Why Does Change-And Our Attachment to Things-Affect Us So?
“Change is good” . We’ve all heard or said it, usually as a comfort, to help reconcile the odd assortment of feelings that change brings. Even when we intellectually “know” it’s a good change-why does change-and “our things”- affect us so?
I left a good friend yesterday. We had been very close for the last 6 years, but things have changed, my needs were different, and it was time to move forward. I am, of course speaking of my car…or rather, my old car.
Many people develop attachments to their cars, even those who don’t drive for a living. Some even give their cars nicknames. Oddly, it was Doug who brought it up, and noticed I never did that with this car…or really, any of the others.
I’ve driven Honda Accords since 1981, and my fondness for them largely had more practical roots: I never, ever got stuck-financially, or otherwise; and am probably alive today because of how two of them performed when other automobiles crashed into me.
If I had nicknamed it, it’d surely be The White Knight. This car was the replacement car that made me feel safe again. On a dark and rainly night in October 2005, a hit and run driver clipped my rear bumper when trying to pass me on the Taconic parkway. My car spun, the other driver then broad-sided me, and took off. I was ok, car was totaled.
There were many other worse-case scenarios that could have happened. There could have been other cars involved. The other driver could have hit me on the driver side, instead of the passenger side. Doug and I had been painting his mom’s house, getting it ready for sale, as part of getting her estate settled. Our beloved dog Bella was with us, and moments before had been in my car. But just before we left, Doug decided to take her home in his car instead. Then there is that whole being left in the middle of a dark parkway, facing northbound in the southbound lane thing.
Leaving this car behind in the dealership, it took a mental nano-second to be right back there: Terror, shock, fear, gratitude, anger; then jubilation, and ultimately redemption …oh, did I forget to tell you? After we both stopped moving, the other driver has passed in front of me, looking straight at me. Got a good look at her, and her car. Ten days later, to the great disbelief of the State Trooper who had responded, I FOUND THE CAR at a local body shop. OH YES< I DID! This, and the description I gave at the scene, led to a driver who cofessed. HA!
Inanimate objects are often a tangible bond to very real people, feelings and experiences, and when change leads us to part with objects or situations, we remember, re-consider, even re-live all that went before. Even reading my own brief story, wasn’t your own heart pounding just a little faster?
Whatever I experienced in 6 years with this car, it’s many time more visceral for many are asked to part with more personal stuff, or who are moving from a home. It might not be everyone’s experience. It’s not logical, but it’s real. And to be respected.