Even though they were often accompanied by nervous sweats, I really enjoyed the progress I was making during my driving lessons.
I’ve come to the realization that what I need most at this point is just time behind the wheel. I still need some more instruction to sharpen my skills, but driving for one hour every couple weeks doesn’t bridge the gap in my comfort level. Simply driving around would do a better job of that.
I do not have a vehicle or a family member or a friend to practice with, so I am holding off on taking the last two hours of (my already paid for) lessons until I have access to my own vehicle (if all goes according to plan, this could be as soon as April). When I get my wheels, I won’t be able to cruise off into the sunset (as I often do in the daydream version of getting a car, in case you were wondering), or parallel park, or even feel comfortable navigating outside of my immediate neighbourhood, but I will be able to make small trips.
5 minutes. 10 minutes. Gas station. 3 minutes. Parking lot. 5 minutes. Even the smallest, errand-based trips will add up and expand my personal driving map. And that, coupled with a few more lessons, should get me where I need to be. At least for the meantime. 1 month ago
I thought I should check in with an update.
I had my third lesson today. I still get some pretty aggressive butterflies in my stomach, and it sure doesn’t feel great as someone in my mid twenties practicing the very basics (today it was right turns), but I can’t deny that I’m making progress. Little by little. 2 months ago
Ohhhhhh man. I think I must have been operating on pure adrenaline, because I do not remember a single sight, sound, or action I made over the course of the past hour.
Shoulder checking right when making a right turn (you have to do that?? Oh right, cyclists…) threw me off completely… and at different instances I took turns too quickly (nerves), made one-handed turns (What the- I have never done that before!! Nerves!), sped slightly through a playground zone (Oh geeze, nerves!) and didn’t notice when the light turned green at an intersection (I was preoccupied worrying about whether my mirrors were at a good angle or not).
I thought that all the time away from the wheel would make me cautious to an annoying extent… driving under the speed limit, holding up traffic, changing lanes too slowly. But instead, my elevated heart rate and white knuckles had me second-guessing everything and messing up even the basics.
I feel… Bad? Proud? Embarrassed? Alone? Some weird mix like that. Half of my body wants to jump into bed and hide under the covers while the other half wants to jump in the car and prove that I can do better than today’s miserable performance.
After I came down from my adrenaline rush, I called the school and booked my next lesson for tomorrow, which – to be honest – makes me feel quite queasy. But. Maybe queasy is just what it feels like to face a crippling fear.
This goal is a doozy. I hope that documenting my experience – insecurities and all – will help others with the same goal.
By the way – my driving instructor was relaxed and kind. I do not fear him – I fear my own humiliation and lack of confidence. 2 months ago
I called the place today and an instructor is picking me up tomorrow for a one-hour evaluation lesson.
I’m excited and nervous. But mostly nervous. 2 months ago
Driving lessons and dealerships both cropped up in conversation this morning, and after having both topics rattle around in my brain all day, I am indulging some daydreams about the liberties a vehicle would provide for me. For those times when the daydreams have dissipated and been replaced by white knuckles, cold sweats, and second-guesses – a list, to keep the dream alive!
Things that I currently cannot do freely and that I think are totally rad, though they may seem mundane to the future, car-owning-and-driving version of me
- Going to the store for little, last-minute things.
- Getting to clandestine appointments that I would never dare ask to be chauffeured to (sounds a lot less innocent than it actually is).
- Road trips!
- Running errands related to spontaneous small business ideas.
- Curating an amazing stockpile of mix CDs and programming the best radio stations.
- Not feeling sheepish about having family members drive me to work.
- Being able to stay past “curfew” (ie. last bus of the night) on weekends.
- Visiting the library whenever. I. Want. Let’s just take a minute to ponder the magnificence of that one.
- Taking trips across the border.
- Maneuvering fearlessly in the big city (this one will take some time, but… can you imagine??)
- Being proud of the fact that I’ve conquered things that used to make me feel intimidated, stupid, and anxious: parallel parking! traffic circles! gassing up! changing a flat! oil changes! tire rotations! freeways! left turns! lane changes! mechanics!
- Choosing out sweet car accessories. Shhh. If I want to profess my love for Battlestar Galactica via window sticker, that’s my prerogative. If I want to pay for a celebrity GPS voiceover, that’s my prerogative, too.
- Honking the horn smartly.
- Driving to the gym, to a class, or to an activity. 2 months ago
But the nerves are still there 5 months ago
I’ve finally taken the plunge and am now driving to visit my family. It takes me about 12 hours. This was a tremendous leap for me.
I used to take the bus, but it’s become less and less convenient, and finally nearly impossible due to things like bus depots being closed at weird hours in small towns, my family still had to drive an hour and a half to get me, and busses being sold out on holidays.
I would have kept taking the bus had it not become just harder and harder to do.
I drove home last May, and it was terrifying. I even took a small highway that I thought would be safer than the main highway, but it was in such poor repair that it damaged the oil pan of my car.
This time, I knuckled down and took the big highway that went through a city. It was a little scary, but I made it.
The best part was having my car while I was home. That meant I had the freedom to drive to visit people nearby, and to take my Mom (who doesn’t drive anymore) out to do things.
I won’t say I was particularly confident, but I did it, and it was easier the second time than it was the first. I felt more confident at higher speeds, felt like I could read the road better, and while I was alert, I panicked less about the other drivers. 6 months ago
not called for some refresher lessons. guess the fear still has me in its grip.
i really need to do this. 7 months ago
I purchased a new car today- well an old car but a new one to me. I’ve not driven for 8 months now on account of not finding anything I liked. I don’t particularly like this car really but it was only £700 and it’s got an MOT for the next 7 months and will get me from A to B. I figure if I start out small and increase then it’ll be easier to get back into the swing of things. I’m not sure my fear is conquered by this move but, I have an urge to try again. The insurance will begin on Thursday and I’ll be back on the road… watch out people of the UK! 7 months ago
to call a driving instructor tomorrow. I need to get some refresher lessons so I can start driving again with a bit more confidence.
will call to see if I can maybe arrange 2 1 hour lessons sometime this week. 7 months ago