February 4, 2010
Cars are one of my weaknesses. By the time I was able to ride a bike out of the neighborhood, my buddy Steve and I visited all the car dealers in Lake City each Fall to catch the unveiling of exciting new models that came out every year about September 20.th Unless you were there, you just can’t imagine how exciting it was to be the first to glimpse the Ivory 1959 Chevy Impala 2 door hardtop with the red stripe flowing into batwing fins; or to sit in a red 1964 Mustang convertible and imagine how happy you would be if you could own one someday.
So when I drove by this rare pink 57 Lincoln the other day, that I felt the urge to go back and gawk. Although 15,185 were produced there is a guess that only 86 exist today. During the era when people measured greatness by “Chrome, Fins and Tonnage,” this car had to be the epitome of envy in its day. When few cars had power equipment, this flamingo colored beauty had power windows, brakes, steering, antenna, air conditioning and a huge 368 V8 engine equipped with dual exhausts that exited through portholes in massive chrome bumpers. And those fins!! My goodness, not even Cadillac had fins this showy in 1957! But within a year or two it was no longer called “the most beautiful car in production.” It had been eclipsed by bigger, faster, sexier nemesis; and within a few decades this former beauty queen would become clutter. It’s just the nature of our possessions; they get old, rusty and out of date. If we are base our happiness on the mantra that “he or she who has the most toys wins” we really don’t end up being happy.
So what’s the wisdom from an old Lincoln? Buying trendy stuff….is a loser in the long range happiness department. We may not be buying luxury cruisers, but how many American’s end up hobby shopping? Since our economic downturn many people are depressed because they are not able to “shop till they drop.” But what did we get in return? More stuff, more clutter, more unread books and another pair of pants that no longer fit. Better to put things on a wish list and wait a month to see if we still think it will make us happy, or if there is some other way to bring enjoyment to our lives.
On the other hand the money we spend on experiences contributes to our happiness much more than our stuff does. Vacations, theatre tickets, dining with friends, is a better pay off and if in the process it brought us closer to the people in our lives, we will rank the value of those times as priceless. It’s been said that “Life’s truest happiness is found in friendships we make along the way” (Author Unknown) Relationships are where we find our best source of happiness, because this is where we get to love and be loved in return; and people who feel loved are happy people.
So what are you doing sitting there? Share some love! Plan a date with your mate…take in a burger and a movie with a buddy...call those family members you never get to see…plan a hike or swim with your kids! Or for those who dare to live on the edge…INVITE FRIENDS TO YOUR HOME FOR A MEAL!!!! It may just be pizza night, but I can guarantee that pizza with your pals will bring greater happiness than another car payment.
Flamingo colored Lincolns come and go, but the experiences with our loved ones can bring happiness to our hearts and shared memories that will last a lifetime.