I have a dirty secret.
You guys already know, because I tell you guys everything (obvs) but it’s a secret I’ve otherwise carried for many years. It’s not the most scandalous of secrets, but none the less it’s one I’m a little embarrassed of, so I do my best to avoid it coming up in conversation if I can. It just makes me feel a bit silly and awkward, and whenever I tell someone I know I’m in for a bit of ribbing. Basically, I have somehow gotten to the grand old age of 34 without ever learning how to drive.
It was always the plan that I would learn. My beloved Nana offered to pay for me and each of my sisters to take lessons as a 17th Birthday present, but I never got around to cashing them in. It wasn’t intentional, but I’m a chronic procrastinator, and can expertly put off anything that makes me feel a little anxious or nervous, so the years passed and it just didn’t happen. There just wasn’t anything pushing me to do it – I grew up in a city where getting around was easy, and it just wasn’t a pressing urgency, learning to drive. And once my Nana passed away years ago, the driving force (pun intended) to do so grew less and less. I thought about it plenty – because once I hit my twenties it just felt silly that I couldn’t. I even picked up an application pack for my provisional licence once! But it looked long and complicated, so I folded it back up, popped it in a draw and told myself, ‘I’ll look at it later!’ But of course, I never did.
In no time at all, my 30’s rolled around and by now it had mutated from something I felt a little nervous about to a full on anxiety. The thought of physically getting behind the wheel actually gave me sweaty palms and palpitations. I was convinced, for some reason, that I wouldn’t be able to control the car, and that I’d be bound to die in a fiery crash or some other such horror, if I ever tried to drive. I even had nightmares about it, and the longer this went on, the harder it was to take the plunge and go for it. I started to feel quite irritated with myself at this point, because, as I kept telling myself, basically EVERYONE could drive, and if they could do it, so could I, but it was just so easy to rationalise to myself. Driving was expensive now. I couldn’t afford a car anyway. There weren’t any parking spaces available at work, and I got a discounted bus pass. I was saving for a Wedding, then saving for a house, then just saving for a rainy day since the other two fell through. Then finally this year, after some love and encouragement from the man in my life, I decided enough was enough, and that it was time to tackle this bloody issue head on.
As you know from this post, I had gotten him to give me a bit of a crash course just so I wasn’t a complete amateur when I took my first lesson (I am not a good pupil. I hate not being able to do anything, so I try to teach myself how to do stuff before someone has the task of instructing me, which is of course a very silly duplication of time and completely irrational, but there you go. It’s a bit like cleaning the house before the cleaner comes round!) but I was a complete wuss. The first time I sat behind the wheel, I cried. And even once we got going, I wussed out at every opportunity and slammed on the brakes at the first sign of anything other than moving in a general direction at a snails pace looked like it might happen. So I wasn’t filled with hope for my first lesson. I’d basically told myself I just wasn’t going to get it, and was completely sick with nerves when the big day came around.
And how did it go? Well, bloody great, actually! I have managed to find a great instructor, who really put me at ease, and once I was faced with just having to do it and not being able to just cry and refuse like I did for Dan, it was actually 10 times easier than I thought! Walking away from the car after that first lesson I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders, I literally skipped into the house! Last week I took my second lesson, and it was better still! Apparently I’m a natural, and could be driving by Christmas if I keep things up! It seems so silly, but I just cannot tell you how good it feels to finally accomplish something that has caused me such anxiety for so many years. Of course, I feel like a complete wally for putting it off for so long now, and working myself up into such a state, but I’m also incredibly proud of myself for finally facing my fears and taking the bull by it’s horns. I never in a million years thought that I could do it, never mind actually enjoy the process, so I guess I’ve learned that it really is never too late to learn something new!
Of course, the only downside is that it’s probably a little late to try and cash in that gift, so it’s a bit painful seeing how much it costs! If you’re looking down on me though Nana, I finally did it!
Please make me feel better now, and tell me your stories about something silly you put off for too long…!
3 thoughts on “Reasons to be Cheerful – Learning Something New”
Wait, is the car left hand drive?! I mean, I get my left and right mixed up aaaall the time but when I’m sat in the drivers seat, Elodie is sat to my left in the front passenger seat!
I know quite a few people who have made it to their 30s without learning to drive to you are not alone. I don’t love it but it’s a means to an end, I’d never get around with two children without doing it. It takes 20-30 minutes to drive to work for example and there’s not bus route out to where I work in the sticks. Plus it’s pissing down today so I’m glad I’ll be driving home later 😉
GOOD LUCK with it all, hope you build up lots of confidence over the next few weeks / months before taking a test 🙂 Get your other test thing booked as well, I forget what it is as I’m so old I didn’t have to take it (ok I am also 34 but I learnt at 17 so only took the theory not the extra bit on the PC)
Ha, no it was an iPhone pic and downloaded at a strange angle so thats obviously just the way I’ve flipped the image! I did spot that just after I’d published! God help me when I do actually have to drive on the other side of the road if it took me this long to try regular driving!!
So fantastic that you’re doing this and totally feel you on the not doing it because you never needed to. I only learnt to drive at 25/26 because my island has zero public transport!! (and I wasn’t particularly happy about having to learn…) x
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