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What's Red and Tan and Transformational All Over?

Merlin the Miata

About to Climb in my Miata to Drive off the Lot

A couple of months ago, at 53, I bought a Mazda Miata. But to really appreciate it, you have to understand few things:

  1. Since my first car, a 1973 Ford Comet with a peeling roof and battery powered radio, to my latest car, a puke-green Honda Accord, my family and I have also had 2 Civics, another Accord, 3 Minivans, an SUV, a Mazda Protege, and a used Audi A4. So I haven't enjoyed a long line of sporty, fun cars. To date the most adventurous feature was either a sunroof or a remote control side mirror.

  2. I'm a very practical car buyer in most every way. I always subscribe to the Consumer Reports, but just for a few weeks while searching for the next car. This way I get the benefit of their research especially regarding safety and reliability, and I don't have to pay the full annual subscription cost. Practical or cheap? Perhaps just a bit of both.

  3. As an introvert, I think subconsciously I just didn't feel like I could pull off a car like a convertible Miata, not to mention a red car!

Classic pictures of my kids' first cars. I used to spin them around in circles on the driveway. Sometimes the cars needed a push, but they had great gas mileage...and they were red!

So I consider my new purchase a bit of a rite of passage. After being retired for nearly a year and leaving the pressures of corporate life behind for a more relaxed and introspective life of family and writing, I had come to grips a bit with each of the three items above.

  1. I'd always dreamt of driving a sports car. Nothing fancy like a Porsche, but a Miata, in fact. But for years I relegated myself to driving a bit too fast and reckless in my Accord or Protege. Not quite the same.

  2. While I did indeed check Consumer Reports once again, I felt that the relaxation of retirement begged for me to make different choices, perhaps those to enjoy life a bit more rather than battling the stress I'd sometimes barely endured the past few decades.

  3. And most of all, after a very reflective and satisfying year, I was finally embracing my introversion and moving a bit beyond the implied limitations of its traditional definition. So I convinced myself I was ready to climb inside a sports car and give it a go.

Once I finally took my first test drive with my son Noah by my side, I knew the time had come. And I drove home in my new red Miata with the top down, the radio up, and my feelings on high.

After three months tooling around town, I can say my Miata has been truly transformational. Now, I'm not exactly Tom Cruise in Risky Business, but the car provides a rush of bravado that one just can't get from a minivan. And I believe I've actually slowed down my speed on the road, more content to just enjoy the moment.

I joined the local Miata Club shortly after my purchase, excited by the prospect of cruising around the countryside in a train of Miata's. However, it didn't take me too long to realize the group focused on the inner workings of crank shafts and piston rings which I knew nothing about and, more importantly, that I really wasn't after any social connections. So as much as I'm enjoying my Miata every day, I'm still an introvert at heart!

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Thursday's blog shares my extremes and my search for moderation

As a sneak preview, our third Thursday of the month blog falls under "Happy & Healthy" On Thursday I will share some of the extremes in life, whether destructive behaviors in trying to cope with my personal battles, or my biking and running adventures. The blog will include my hard-fought tips for finding balance and moderation in my life.

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