• Shane

The Dichotomy of a Good Thing

Good things come in all sorts of ways: Unexpected gifts, a raise, finding the love of your life, birth of a child, or becoming debt free are all "good things." And lately good things have been happening for us. But there is also a dark side to a good thing.

Take for example a recent good thing for us: we became debt free after 10-years of hard work. The last debt we had was a vehicle we recently sold. Our other vehicle has no debt and is also over 20 years old. Fortunately the old F-350 is quite reliable, considering it has 415,000 miles on it.

Another example of a good thing is that we were loaned a vehicle to use so that Melissa could continue her work commuting duties, while I use F-350 for work around the homestead. The loaner vehicle also allowed us to not drive the debt burdened vehicle until it sold. Yet another good thing that paid off.

But there was a dark side to all the good things. For the last year or so we had three vehicles. One acted as a spare for the inevitable times when a primary vehicle needed maintenance or repairs. Melissa, being a super commuter (2 hour drive one way to work), needed reliability, so I did my best to always do the routine maintenance, or fix issues when they appeared.

We do not usually purchase new vehicles and the older vehicles need routine maintenance. And in order to save money, I did most of the maintenance myself. And because I did the maintenance myself, I would take my time to make sure it was right. One of our cars could be out of commission for a day or two, hence the extra car.

In order to become debt free, and to reduce possessions in our lives in anticipation of our new adventure, we sold our spare vehicle. This left us with my old F-350 and the loaner vehicle. Seeing that we only had a few weeks left until Melissa left her job and our road trip to Canada began, it felt like we could muddle through with just the two cars.

At this point I am sure that I gave away the plot. Selling our car and becoming debt free ended up biting us, just one day later, when the 20-year old loaner vehicle broke down while Melissa was leaving town for a 3-day meeting. The F-350 was not a suitable substitute considering that I need it to move our last remaining possessions. Now we were in a scramble.

Our current home sits far out in the country - a good thing. But when you need something, like a rental car, this good thing becomes less than good. So we unloaded her car, loaded everything in the truck and headed an hour away to the nearest town that had cars for rent. Because it was short notice for both us and the car rental company, we had exactly ONE vehicle to choose from, and it was not a cheap one. That one vehicle rental will cost more for a few days use than a monthly car payment.

I have always been aware of this dichotomy, where something good can be bad, and vice versa. But as we are about to leave one life behind and start another, I am acutely aware of all of the good to come, and wary of the unforeseen bad that can hide within.

So I will leave you with this. Our boat, C'est La Sea, is located in a remote corner of Nova Scotia, Canada. A bad thing. There are no boat facilities nearby to source parts and supplies, and this boat will need lots of parts. The town where it is located is quite small and quaint, but places to stay are far and few between. We are prohibited from staying on the boat until it is launched, so finding an inexpensive place to lay our heads has been trying our patience. The nearest town of any significant size is over two hours away.

But all of this bad also had a silver lining. The remoteness of the location (the nearest air port is 5 hours away) was one of the factors that allowed us to purchase the boat for pennies on the dollar. The price we paid was within our budget, which allowed us the opportunity to change our lives - the dichotomy of a bad thing.

"Good cannot exist alone. The bad must exist and be seen and felt in order for you realize what good is and can be. Do not fear the bad, as it cannot exist without the good nipping at its heels."

Funny thing: we just had to put the F-350 in the shop for a problem I am not capable of fixing myself, which is quite rare. Good thing or bad thing? It is bad that we are going to spend money fixing it. It is good that it happened now, where I have a mechanic I trust and not on the road to Canada.

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