Sunday, May 23, 2010
It is hard for me to believe that my beloved little midlife-crisis car is about to turn 10 years old, and even harder for me to believe that it is nearly 10 years since I started worrying about turning 50! When I got the Audi TT, my (male) boss at that time told me he thought the car was too young for me (or I, too old for it!) My kids wondered why I had gotten something that clearly was not meant to cart them and lots of friends around. My husband wondered what had come over me, and I felt rather guilty about indulging in something that was so much just for ME!
The TT was pretty symbolic for me. When I first laid eyes on it, the designer part of me felt that it was the embodiment of a product in which the designer got to design exactly what he/she wanted, without some panel of experts announcing what should or should not be done. It was clearly a fusion of love and design, looking so modern and like no other car around, yet referencing some of the great classics of earlier years. I fell hard for it, for all it represented and for all it was - fast, statement-making, adorable, and my choice.
I have to laugh about the comment about the car being "too young" for me. Not long ago, I went to a party at which two other women my age also had silver TT's - for all the same reasons I had. While I am sure that the designer or marketer never said "What can I design that will appeal to established, professional women over 50 who think of themselves as pioneers and individuals?", this is, in fact, what he or she has achieved. Rather than this turning out to be a car in which many women pretend we are younger, these little TT's seem to help us express a confidence in our older selves, a willingness to identify ourselves as fast, sexy, style-aware women.
My intention when I got the car was for it to be the last car I ever bought, for me to take care of it until it became a classic, for it to age gracefully beside me. We'll see if I carry through with that. As "Little Silver" is getting creakier, I find myself wondering if her days might be getting numbered. I may have to trade her in at some time, yet I'll never want to forget or replace the feelings I have associated with her: that I could turn 50 and keep moving ahead in my life; that I could surprise myself and others with an unlikely choice and be OK with that; and that I could choose something which was just for ME, and it didn't make me the meanest, most selfish woman/mother/wife in the world.