Six Lessons on Aging Learned from Cars 3

lessons learned from cars 3

Ten years ago, my playroom looked like it threw up the movie “Cars.”  Speedy was OB-sessed with it. (Foreshadowing, perhaps?  He can name every performance vehicle out there. Also he’s a pretty fast runner.)  If “Li-nee-keen” was pictured, we owned it.  Plates, t-shirts, books, party favors, and, of course, every die-cast available adorned with Lightning McQueen filled our house.

What I learned from Cars 3; my son loved Cars

My Lightning McQueen definitely got his fuel from brownies.

So when “Cars 3” came out, I felt nostalgic and dragged bribed took my 12- and 13-year old boys.

If you haven’t seen it, grab your kids, or borrow someone else’s, and go see it. Heck, go alone. I don’t know if these thoughts qualify as spoiler alerts, but I will wait patiently until you return.

The movie had so many wonderful elements.  I soooo related to the aging Lightning McQueen and how he had to adjust.  

My takeaways from Cars 3:

  1. You can’t outrun age

The new, slick racers grew up as fans of Lightning McQueen. Now they’re his competitors.  No matter how hard we try, our bodies are not what they used to be.  There’s a reason for racing age groups.  If you’re trying to get the same PR you achieved ten years ago, you’re going to work even harder than you did then.  Be realistic in your goals.

Same thing with our physique.  Fourteen years and two children shifted my body.  The good news is my appreciation and confidence in what I can do has significantly increased.  My body doesn’t look the same, and I’m ok with that.  If you don’t understand what I’m talking about and your body looks the same as pre-kids, well … I’m happy for you, and also we can’t be friends anymore.  

Barely time for a kiss as he zips by on his Lightning bike

2. Fitness doesn’t have to be found in a fancy gym

Lightning’s sponsor, Rusteez, sold the business to the wealthy Sterling. (Voiced by the ruggedly handsome Nathan Fillion of “Castle”.)  

Nathan Fillion voiced Sterling in Cars 3

I just couldn’t resist. So ruggedly handsome.* 

Sterling develops a state-of-the-art training facility, complete with a virtual simulator.  McQueen commits to the new program.   Unfortunately, a combination of McQueen’s impatience and pride causes disaster on the simulator.  He leaves the facility to try something different. His trainer, Cruz, remains loyal and follows him.  

Unconventional beach, off-road, and mountain training followed.  He reignited his passion by digging his tires in the dirt and using natural obstacles.

Just because he supposedly had everything he needed in the gym didn’t mean the gym was best for him.  Know when you need to get outside and move in the beauty of God’s creation.  Fresh air, sandy dirt, and green foliage all contribute to an overall sense of well-being.  Find your happy place; you’ll do better there.

running outside in a happy place

3. You may not be as fast, but you’re smarter.

Understanding he simply could not be as fast or strong as the younger racers was a tough pill to swallow for Lightning McQueen.  Learning how to race smarter was a new element.

I’ve realized it’s not all about speed, muscle size, or body fat percentage.  I’m trying to be smarter about how I move.  What’s the point of being able to bench-press my body weight if I can’t bend down and pick up my car keys when they drop? (And if you’re wondering, heck no I can’t bench my weight.)

Be smart about how your choose to move.  Think wholistically and what your long term goals are.  If what you’re doing now prevents your long term goals, maybe it’s time to reevaluate it.

Lessons learned from Cars 3; Cars birthday party

Yep, that would be Mr. McQueen AND Mater on those cupcakes.

4. Adjust what you can do as your body ages and allow yourself to find new loves.

Aging stinks. Mentally I still feel 25, but creaky joints and stiff muscles suggest otherwise.  I won’t spoil the stunning conclusion for you, but Lightning McQueen found he enjoyed something else — possibly more — in the industry.  

We’re getting older but that doesn’t mean we stop moving.  We just move differently.  I’ve added increased yoga, decreased running, and listened to my body more.  Whaddya know, I’ve found a new love in yoga!  

quit running and practiced yoga for a month

5. Invest in others

Cruz, the new trainer, took a leap of faith when she began training Lightning McQueen.  After the training center debacle, she follows him to remote areas to continue training him.  Without realizing it, he began training her heart and mind.  These two merged for a mutually successful ending.

One of my most rewarding experiences as a runner was encouraging and semi-coaching a friend of mine through her first half-marathon. We trained 500 miles apart. However, we kept each other accountable through encouraging texts, phone calls, and a few times scheduled calls while running.  Stepping across the finish line side-by-side was an enormous point of pride in both of us.

Find someone you can work toward a goal with.  You may not be an expert; I certainly am not.  But I guarantee you’ll find the time invested was worth it.

invest in other runners

Train 500 miles away; race together.

6. Sometimes you need a woman to get the job done.

You just do.


I’m convinced Cars 3 is a movie for 40-year olds, disguised as a children’s movie.  It was developed for all the moms and dads who used to feel invincible, but not so much anymore.

Li-nee-keen has been replaced with a guitar, Clash of Clans, and an iPhone.  Both of my boys are maturing into pretty amazing young men, if I may say.  

lightning mcqueen fans boys growing up

They may both be taller than I am now but they’re still my little boys.

My own heart and mind has matured as well.  My body?  Yeah, that too, but in a different way.  That’s ok.  I’ll take my confidence and assurance over speed and agility any day.   And one benefit of getting older?  Not having to bend down and pick up the full array of die-cast Cars everyday.

What lessons have you learned as you’ve gotten older?

aging lessons learned from the movie Cars 3

* Photo credit








  • Heather July 27, 2017 Reply

    Oh yes, I love this!! I saw the movie with my boys and couldn’t have summed it up any better. I totally agree, especially that it’s a movie for 40 year olds, disguised as a children’s movie…lol, so very true!

    • July 27, 2017 Reply

      I just loved it so much! Glad you liked the points.

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