Dear reader, this blog is nothing to do with dentistry and everything to do with understanding yourself. My sad little tale starts about 25 years ago when I was in advertising. I was working for a number of premium car brands and read an article in one of the trade mags that revealed the average age of a new Porsche 911 buyer was 63.
I remember thinking “how pathetic and sad” that a little old fella would want so desperately to look cool and regain his youth. In May this year I was 63. My car at the time was a semi flash but restrained Porsche Panamera which I liked but did not love, and my wife would never go out in it with me if I was driving it (just in case somebody saw us) so it sat on the drive most of the time, only getting used on really big road trips.
I had the Panamera a year in April so I dropped it off for its service, and when picking it up I was walking through the showroom and spotted the new model 911. I asked the sales person what the waiting time on one of those babies was, expecting her to say two years or something daft like that .
She actually said, “If you want that one, you can have it.” “Holy shit,” I thought, and an hour later I had bought it, or rather signed a PCP finance document. No test drive, no understanding of residuals, no understanding of the cost of ownership — all reason departed me, I just bought it, like I would buy a new pair of shoes.
Bonkers behaviour. Or was it the early signs of dementia? I remember feeling “I really deserve this,” but that’s about it. Ten days later I drove the car from Exeter to my home in Falmouth, about 100 miles. That was early May and I had just reached 63 — so everything must be right.
In June I drove the car to the Hive board meeting and I did it again in July. Apart from that I would just look at it and admire it on the drive. During August I began to realise that I was never likely to actually drive the car, it just was not me, it was a pointless trophy, and that I had bought it because I could, not because I needed it. I remembered what Jeremy Clarkson said in the 90s: we buy the cars we can afford, not the cars we need.
I finally realised that it’s really quite important to check in with your aspirations and test them against your values. Don’t do things just because you can. Bottom line — avoid pointless follies. I sold the 911 back to Porsche Exeter last week after having had it for four months, covering just 312 miles, and as you will appreciate I did take a bit of a smack on the price, but frankly it was the best waste of money I have ever experienced — I felt great after handing over the keys.
PS I have three clients who have 911s, which they rave about, so apologies to them. The difference is they are half my age and absolutely love the car.
Have a great week.