Some teens dream about the day when they can get their driver’s license. I wasn’t one of them. Driving terrified me. I got my driver’s permit like all my friends at 15 and then I let it expire. In fact, I let my driver’s permit expire three times.
My parents, bless their hearts, kept trying to teach me to drive. Mom and Dad would take me to safe, calm streets and parking lots for me to practice. They kept bringing me back to practice even though I would always tell them that they were signing their death certificate by being in a car with me. I even took one of those driver’s education classes at school. That actually made my anxiety worse as the teacher told me all the ways I could get killed while driving.
What does this have to do with my gratitude challenge? I was at a busy intersection on day 22 of this challenge. The radio was on. I was waiting for the green arrow that allows me to turn left. I’ve always liked green arrows. They are so helpful at busy intersections. I turned and then I drove down the street and got on the freeway. I went to my appointment and then I drove home. When I got home, I started thinking about the green arrow, the freeway and the way I had just nonchalantly driven to and from my destination. I got a little teary eyed thinking about it. I was a driver. Me. A driver. Driving does not scare me anymore. It hasn’t for several years.
This may not be a big deal to you but it is a big deal to me. I was in college before I finally got my driver’s license. I went for years with only taking surface streets and then I’d drive five under the speed limit. (Yes, I’m probably the person you honked at who was driving too slow.) There was one time when I actually said no to a really good job offer because it would have involved a daily freeway trip. I was over 25 years old before I had enough courage to brave the freeways. And at that point, I had to have the Accountant or a kind friend in the car with me while I was driving on the freeway. I was in my 30’s before I could drive on the freeways by myself.
I can drive on the freeways by myself now. I no longer make decisions in my life based on avoiding freeways. I can drive the speed limit and depending on the traffic flow, I can even go above that speed limit to keep up with the other cars. Am I a speed demon who loves the open road? No. I probably will never drive for fun but I can do it now and I’m grateful for that skill.
Day 22: I’m grateful for green arrows and the ability to drive. Driving did not come easy for me but I did learn how to do it. It’s a miracle in some ways. I can drive.
For any one out there who is struggling to learn something, keep trying.