I would drive around hearing nothing but the engine roaring and the sound of the wind blowing past my ears, springing my hair into the air. I took these drives for that exact reason. To have no music, no one and no distractions around me. When I drive my 1966 mustang it is simply to go for a drive. When can we say that in our day to day life? That we leave the busy behind, the worry behind and just drive.
I went down back roads into areas like Pungo and deep into Chesapeake. You could argue that I was lost at times, but the beauty of it is if you have no real destination can you ever truly get lost? I always found my way back, never ran out of gas and the engine never overheated. Which those two variables are a real concern with a classic car in the middle of summer.
Around the time I got my driver’s license my Dad purchased this Mustang in Greensboro, North Carolina. This was where my brother was going to college and he was one of the first in our family to test drive it with our Dad. I was taught to drive this Mustang after I learned on our Jeep Grand Cherokee, and it was very different. There are things that I have learned from this classic car that I would like to share with you.
- I learned about power steering and that old classic cars do not have it. To make a turn you had to prepare for it, and not that it was hard, but you would have to make a conscious effort to turn the mustang the direction you wanted it to go. I have to use my entire upper body for this at times and I need to prepare for the turn long before I am approaching it. This helped me realize that we have the power to steer our lives in the direction that we choose. Yes, circumstances happen, directions change and can knock you off your course for a period of time but I have learned that with determination and a conscious effort you alone can steer your way back to the direction that you want to be in.
- To disconnect. So much of our lives are filled with electronics, social media and the outside world chiming in on your day to day life. Do this, be this, be skinnier, lose weight, buy this, get rid of that, that’s not in anymore, etc. The list goes on and on, I did not even touch on to-do lists and work, but you get the idea. When I was sixteen my least favorite thing about our mustang was that it did not have an FM radio. As I got older this became one of my favorite things. When I am driving I am often driving in silence, with the exception of the engine working and the sound of the wind. My phone is put away, because no one should text and drive! It becomes one of the best forms of solitude and slowing down your busy day to day life, even if you are speeding a little down a back road. I hope everyone finds something in their lives that can help them disconnect. For awhile I would go running without any music, and just run. I loved it, but now I am picking up running again and training for a half marathon and I need music to keep me going that distance. Anything that you absolutely love try to do that to disconnect, to give yourself time to just be.
- To listen. With a classic car you need to listen to what it is trying to tell you. If it is too hot on a summer day that baby will let you know! The engine almost talks to you and you need to be able to listen to it. While I am paused at a stoplight and the engine is getting to hot, I have one foot on the break peddle and my right foot UNDER the gas peddle lifting it UP. You read that right. My dad taught me this because the engine will let you know when it is getting to hot, if you’re listening, and with older cars the gas peddle doesn’t always come completely off with pressure to the engine, so you have to stick your foot under there and help alleviate the pressure. You do not know what is going on within your engine or your life for that matter if you don’t silence yourself to truly listen. I am sure that you have heard those sayings about truly listening to people and not just responding to fill the conversation with more words. Take in what they are saying so that you can give back with a thought out response.
- How to practice patience. To start the mustang you have to pump the gas peddle a few times, but not to many times. Then you need to turn the key to one click and then turn it completely over but not to quickly and for not to long and not to scarcely. I say scarcely, if that’s the right word anyways, because I would get scared about starting the engine when I first started driving the mustang. It would take me around four attempts every time because I either started out to scared that I wouldn’t start the engine properly or I started out to fast wanting to get it right the first time, that I almost never got it right the first time. I would want to give up or just go inside and get my Dad to do it for me. Over time my patience got better, lasted longer, and I realized that I was learning what the car truly needed to start. This took time, it took not giving up and patience to learn. Which I think we all can learn a thing or two when it comes to practicing patience. If I had given up on my photography dream and building my business, I wouldn’t have taken the years and patience to build exactly that. Building, to me, takes time and to last you cannot pop over a months time like a new neighborhood or a new condo complex. To build an older home or an older car takes patience and to build your dreams within your career or what you want to do with your life takes patience.
- To plan for what’s ahead. Along with no power steering classic cars do not stop as quickly as newer cars. Say you were looking out the window at a beautiful sunset, or reaching over your seat to grab something (hopefully not your cell phone!) and then you look in front of you, slam on your breaks and come inches from the car in front of you. Has this happened to you? I think we can all raise our hand for that and for numerous reasons, but your car did not hit the car(s) in front of you. With my 1966 mustang and other classic cars, you would have hit them. Going a regular speed my Dad taught me to start gently pushing on the brake well before you would in a modern car. If you saw a red light down the road, but were not quite there yet, with traffic around you, you would need to begin to brake. This is for a couple of reasons. Some of those being to not stress the engine of an older car, or the brakes. To not have to jolt to a halt, which you can’t really do anyways. And to plan ahead so you never put yourself and your mustang in that situation in the first place. I value living in the moment and being present but when I refer to planning ahead, I mean planning for where you want your life and/or business to be in the future. It is never a bad thing to have goals and to have action steps to get you to them.
- Be. You are probably wondering what the heck I mean by a two letter word, be. Which I guess I could use, to be or just be, but I like the weight and meaning that just takes two letters to mean so much. I learned to, be. Be myself. Be present. Be patient. Be a listener. Be a planner. Be intentional. Be disconnected, in a good way. Be the steerer of my life. There is nothing more that I want then for others to find those things as well. Life can be hard and at times we may struggle but if you give yourself time to figure it out you can come out by being everything that you wanted to be. Take how I say “being everything” very lightly. What I mean by that is only being everything that you want to be and implementing what you want to place into your life and not what the world wants you to be. There is no way that you can actually be everything but you can 100% be everything that you want to be.
The world is your oyster, I never understood that saying truly, so I will say this; The world is your map and you are classic, valuable and a reliable engine. Get out there and be everything that you want to be!