Top 5 Things I Learned in 2018*

(*worth carrying into 2019)

Happy New Year!

I truly can’t believe how the past year flew by — can you?

Once again, there were the inevitable gains and losses. I forged new friendships and business relationships, and I said some tough goodbyes. There’s never a good time to say farewell to a friend, and the only takeaway I’ve found is that life is so damn short and unpredictable, we’d better make the most of it.

Here are a few of the lessons I learned in 2018 that I expect I’ll carry with me.

1. DOGS ARE AMAZING

I thought I already understood this, but as my followers on Facebook and Instagram know well, a blind and deaf miniature Dachshund we called Ruby-Roo took my appreciation of canines to a whole new level in 2018.

Roo came to us as a ‘hospice dog’ expected to live only a matter of days, and instead she grew and thrived for a whole 10 months. She taught me things about resilience and determination and love that I didn’t even realize I needed to learn.

To those who passed her by in the shelter, she was this:

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But we learned she was really this:

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Thanks to Ruby-Roo, I will never look at a shelter dog the same way again. Rescued animals are the living, breathing version of those legendary barn finds given new life thanks to some TLC.

And they’ll love you back way more than a Porsche will.

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2. YOU’LL NEVER GET IT DONE (and that’s okay)

One of the ways I’ve realized a passion for all things automotive is the perfect metaphor for life is this:

You always have this to-do list of things you’re trying to get done.

You never, ever get it all done.

Check off five things, and you add six more in the process. Whether you’re talking about restoring a 1975 Porsche, paper work, lawn care, or grocery shopping, the list never ends.

I must be mellowing at least a little bit with age, because this used to drive me absolutely crazy. Now it only drives me slightly crazy. I’ve pretty much accepted that the never-ending list might be a good thing, because a body in motion stays in motion.

And motion is a key ingredient in driving fast and taking chances.

This was some serious hard work - but well worth the effort!

This was some serious hard work - but well worth the effort!

3. THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT

I’ve often worried about the future of car collecting and automotive enthusiasm, as it seems so many young people would rather Uber than drive, and Teslas may look sleek and have serious torque — but you can’t learn engine repair on ‘em.

The Diesel Kid was just one of the young people whose enthusiasm for old cars and hard-core driving restored my faith. The world is changing, and mass transit may have no choice but to change along with it, but there will always be those drawn to fuel and oil, horsepower and muscle, speed and style.

The fossil fuel-powered automobile ain’t a dinosaur yet.

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4. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Little Rhody has got it going on.

We’ve got killer Italian food and culture on Federal Hill (pun intended; I just finished listening to the first season of the podcast Crimetown — if you aren’t familiar, you have to check it out now). Gorgeous beaches in South County. Perfect boating throughout Narragansett Bay. And if Newport’s opulence and touristy charm weren’t enough already, it’s become a car guy’s dream.

Newport Car Museum (not really in Newport, but we’ll give ‘em a pass) joined the scene and has been a welcome addition.

Cars and Coffee got rained out more than anyone would have liked this past summer, but attendance was still at record highs.

Audrain is gearing up for what is expected to be the most impressive Newport Concours and Motor Week, happening October 3-6, 2019.

And now we’ve got Jay Leno, the motoring enthusiast even Prius drivers can recognize. He’s been a welcome addition to the summer community in Newport, proving to be utterly down-to-earth while raising awareness and generating excitement around automotive events.

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5. BLOGGING IS HARD WORK

Yep. Even if your girlfriend is a writer and editor skilled enough to take the tripe you email to her and turn it into what you really meant to say, blogging is hard work.

Who knew?

Last year I produced a small fraction of the posts I thought I’d put out. And I kept promising I’d increase my productivity.

Ha.

If you know me, you know that any time it’s a choice between chasing down a classic car and sitting my ass in a chair at the computer, it’s no contest. The blank screen gets left in the dust every time. I’d promise to be better this year, but again, if you know me, you know…

I’ll see you out on the road.

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