I had been eyeing this car for a very long time. It solidified all of my hopes, dreams, and goals that truly represented and exemplified what I thought was pure success. It was coveted by my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances alike. It was, “Man, you are so damned lucky!” I concurred as I felt I had finally made it. Like right off the showroom floor, I had much to be prideful and joyful about. This car was my “Baby”!
My Baby was new. My Baby was fresh. My Baby smelled great. My Baby looked great. All of my friends were in awe of my Baby. As I drove around, I showed my Baby off as my pride was totally unleashed. I was like a little kid in a candy store.
As time wore on, so too did the newness, freshness, and looks too. The outside began to show signs of aging, wear, and tear. The inside began to demonstrate dysfunctionality as things began to malfunction. Many mechanisms started exhibiting signs of fault and failure. I kept wondering what was wrong as I pondered what was happening. And it didn’t make much sense. Why was this happening to me? I loved this car. As much as I loved this car, this car didn’t love me back it seemed. My prized car just wasn’t quite the same anymore. I began to become disenchanted and discouraged and remorseful for having gotten this car.
But I also had to come to terms with my role in these faults and failures. Had I taken the time and care to protect my Baby from the outside environment, the signs of wear and tear and aging, while still present, wouldn’t be nearly as apparent and as visible as they became. Maintenance? What maintenance? Just like everything else in life, that too was largely ignored. That takes effort, and now that I had my Baby, I felt that I could put her on the back burner now, and make other things a priority instead. It must be a structured element, for it got to a point where I just couldn’t rely on my Baby anymore.
I thought about trading her in, but by now, I had become very attached to her for a very long time. My Baby, in spite of all of her shortcomings, had become as iconic to me as I had to her. To quote Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks), “we were like peas and carrots”. Whenever I would show up anywhere, everybody would ask “Where’s Baby?” or “What’s wrong with Baby?” or “What happened to Baby?”. Embarrassed and guilty and ashamed by the way I had abused her, resulting in all of the dysfunctional shortcomings exhibited by her, I just didn’t have it in me to say. I would generally just say “at home” and just hope that would suffice so that I didn’t have to answer any more questions.
Baby was just worn out. She could only take so many years of abuse. I finally abandoned her for a newer model. Besides, she was ugly now. She wasn’t very well maintained and taken care of and became way too high maintenance for me. The exhibited problems could no longer overcome the luster or appeal that was once attractive to me. Hopefully, I learned some things. I learned to take better care of the next one. As for this one, I think it’s finally time to let go. I no longer had a desire for her anymore.
When we ignore what’s right in front of us, what’s right in front of us tends to ignore us too. The newer model won’t be any better than the one we have just abandoned. Anything we have that we can call or lay claim to that it is ours will only be as good as how we treat it.
But we’re not really talking about a car here at all. Just go through this entire story again, and replace the word “car” Baby with the word “Partner.” This should serve as a reminder that what we are dealing with is not an inanimate object, but a human being with a beautiful mind, an open heart, and an eternal spirit. If you treat her like you treat the car, it’s no wonder she breaks down and is no longer reliable to you anymore. And that old car you left behind? Somebody else saw the potential in her, and has picked themselves up a classic to be enjoyed, admired, and appreciated by all while you’re busy destroying your next one. After all, all she ever really needed was a little TLC. Think about that the next time you decide to treat her like an inanimate object; like the car.