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…!