 on fluids and filters for regular servicing, plus room for other nasty surprises.

So, do you love wallowing? Or are you a chin-up-and-get-on-with-it type? And how much do you spend on maintaining your car each year?

10 thoughts on “Eschewing the urge to wallow

  • Reply Alotta Lettuce February 18, 2011 at 11:48

    I’m not much of a wallower at all, although I’ve certainly had my moments. I think this is at least partially due to the fact that I was raised by a recovering addict, and the Serenity Prayer is a fundamental part of any 12 step recovery program. Over the years that refrain – grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference – really seeped into my psyche and my soul. As a result, I don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about things that are completely out of my control, or how I might do things differently if I could go back in time. Likewise, this prayer instilled a sense of boldness in me, and I generally DO find the courage to change the things I can. As for the wisdom part, well…..that’s debatable. 🙂

    It’s funny that this one prayer, with very Christian origins has played such a significant role in my approach to life, because I’m just about as agnostic as they come!

  • Reply Daisy February 18, 2011 at 11:53

    I would understand if you DID wallow – I hate car repairs more than I do almost everything. With a passion. I hate having to break down on the side of the road, call a tow truck, deal with slimy mechanics pay out the a$$ for something ridiculous . urgh.

    butttt I think it’s awesome that instead, you went for a run. It’s all about your attitude! Sometimes, wallowing is appropriate, and sometimes, it’s just easier to keep on keeping on.

    Luckily my dad & boy are really really good with mechanics, and my car is technically my dads so he buys parts. I can also do basics, so I don’t spend much on maitenence, unless I have to wait for FOREVER to get my dad to put whatever he’s doing down and fix my car for me..
    lol, which happened last year, & I spent $550 on my repair cause I got fed up and took it to the shop.

  • Reply Sense February 18, 2011 at 11:58

    I take a second to process, figure out if there is any other way around facing said difficult situation, and then take action pretty quickly. Afterward, though, while I’m waiting for the next step or if there is no action I can reasonably take to fix with the situation (my sister’s illness relapses come to mind), I tend to fall into a wallow. Like you, I’ve learned to buck up, chick! it does no good in the long run but sometimes a whine and wine to vent to a friend (or blog) is oh so cathartic. i am way more wallow-y on my blog than in real life; IRL I usually take it, deal with it and keep quiet mostly–maybe a quick complaint to a good friend if the situation is truly awful–but there is something about writing the situation out in black and white that encourages my wallow tendencies and acts as a vent for the frustration at the same time.

  • Reply Kevin @ Thousandaire.com February 18, 2011 at 12:30

    My $232 a month on a brand new Toyota Camry with full coverage warranty is the best money I’ve ever spent. I never have to worry about unreliable transportation. You may want to consider it.

  • Reply Amber from Girl with the Red Hair February 18, 2011 at 16:19

    I have gotten A LOT better about reminding myself not to get upset/wallow about things I can’t control!

    I don’t really spend any in car maintenance other than oil changes etc but my car is a 2008. I am kind of of the belief that it’s worth it to buy a newer car (if you can swing it) and make the payments every month. I HATE unexpected expenses so my low-maintenance car has worked well for me!

  • Reply The Asian Pear February 18, 2011 at 17:36

    definitely definitely a wallower. i’m like that song by Garbage, “Only Happy When it Rains”

    but outwardly, when I’m with people, I seem very optimistic. but internally? I wallow.

  • Reply First Gen American February 18, 2011 at 23:39

    Oh my, you just described my whole childhood, but I also wallowed about why I had an F-ed up family life and other people didn’t. I am still obsessing about how I handled something last week, and I just keep saying shut up brain. You already dealt with the situation, move on.

    Eventually after many years I realized that dwelling on the past doesn’t actually help you one bit. Taking steps for a better future does. There’s a book I read once called “wherever you go, there you are.” It was a philosophy book that talked about how much of our lives are spend reliving the past or thinking about the future and we totally miss out on the present. I think it fundamentally changed how I acted.

    It’s okay to wallow for a little while, as long as you learn from the experience and take action shortly thereafter.

  • Reply Kim February 19, 2011 at 07:58

    I self-critique a lot. I believe that it has something to do with my cultural heritage. My parents come from a very socially interdependent culture and it’s totally ingrained in them to not lose face, not be socially disapproved, as those are vital survival skills in such a society. Believing that such skills would serve me best, they have critiqued me socially from a young age. Not in an emotionally abusive way, but to make me more aware of my actions and the social perceptions of them so that I don’t become a social outcast. I have been and will probably always be a bit more hyper aware of the social perceptions of me, and I will always be critical of my actions and therefore, wallow in the unfortunate happenings of my life.

    So yes, I wallow. My wallowing is more tied to social situtations. I wallow a lot about my social mishaps or unfortunate events. I also wallow a lot after having my heart broken (it’s happened to me more than once). But I wallow less for unfortunate $ situations, especially the ones I can’t control.

    oh and I don’t spend any $ on car maintenance – I don’t have a car. but if I did, the ongoing surprises would really bother me.

  • Reply Lindy Mint February 24, 2011 at 13:26

    You’re right, wallowing over something you can’t change usually doesn’t make things any better. Sometimes a little wallowing can be good, if the situation is in my control to change. It gives me the kick in the pants that I need to move forward. As long as I don’t do something destructive while wallowing, like eat a whole bag of Oreos.

    Kicking myself over my lack of quick retorts – that is so me too. As for car repairs, we also buy new and try to pay it off early. And we buy Hondas because they never break and last forever.

  • Reply youngandthrifty March 1, 2011 at 20:05

    I sometimes wallow in self pity, but then other times realize how lucky I am. Mostly I realize how lucky I am, but I do tend to self-critique and obsess about my interactions with others a lot.

    I worry about how I present myself to others a lot (so I guess I’m with Kim- wallowing on social situations 🙂 )

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