Where I grew up most kids had to purchase their own first car. For me that meant going in half-way with my brother and purchasing a 1986 Subaru GL. A clunker if there ever was one. It got us to and from school just fine, but we often fought about who got to take the car and hang out with friends.

Eventually the car became mine. My brother preferred driving my parents beat-up 1987 Suburban anyway. It was more manly. I took that opportunity to make the Subaru my own.

The first problem was that the radio didn’t work. Instead I pulled out a portable CD player (with a radio tuner) and got myself some cheap car speakers from Radio Shack, in bright yellow. I used Velcro to keep them to the dashboard, then hung various trinkets from the rearview mirror.

Alright, I know what you’re thinking. Is there a point to this post? Yes, and I promise I’ll get to it. The thing is, our first cars shape the way we drive. My first car was my freedom. I used to drive just for the sheer joy of it. Today, the practical side of me says that’s a waste of gas, but oh how I miss those days.

There is something about your first car that, no matter how beat up, makes you feel like you have the world at your fingertips. Unfortunately, the buzz fades.

Don’t tell me that you’ve been reading this post without thinking about your first car, because I know you have. Take a moment to let all the sweet memories sink in. Find that happy place of freedom and pull it inside you.

Doesn’t it feel good?

Back to my point. We don’t need to feel the exciting nervous jitters that we had with our first car. Learning how to drive and becoming comfortable with it is a good thing. But we do need to remember that driving is so much more than a chore.

How often are you on the road mumbling about how much you hate your commute, or the other drivers, or just wishing the guy in front of you would speed up already? My guess is, too much.

When did the magic of driving become something that is necessary and nothing more? When did we lose that high of gripping the wheel and feeling the power of the motor underneath the gas pedal? Driving is an amazing thing, something that should be treated with much more respect than it is.

Take that nostalgia of your first car and remember to be courteous on the road. Cars are still our freedom. Take note of how they improve your life. Yes, gas prices are crazy. Yes, cars break down. But could live without one?

It’s we were more grateful for cars and how they improve our lives rather than hinder it. Don’t forget the other drivers on the road either. All of us want to feel that driving euphoria again, but we can’t do that with angry and spiteful drivers.

It’s important that we see the good in driving and use it to our best ability.

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