Hallelujah! Jesus is Risen! And I can drive again!
The carless Lent season has been about as hard as I expected. I’m dependent on my car to get me places quickly, easily, and in the same condition in which I left. Take away the car and you have waiting in bus stations and for a break in traffic to run across the highway, planning ahead and leaving extra early, and rain/sweat soaked clothes upon arrival.
Week one (& a half) was exceptional. I was early everywhere. I arrived with energy and slept peacefully through the night. Things seemed to work seamlessly.
Week two was a bit of a reality check. Week one had gone so well I was flying high then had a bit of a crash realizing I had to keep it up for 5 more weeks.
Week three was the late week. I arrived no where on time. I was 15+ minutes late everywhere and was stressed out about it. Couldn’t seem to fix it though…
Week four was aches and pains week. My body was like “Hell no you can’t be doing this much more physical activity than usual and not suffer the consequences – don’t forget, you’re old.” My body is kind of a jerk.
Week five was no bike week because I thought it was the bike that was making my knee hurt (my chief ailment). This made me late-r to work everyday (also cause my neighbor/friend/coworker that I had been walking with decided to go on vacation – so I was walking slower as well as not leaving on time). But this week, I didn’t really care about my lateness.
Week six (the final week) was bum rides week. My knee was feeling a bit better with no bike but I was over it. But I was what I like to call “spitting distance to the finish line” and that means no quitting. So I pushed through – excepting all offers of rides from my sympathetic (and equally over it) friends and coworkers.
So now it’s over.
I’ve done some research on the financial benefits of this Lent endeavor and here is a break down:
I did not drive my car for 46 days.
In the 46 days before Ash Wednesday I spent exactly $204.17 on gas.
The MARTA card I bought that lasted me the exact number of rides I needed cost me $43.
During Lent I had to turn down 2 dogsitting jobs and 2 babysitting jobs because they were too far for walking – equaling approximately $250.
I did accept one dogsitting gig about a mile away – pocketing $135 when I would have most likely been out of town that weekend if I were driving.
204.17 saved minus 43 spent minus 250 lost plus 135 gained equals 46.17 in savings. Not bad. Coulda been better.
Low points of carless Lent:
*Missing the same bus twice on the way out for the day and once on the way back – all the same day.
*Running to catch the bus to Clarkston to go to the only one of our weekly community dinners that I made it to on my own, with undercooked potato skins in a sack on my shoulder (my entry for the Appetizer Off we were having), only to miss the bus and have to wait 30 more minutes for the next one making me an hour and a half late with my mediocre contribution…I didn’t win, needless to say.
*Dogsitting a mile away from my home and each day picking up a few more things to bring to the other house (clothes, shoes, food, etc) while forgetting to bring anything home. Result – carrying all 95 lbs of it (give or take) home on my back all the way home through downtown Decatur like a pack mule.
*Every Wednesday in general.
Overall I’m glad I did it. I like pushing myself in ridiculous ways. It was hard but honestly it made me realize how lucky I am to live in walking distance to work, public transportation, a grocery store, great local restaurants, my sister and her family, etc. I may never be this lucky again – I need to be taking advantage of it.
So hopefully some of the habits I adopted during Lent will stick. In fact, after posting this I’m walking to my sister’s for Easter dinner. No need to rush back into anything…
But I’ll be hitting the road soon. And the first stop – the nearest car wash (pollen season was a beast this year!).