Having a crappy first car builds way more character than your parents gifting you with a brand new Jeep Cherokee at 16.
(there's absolutely wrong with that, and it is great when parents are able to provide in that way)
But let's get real. Until you've not been able to go through a drive-through because your window does not roll down, or you've survived a summer in the South without air conditioning, or you've changed a blinker three times in one week you just do not get the struggle or the bragging rights.
Having a fixer-upper teaches you more about yourself and cars than you will ever know.
There is nothing quite like driving along the highway at night listening to the radio and hearing something POP before your car slowly comes to a stop and won't start back up. Those are the moments that define you. Do you call your mom crying? (@ me) Or do you whip out a flashlight and check things out? Either way, that's a learning moment. Until you've broken down on the side of the road in the middle of the night, you have no idea how you're going to react to that. So why not do it when you're young, impressionable and your parents/aunts/uncles/neighbors/etc. are only a phone call away?
They also teach you to listen to your car. I am an expert by no means, but after a few years of driving older cars, I know what to listen for. When your car is like your child, you know when it's sick. My car ( my boy Carl) has a tendency to get sicker in the cold. He does not enjoy the colder weather or the mountains I live in. He also has a terrible, terrible relationship with my lights.
So guess who knows how to change headlights and taillights and has done it over five times since this semester started? This girl.
You learn how to problem solve. You learn how to make things work until your next paycheck. You learn to listen more.
They teach you to be humble.
Trust me, rolling up to school and having a classmate tell you that your car sounds like a lawnmower hits you with a humbleness like no other. And that is a-okay. It's okay to not have the nicest car in the parking lot. Just like it's okay to not have the newest and overpriced Apple Watch or gaudy Lulu Lemon skirt. You can be rich it lots of ways, and let's be honest, there are better ways to be rich than in money. (not gonna lie it would be nice though) And is all honesty, I have a hell of a lot more memories of riding in my friend's crappy cars than their new ones. You don't get to name a brand new car Demon Jeep. You don't get the same set of emotions when you know you're going to make it to your destination no problem. There's nothing quite like not knowing if you'll make it there while listening to music through blown out speakers.
I love my old car. He may have lots of cracks in the dashboard. He may be missing a few hubcaps. He may have broken down in a parking garage and ruined my life for a solid day. He may look like something an old white guy named Carl would drive. (hence the name) But oh well. He runs pretty well. He gets me where I need to go. My insurance is cheap, and filling up my tank doesn't cost me a kidney.
So here's to all the old cars out there. The fixer-uppers, the could be betters, the cars who have manual windows and holes where a radio should be, and the straight up POS ones. Without you, I and some many others would not be the people we are today.
Thanks for the memories, stress, tears, and "dolla dolla bills yo" that I have spent on you.