I celebrated my 36th birthday by giving myself a present.
Well, kind of.
It was more of a non-present.
And this non-present represents the end of an era.
I was born and grew up in Detroit.
Motor city, baby.
Henry Ford was born in the area. It’s the birthplace of the American automobile. The “Big Three” domestic auto manufacturers were headquartered in Metro Detroit for decades. The city is a symbol for cars, highways, and manufacturing.
It was practically a right of passage to get a driver’s license, buy a car (or have one bought for you), and gain your freedom in the process.
It took me a little while to realize that a driver’s license and everything it conveys is anything but freedom.
The Driver’s License And Anti-Freedom
What is a driver’s license?
It’s a license to drive a car. But it’s a lot more than that.
It’s assumed that you’re going to naturally own and drive a car if you have a license. Otherwise, there’s no essential reason to have one in the first place.
I thought this license was my pathway to freedom.
I could hit the road, go wherever I want, and see new places.
But that supposed “freedom” comes with a hell of a ball and chain that represents the complete opposite of freedom.
Sure, I could jump in a car and go places. Whoop dee doo.
But in order to buy a car and then be able to afford all of the associated expenses (car payment, insurance, gas, maintenance, repairs, licensing, etc.), one typically needs to have a job.
And in order to have a job in Southeast Michigan, you usually need to have a car.
Along with the job comes an entire cascade of consumerist behavior, feeding back into itself.
See how that works?
It’s this neat trick of a catch-22 that sucks people into anti-freedom right out of the gate.
Can’t have freedom without first giving up your freedom!
The Driver’s License Is Actually A Consumer’s License
Yep. You heard it here first.
A driver’s license is a front. It’s a sham.
A driver’s license is actually a consumer’s license.
When you have that driver’s license in your possession, the world is simply acknowledging that you’re able to freely feed into the consumption chain.
And you’re acknowledging that you’re ready to take advantage of that ability at any time – if you’re not already doing so.
I’m not sure what led me to this epiphany about the driver’s license.
But it totally changed the way in which I see that piece of plastic.
Letting My Driver’s License Expire
I’ve come to not just enjoy walking as method of transportation, but I see walking as a fundamental component of a happy, healthy, and mindful life.
Moreover, I see a car, and everything that tends to come attached to it, as antithetical of what I value most in my life: freedom.
So why have a driver’s license if I never again plan to own a car (or otherwise drive) for the rest of my life?
That’s a very rational question.
And I couldn’t come up with a good reason as to why I’d keep that piece of plastic that I’ve come to more or less despise.
So I decided to let my driver’s license expire for the first time since it was initially issued to me 20 years ago.
An end of an era, indeed.
I could have renewed it. I could have gone through the rigmarole of checking a few boxes online and having the thing forwarded to me here in Thailand.
But I saw no point. It was just another bill. It was another process. More paperwork. An obstacle to climb over for no reward whatsoever.
So I instead let one more thing go. It’s one less bill and process to worry about.
And I feel even more free now that I’ve rid myself of it. It’s honestly a total relief.
Unfortunately, I should keep this piece of plastic with me. It will remain fairly useless and expired; however, it serves as a picture ID that I may very well need at some point.
I thought about applying for an identification card in lieu of renewing my license, but I didn’t see a lot of value in that. The driver’s license, while expired, still serves to identify who I am.
In fact, I view an expired driver’s license as pretty indicative of who I am. It’s kind of a nice joke to carry around in my wallet. I’m so far removed from the typical life, I can’t even be bothered to renew this thing or get a new ID card.
I feel like my life has been slowly but surely moving closer to exactly what I set out to create way back in late 2009.
And this decision to no longer have a driver’s license (a.k.a. a consumer’s license) is the latest in a long line of steps that brings me that much nearer to true freedom in life.
It feels good, guys!
What do you think? Do you have a driver’s license? Do you feel like it’s actually a consumer’s license?
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I reached financial freedom at age 33. If you’d like to also reach financial independence in a relatively short period of time, check out some fantastic resources that I personally used to get to this spot in life!