I am a 36 year old male and I don’t have a driver’s license.
It started when I was a kid and my parents were dead set against me driving. I had finished driver’s education at the high school and had two weeks of driving experience but my parents were convinced that I would die and kill everyone around me if I ever drove a car. That was not a good start for my confidence.
A few years later my parents divorced and I was scraping pennies to go to college. For quite a few years, getting the insurance I would need for a license seemed like a ridiculous luxury. I was more concerned with eating paying rent.
But a funny thing happened when I got a decent job and married a woman. I was in my mid 20’s and I had learned to get around without driving. I had a deep fear of driving and I could always rationalize a reason not to learn. I worked the night shift, so why do I need the car to drive there? We were living paycheck to paycheck, so why add the extra burden of insurance for a new driver? I got quite good at excuses.
The thing about fear is it creates a pocket that you feel safe in. I can honestly say that I rarely felt bad that I couldn’t drive. It’s just the way it was. The alternative was unthinkable. The thought of turning on the car and driving around the apartment parking lot seemed incredibly foolhardy. My anxiety issues manifest constantly so why push it by doing something so potentially dangerous like driving?
The anwser is that eventually I got tired of living in fear. I had a terrible anxiety period a few weeks ago and I just got really sick of it. I hate being afraid of work. I hate writing stories that I’m afraid the readers don’t like. I hate thinking that when the shit hits the fan, I seize up with panic.
So I went to the DMV and took my driver’s permit test. I expected to fail. I didn’t study it at all but what I really wanted to do was make myself try. I wanted to go to a strange place, take a stressful test and do something scary. As luck would have it, I passed the written test. I guess I learned a few things from being a passenger for 36 years. I got the damn permit and I felt good, but also really scared. Now I would have to fucking drive.
you know what? Driving is not so bad. I drove home from the grocery store with my fiancee supervising. I was scared shitless but at every intersection I was screaming my head off with excitement. It just felt so good doing something that I had accepted as impossible in my mind. I’ve been driving every day and I find myself actually relaxing. I’m still screaming though. I just can’t fucking beleive it.
I’m still anxious as fuck. That hasn’t changed but it just feels so good to have this one accomplishment that is mine. I’m a 36 year old student driver but I am so damn tickled with myself when I do a smooth lane change. It feels electric.
Now I just need to really learn how to make a decisive left hand turn.