I totalled my car last Fall. It was a nice way to wrap up her brief existence. The last time I saw her was when she was towed away from the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania to somewhere further into the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. I was headed home to Toronto for a job interview, totalled the car, got the job, and well, the rest is history.
Now, I was raised a commuter. We didn't consistently have a car growing up, and living in a city like Toronto, I didn't feel like it was in any way practical to have one. The way I saw it, it was a huge expense for just a little bit of comfort and convenience.
But some things are just impossible without a car. When I first got that car, I had intended to use her only for weekends and trips, and otherwise take transit to work. Then you work out the numbers, and realize that being a transit user/car owner isn't cost effective. It felt like I had to go with one or the other. ...and since I already had the car, I just scrapped my train passes in favour of parking ones.
I'm older now. I've learned to share, can find cheap car rentals, and know better than to equate owning a car with freedom. If I need one, I know I can arrange for one. In fact, and perhaps not surprisingly, I have felt ever so slightly more liberated without having my own car than when I did when I had one. It was like the biggest piece of baggage I owned; the child whose whereabouts I had to constantly be conscious of. I loved her.. but..
Times change, and with them, perspectives. I used to see not having my own car as a disadvantage. Now I see that it is a choice.