I Can Change a Tire—But I Can Choose Not To
February 12, 2007
It was a bitter winter morning and my car had a flat tire. Again. I tried to air it up once more, but it wasn’t going to happen. Resigning myself to a cold, miserable morning, I dug out my spare tire.
I can change a tire. I am proud of this. No helpless female here! I think everybody should be able to change a tire. I have no patience with women who whine and cringe and look for a man to come to their rescue, especially over something as simple as changing a tire.
I wrestled the spare from the trunk, dug out the wrench, and went to work loosening the lug nuts.
Only they wouldn’t loosen.
I have changed a tire—but it was one that Dad had previously repaired, so the nuts were hand-tightened. These were put on with an air wrench. And I mean tightened to the point of stripping. There was no way I was going to get them off, short of jumping up and down on the wrench.
In the past, I have been known to do just that. Not so long ago, I would have spent the entire miserable morning fighting with that tire, if that was what it took. I would have fought to tears of frustration. Maybe I would have gotten it loose eventually. And maybe not.
As the years pass, I have come to learn that some battles are not worth winning. I could spend the morning with my lungs burning from the icy air, fighting with the tire just because I knew I could do it. Or… I could choose not to.
I aired up the tire as best I could, hopped in, and drove the block or so to my mechanic’s garage. He put on the spare in about five minutes, didn’t charge me a thing, and I was on my way.
As I grow older, my time becomes more and more valuable to me. I skimp on sleep too much, and there are still never enough hours in a day to do everything I want to do. I can’t help that I want to do so many things, but I can choose not to do at least some of the things I don’t want to do. It feels empowering to know that I can change a tire—but it’s equally empowering to know that I can choose not to!