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As a child, I had a recurring nightmare that I'd be alone in a car and it would just start on its own. I would panic, not knowing what to do, and always wake up before it crashed. I've also never been very good at sports or videogames... basically I don't have an instinct for hand-eye coordination. For these reasons, I was afraid of learning to drive. I continuously put it off, and I had pretty much made up my mind that I didn't need to know how to drive. I live in a pretty big city after all, with decent bus service. I could also use Uber if needed. However, I did sometimes feel like a burden to my friends whenever we went on road trips, as I could never help with the driving. I also began to think about the future: not knowing how to drive would mean I'd depend on my partner to drive my future kids around to appointments, sports, etc. I was also limiting myself on where to live. If I ever decided to move out to the country, I would definitely feel more comfortable being able to get around on my own. Last year, I finally made up my mind to at least give driving a try. If I really hated it, at least I would have tried, right? I took full driving lessons last summer, with a portion in class and 10 hours on the road with an instructor. I was very nervous being behind the wheel at first, but I slowly started gaining more confidence. I was lucky to have found a calm instructor as well: my friends shared horror stories of rude and impatient instructors they've had to deal with!
I put off practicing for a few months after I got laser eye surgery last fall (I definitely recommend it!). I wanted to wait for my eyes to heal fully, especially since in the first few months I had really bad night vision. I decided it would be easier to practice with my own car and also use it for the test, so I bought my first car for my thirtieth birthday this June. My dad helped me choose it as I knew nothing about cars. Having my own car definitely helped me to gain more confidence behind the wheel, as I was able to get comfortable with my own vehicle.
I scheduled my test for late August, and studied like crazy during the weeks leading up to it. I used my notes from the driving lessons, tips from family and friends, YouTube videos, and even binge watched Canada's Worst Driver! I also practiced driving nearly every day. I believe what helped me the most was doing a lot of mindfulness meditation and visualisation exercises. These really helped me keep any nervousness under control.
I'm so thrilled that I passed my test on my first try! Some of my friends said that even if you're a good driver, you might fail on your first try for a silly reason. My examiner was strict, but fair. She told me I was slightly overcautious, and that I needed to be a little more aggressive on the road, but otherwise I knew what I was doing.
Being able to get places independently has been such a treat. I'm so glad I did this before staring a family of my own. One of the most exciting things for me has been ordering fast food in drive thrus!! I still have lots to learn: I'd like to know how to change a tire on my own, and to know more about how the engine works. If you lack the confidence to try learning to drive, remember that you control the car, the car doesn't control you. That was a very liberating statement for me. I can honestly say that I truly enjoy driving now!
Can you believe we are almost in mid September? I am thrilled that the fall weather has returned! It's going to be awesome to enjoy the fall scenery as I drive.
How old were you when you learned to drive? Thanks for reading and take care! :)