Lent – Life without a car

Earlier this week we had the beloved ‘Shrove Tuesday’, better known in the UK as Pancake Day. Shrove Tuesday is observed by many Christians, who make a special point of self-examination. What ‘wrongs’ they need to repent, what areas of their life require spiritual growth etc.

I’m not in any way religious. I don’t believe there’s anything after we die. Hence, why I want to make the most of life whilst I’m here. Although I’m not religious, I don’t have any ill feeling towards religious people, if anything, I’m slightly jealous. There have many studies into the Science of Happiness, and they all reveal that having a belief that there is more to life after-death is very comforting for people, and they fear dying far less than people like me who feel their time is limited. 
So why aren’t I religious? 

I’m a very logical person. I’m a science/maths guy. I work on providing evidence, I feel there is a stronger argument for the evolution of humans than through Gods creation.
So, why am I concerning my time with lent if I’m not religious?
Great question…….Well, I totally believe in self examination, and having a desire to grow and develop as a human being. I think this goes for all aspects of human life, whether it’s relationships, physical health, mental health, finances etc.

Lent in my world is a bit different though. It’s often an opportunity for friends and colleagues to give up something they don’t want to give up for 40 days, as a test of strength and resolve. In previous years, I’ve given up alcohol (that was hard), caffeine (head aching hard) and cheese (horrible!). I’ve been successful in all of my attempts I’m pleased to say. There are only ever 2 or 3 of us that ever manage to stick to it at work. I’m a very determined individual, and I know I posses great discipline when I want. So this type of challenge is always exciting and rewarding for me. 
I wanted to do something a bit different this year for 2014…….. 
I’ve been pondering on the idea of selling my car. I live 2 miles away from work, and there’s a foot path the whole way there. It usually takes me approx 35 mins to walk it, but I mainly end up driving to work as it only takes 5 mins. I could bike the journey as well, but that would force me onto the road. There are a few crazy drivers around on the patch of road I would use, which is about a mile. It’s all uphill, I don’t mind the exercise, but there are a few turns on the way. So some people can drive quite fast and irresponsibly (60mph) and only notice a bike at short notice. I also think biking uphill is physically more exerting than walking uphill, and when I get to the top I’m likely to have a bit of a sweat on. I’d prefer not to arrive at work sweating or having damp clothes either. I will try it one day, but the walk appeals to me more at the moment.

I have a pretty economical car, and my fuel bill is low compared to others. After reviewing my annual expenses, it came to light that I had spent £1,292 on my car over 12 months. I think for most people, they would look at that figure and wish it was that low (based on what people tell me at work anyway). That equates to £108 per month. 

After seeing that figure a thought popped into my head. What if I could completely forgo using a car and just walk/bike to work? I would be able to invest another £1292 a year! I could also sell the car and make close to £4,000 which I could also invest. What have a I got to lose? (apart from a leg if I decide to bike?) 🙂

In my excitement I told my fiancé about my ‘great’ idea. She told me that in theory it sounded great, but highlighted that fact that I use the car on the weekends. I said that we already have one car between us at the moment, I could the car now and again, and if you’re using it, I can use public transport or stay put.

With her sensible hat on, she said why don’t you keep the car for now, and just try walking in and see how it goes? What a great idea!

Although it’s a bit of a weird commitment for lent, it was only around the corner so I thought…….why not! 

I made a commitment to not use my car for Lent. I could have a lift. I can use public transport, I can bike, walk or drive my fiancés car for errands, but I won’t touch my car until Saturday 19th April 2014. Wish me luck!

Today is Friday, so I’m on day 3. I have to say………it’s brilliant! I’ve had 1 x wet walk I already but I was prepared for it, so it was fine. That 35 mins is so great to focus your mind before the start of the day, not to mention the light exercise benefits. I get to work looking forward to sitting down and getting busy. Unlike a lot of my colleagues! 🙂

It’s very early days though, so I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

If any readers are giving up something for lent, please let me know and good luck with the challenge!

What are you giving up for lent? Have you given up anything before? How did it go?


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