nissan leaf

As often happens, I was having a lively conversation with my friend Julie. We were talking about my driving over to see her house… which led perfectly into a conversation about my car.

I’m a traveler, I’ve driven all over the country just for fun. Then, last year I decided to go ‘all electric’ and purchased a Nissan Leaf. I had many important reasons in my head about why I wanted to do this; I was trying to support a new direction in the automotive industry, I wanted the pleasure of driving by gas stations, and I had thoughts about my Carbon Footprint. This decision, as most things in life, I probably hadn’t thought all the way through.

In hindsight it appears to me that my conscious brain chose a situation and my unconscious brain saw it as an opportunity to push me… Or, maybe I made a hasty decision.

My car gets about 90 miles to a charge. And, for 80% of my driving, that is actually just fine. I live on an island, that’s 10 miles long and 5 miles wide, so really it’s more like 95% of the time my car is perfect for my situation. Which to be fair, is really great.   It’s actually better than my last 3 cars.

The issue I hadn’t thought about was distance travel.  What will I do if I want to drive from Bainbridge Island to Portland or the Coast or Vancouver Canada? If I want to do that, I am going to have to stop a few times along the way and charge up. Depending on where I stop, it might take 2 – 6 hours. This is a bit of a hiccup from my perspective and it’s forced me to take the train a few times. Which is really nice and a good thing in it’s own way.  Because of my dependence on electrical charging stations for my car and the time requirements, I have to admit I’ve been a little leery of about leaving the island and I’ve created a very limiting story about actually going far off island in my car.

This hasn’t severely limited me in my normal driving, but it has impacted my willingness to jump in my car and drive off without a thought. I felt tethered.

Getting back to my conversation. As I was talking with Julie, we decided that I would drive to her house, on the far northeast of Seattle. This may not be a good commentary on me, but there was a part of me that felt a twinge of concern, my tether was pulling on my psyche. In my mind I was telling a story about how this will be about the farthest I have ever driven in my car.   I could feel myself stretching outside my car comfort zone. Stretching doesn’t always feel good in the moment, it seems to feel better when it’s over.

Julie and I hammered out all the basics; yes, I can plug in when I get to her house; yes, she is willing to hang out with me for 4 hours, before she’ll show me the door; and, yes, I need to bring some wine because 4 hours is a stretch.

At the end of our negotiations, she tells me, that her house is only about 29 miles from the Ferry… All of the sudden it hits me that I am making limits where there really aren’t any.

I might not even need to charge my car… I will however still bring wine.

Aha! Isn’t this is what we do sometimes? We create stories in our heads that limit us. We grapple, we toss and turn, we worry, and then we work hard to find ways to stay safe or avoid. All the while, the truth is, we are just fine and we don’t need to be creating these limiting stories for ourselves. Lucky for me, this insight was motivating. I may be going “farther” than my experience has taken me in my car, but it’s an adventure. When I’m done and safely home, I think I’m going to feel great and ready to stretch a little further.

My four take always:

  1. We unconsciously choose situations that will push of out of our comfort zone. These situations offer us opportunities to get creative in problem solving, or help us learn to breathe through the discomfort.
  2. When we’re uncomfortable we tend to default to our most conservative self, telling ourselves the limiting stories in an attempt to stay safe.
  3. Once we shift our perspective, the whole situation can become an adventure.
  4. My car is actually perfect for me because it’s pushing me to stretch.

 Thank you Nissan Leaf, you’ve helped me grow!

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