Fender Bender Glory

October 9th, 2014


I have a confession to make – I’m kind of a bad driver.


Actually, in my defense, I am a good driver on the road. I just have a lot of problems with driveways and parking lots. When I say a lot of problems, I mean an embarrassing amount of problems.


Now, let’s just say I recently had one of these problems. If you have ever caused a car accident before, you know how badly it sucks. It’s hard to forget the moment of sheer horror when you realize what you have done, how angry the other person is and how empty your wallet has just become.


The worst part is the guilt that comes later, almost like an after shock. You think you’re alright and that everything will be okay, but then you go home and lay in bed and start thinking about it so much that you even start to dream about it. It infiltrates your subconscious, and before you know it, you’re stuck in an awful mood that may or may not last the entire week.


I’ve been around that block a  couple of times. It sucks just as bad every time. But, as always, there’s a moral to the story. Goodness gracious, when is there not a moral?


Here’s the big lesson this week – or at least a piece of advice: everyone should get into a car accident at least once in their lives. Now, I’m not talking about serious, life-threatening car accidents. Please continue to avoid these at any and all costs.


I’m talking more along the lines of little fender benders, the kind of accidents that injure your pride more than anything else. To be clear, I’m not advising this out of spite.


This is not a sneaky attempt to get other people to make the same mistake as I did so I can feel better about it. I just really, truly believe that causing a fender bender teaches you some of the greatest lessons about responsibility and priorities.


Since I am still technically a “young one” in my parents’ eyes, I answer to them when something happens with the car. My dad is particularly the one who lays down the law and takes the charge in all car-related issues. And, like 99 percent of fathers, he does not let me off of the hook very easily. Having to answer to my father after making an expensive mistake is always the hardest part.


When I was younger, I would do anything to avoid confronting him about something bad that happened.


I think, in this way, my father symbolizes the idea of responsibility. It’s a natural response to want to point fingers and deny any fault. Like I mentioned in my column a few weeks ago, we always have a proclivity towards comfort. Nobody enjoys disappointing or angering someone. But, that’s where that pesky little thing called responsibility comes in.


When I face my dad about a mistake I’ve made, it means I’m accepting responsibility. I look at my mistake right in its ugly face and say, “Yeah, that was me. I take full ownership of that.”


It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing that, especially when another person is involved. However, the more often you take ownership for your mistakes, the more respect you come to have for yourself. Furthermore, it’s kind of like burning your hand on the stove – after you do it once, it’s much less likely to happen again. Learning lessons, people.


Additionally, minor car accidents are also good reminders about your priorities in life. I always have the tendency of blowing things like that way out of proportion and letting it ruin my life for a little while. But, I’ve found ways to cope with that.


I think about the things in my life that mean the most to me. I think about all of my experiences, my memories, and most importantly, my cherished relationships.


I love my dad more than anything, and I know that despite his disappointment and anger over my mistakes, he’s still going to love me when it’s all said and done. Same with my mom, same with my sisters, same with everyone I care about.


Life sucks sometimes. But, if it didn’t, I wouldn’t have any topics for my columns. I wouldn’t be a responsible, mature (mostly) college student. I would not be prepared to make the best out of my time in this world. The bottom line is, I take responsibility for my mistakes, I am sorry, and I am moving on.