New Perspectives: Looking back at my 2016

2016 has been many things great, and many things horrible for many people, but it sure as hell hasn’t been dull. I am no exception. A lot has happened to me this year, both relating to cars and this blog, as well as in my life in general.

Relating to Mind Over Motor, I’ve gotten to drive some fabulous cars this year, everything from the Alfa Romeo 4C, to the BMW i8, to some others I haven’t shared yet. The car shows we went to this year were superb as well, and I was able to capture some truly stunning machines on camera. In terms of car events, 2016 has been nothing short of incredible.

Somehow, though, I have found myself struggling with this blog a little this year. It’s not from lack of content, but more from me wanting to take it in a new direction. My life has changed a lot since starting this blog back in college, and it needs to grow as I grow in life. So I’m looking for that next step to take with Mind Over Motor, and I’ll be honest, I haven’t figured it out quite yet. But bear with me because I do still love doing this, and stopping isn’t on the menu.

Life has been changing a lot for me this year. On the positive, I’ve moved in with my girlfriend, Gab, and things are going great. It’s been a big change, and there was some anxiety in the process, but it’s definitely been a positive thing for both of us. We’re building a life together, and its very exciting!

Also of major note, I landed a new job last spring. It’s in the automotive field, for a company that I’ve admired for a long time, and it puts my car knowledge to good use every single day. I finally feel like my days are filled with a purposeful career, rather than just a whatever job.

Both of these major life changes have been great for me in so many ways, but naturally, they’ve also meant I have less time to really focus on Mind Over Motor… at least with the approach I have been using since the beginning. That’s why I feel it’s time to implement some adaptive changes in 2017.

In my own car situation, I bought two Miatas this year. The first was Al’s 1993 Miata, which I sold after a enjoying it for a few months. The second was Ace, my 2014 Miata Club Edition. I also experienced my first accident this year. 4 days after buying Ace, some lady decided to turn left when she shouldn’t have, and we were both very lucky to have been okay. Ace wasn’t totaled, and after about a month of repairs, I had him back in my driveway. This summer and fall, I took many wonderful trips in Ace, enjoying every bit of sunshine I could. The peak was our trip up to Lime Rock during Labor Day weekend, top down the entire way up and back. Much fun has been had, and there’s a lot more to come.

As for my daily driver, I’ve still got my 2012 Volkswagen CC, which continues to swoon me while getting 30 MPG cruising at high speed. It’s one hell of a daily commuter, but it’s also up for an expensive 80,000 mile DSG service, so I’m not looking forward to that.

Now for an update on my beloved 2004 Subaru WRX STI. It’s firmly a third car at this point, and with 130,000 fun miles on it, you can imagine how it may need some work. Right now it needs an alternator, the steering rack needs to be replaced, and there’s a couple of leaks I need to check out. I’m also not sure about at least one of the wheel bearings. It’s a blast to drive, but it’s being driven less and less. I still adore the car, but a lot of me is considering selling it sometime this year. I’ve promised myself I won’t make that decision until I’ve taken it for another fun drive, though. It’s easy to want to get rid of a car you haven’t driven in a few months, but I know for my own closure that I’d have to feel the same way after that drive for selling it to really feel right. I have a plan if I decide to keep it, but I do admit it’d surely make things easier to let it go. So we’ll see…

Lastly, on a personal level, 2016 saw the passing of both of my grandmothers, just a few weeks apart from one another. I’ve been very fortunate not to have lost anyone that close to me in the first 26 years of my life (other than my dog, Peaches, RIP baby girl), but the 27th saw the odds begin to add up. It’s okay, I’m generally someone who’s at peace with the impermanence of life, but it’s mostly hard seeing those around me have such a difficult time. In the end of the day though, it’s natural, and nothing lasts forever. That’s why we all must make it a point to take the time to enjoy life in the here and now, even when we are so focused on the future. In my accident, if I had been hit a little further back, right in my driver side door, I very well could have been killed. I realize, looking back, that I wouldn’t have even known what had happened. I would’ve been at the pearly gates, confused.

I think, more than anything, 2016 has given me a lot of new perspectives on life. Overall, it’s been a pretty positive year for me. It’s been a rough road in many ways, but I feel like I’m going in a great direction. I’m ready for what 2017 has to offer.

And would you look at that! I made it through the whole 2016 recap without even mentioning the circus we called an election…

-Nick Walker

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