Behind the Wheel: Rethinking Value and Worth Beyond Car Ownership

In a world fixated on possessions, join me on a journey where the absence of a car doesn't define limitations but challenges societal norms. As a single mother navigating economic turmoil, my decisions, from forgoing car ownership to embracing urban convenience, were not flaws but strategic choices. Dive into a narrative unveiling the intricacies of survival, societal judgments, and the resilience of those carving their paths in a system that often overlooks their struggles. Let's explore the complexities of worth and value, transcending the mere presence of a vehicle in a driveway.


12/19/20232 min read

cars on road during daytime
cars on road during daytime

Navigating through the tumultuous waves of an economic downturn as a single mother hasn’t been just a trial—it’s been a test of resilience and resourcefulness. The rising cost of living and the weight of unexpected circumstances left me grappling with difficult choices, ones that others often misinterpret without considering the intricacies of my situation.

The ordeal began with a borrowed car that vanished into the labyrinth of an impound lot, demanding a hefty sum far exceeding its actual value. A car, once a lifeline, suddenly became an anchor dragging down my already strained financial stability. It wasn't merely a vehicle's absence; it was a calculated decision in a world where economic constraints dictate survival.

Choosing not to purchase another car wasn't a reflection of my inability to provide; it was a strategic choice borne from the realities of being a single mother supporting two children on a minimum wage. Relocating to the city offered solace in a realm where convenience ruled—where every necessity could be delivered, and where ride-sharing and public transit paved the way for mobility without the burdens of car ownership.

My decision was not driven by ignorance but by logic. As a forty-year-old, first-generation business student working from home, the lack of a car wasn’t an impracticality; it was a calculated move. Having never been a regular driver before the car's disappearance, purchasing another vehicle that would sit idle, vulnerable to the playful scratches and dents of my kids, seemed absurd.

Yet, amidst my logical reasoning, the world wasn’t as forgiving. The judgments hurled at me—labels of "loser" or "incompetent"—penetrated deeper than mere words. Society’s gaze, fixated on material possessions, failed to comprehend that my worth wasn’t measured by the metal parked in a driveway.

Now, without a car, the judgments persist, intensified by the disappearance of my children, who, at sixteen, sought solace elsewhere, interpreting my lack of wheels as an inability to provide the life they yearned for. Their departure, misunderstood as an outcome of my financial constraints, echoes the societal disregard for the complexities of my reality.

The truth is, the burden isn't solely about the absence of a vehicle; it's a reflection of a societal structure that often overlooks the struggles of individuals striving to survive. The perception of others, muddled by narrow-minded judgments, fails to acknowledge the grind of a single mother trying to make ends meet in a landscape where affordability is a privilege.

Yes, I yearn for the ease of having a car to transport my burdens and my dreams. Yet, the stark reality remains—the exorbitant costs, the upkeep, the insurance—all compounded by the demands of full-time work and schooling.

The refrain of the society’s chorus, condemning my choices while neglecting my strides for a better tomorrow, continues to play. The unseen efforts, the battles fought silently, are eclipsed by the spotlight on what I lack rather than what I endeavor to achieve.

So, here I am, not as a victim but as a warrior, challenging the misconceptions that shroud my reality. It’s not just about a car; it's about a system that fails to see beyond the surface. It's a call to witness the struggles of countless individuals striving for survival in a world where the measure of worth transcends the possession of a vehicle parked in a driveway.

a highway filled with lots of traffic next to tall buildings
a highway filled with lots of traffic next to tall buildings