There are decisions we make in our lives that are so defining, we have no clue when we make them just how much they will shape our future. It’s not just what we actively choose to do, but – sometimes even more powerfully – what we choose not to do. The mediocre job we quit. The unhealthy relationship we end. Stopping smoking, drinking or other addictive behavior.

The big decision I have recently made? To not buy a sensible car. To buy, instead, a Mustang.

This might seem facetious and materialistic compared to the courage involved in many of the big decisions I could make. And yeah it kind of is.

But I know from experience what owning a vehicle can do for a girl who is into stuff like freedom and autonomy. And these are two of my favorite things.

Living in Amsterdam having a car was a liability; Southern California is a different ballgame. If you don’t have wheels here, you are stuck. The public transport system is atrocious and everything is spread out like the gods took a regular European city and spread it out with a rolling pin to create an endless suburbia that extends in all directions beyond every horizon.

I quickly noticed the ubiquity of Mustangs here. While owning a Mustang in certain other countries could be perceived as a bit of a dick move (in the Netherlands, they are rare and expensive and hence generally owned by men with large bank accounts and small penises), Mustangs are all over the place here and used versions are pretty affordable.

Born in the year of the horse just like the Mustang logo, named Sally just like the eponymous song, any other car would just feel like a soul-killing compromise. My boyfriend was less swayed by these kind of arguments, suggesting I opt for a sensible, fuel-efficient car. My counter-argument: “Ew. No”.

After a few false starts, one fated Sunday morning I found Ruby on cars.com. One owner, 2006 Premium, low mileage, and a delicious dark red color. One trip to North Hollywood to meet her, and her lovely owner Jose, and I was smitten. Ruby was it. Two days later I withdrew the biggest stack of cash my hot little hand has ever held and delivered it to Jose in exchange for freedom and autonomy. And neither Ruby nor I have looked back.