I Never Learned to Drive

I am 29 years old, and I never learned to drive. This is the first time that I have publicly admitted this. I am very embarrassed about it, but I decided to finally open up and say it out loud because today I am taking the first step to finally moving forward and becoming a real adult. Today I am taking my permit test.

See, my parents never taught me how to drive as a teenager. When I tried at 17 to get my permit for the first time, I found out my eyesight was too bad to drive, and I needed glasses. My mother took me to get glasses, but she never took me back to the DMV to take the permit test. Shortly after that, I moved out and without a car, I saw no need to get my license.

My girlfriend, whom I met around that same time, got her license and drove us everywhere. We were only 17 years old and with her being a new driver I didn’t feel like she was exactly qualified to teach me. It was about this time that I started to get more and more afraid of driving a car. Many people I knew were getting in accidents, and I always thought “man, if they KNOW how to drive, and they got into an accident, then me, someone who is just learning, is bound to get in an accident….and die!”

As the years went by I got more and more afraid and started to feel like I would just never learn. When I was 20, my dad had finally had enough of me stalling and tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift. It was so frustrating that I ended up crying, and he ended up yelling, and we both gave up. I felt like I just couldn’t do it. I was just too stupid and scared to learn how to drive.

For the past 12 years of my relationship with my girlfriend, she has been the sole driver. It has caused a lot of frustration and fights between us but I still just couldn’t get over my fear. I felt so bad knowing she was the only one who could do the grocery shopping and run the errands. I hated knowing that if something happened to her, I couldn’t even get her to the hospital. The fear just kept growing, though, and it felt impossible for me to drive without having an emotional breakdown.

Then Chardonnay got a promotion at work and her hours changed. She is working long hours and is too tired to work all day and still do the grocery shopping and run the errands. It is time for me to step up and face my fear and finally learn how to drive. Last weekend we went out to an empty parking lot so I could start practicing. It went ok, at least I think it did. I did cry, though. I cried because I was frustrated I couldn’t park the car right. I cried because I was embarrassed. I cried because I felt like a loser who didn’t deserve the awesome girlfriend who has put up with my fear and is now trying to help me get over it.

I had my cry then I tried again. I tried again and again and again. I will keep trying too. I have to do this for her, but more importantly, I have to do this for myself. For too long I have carried this fear and felt like less of a person because I can’t do something that seems so simple for other adults. I have to do this so that I can move forward in my life and finally feel like I can help and contribute in my relationship. I have to do this so that I can feel be more independent, be more whole.

I will keep you all posted on how it goes. I wrote this so that you all can hold me accountable. Once I say out loud to the world that I am going to do this, I have to do it. I can’t tell others to face their fears without first facing mine. I can’t tell others to keep trying and never give up when I can’t do the same.

So, wish me luck everyone! I hope each of you can face the fears inside of yourselves too. Do the thing you have never been able to do!

Until next time, good vibes. :)

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Published by

Lisa

Hello! My name is Lisa. I find the human condition fascinating and I often write stuff about that. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram, and if you like what I do, consider signing up for my newsletter. Thanks :)

14 thoughts on “I Never Learned to Drive”

  1. I would equate driving like riding a bike — ok, wait, you can ride a bike? Thank you for sharing, and no, it is not weird. Maybe a little inconvenient, but not weird. Although, I will be sure to stay a few hundred miles / kilometres / continents away just to be safe. The positive, just consider the freedom conquering this hurdle will offer you! Enjoy the adventure — and keep looking back in the rearview mirror as it will be amazing to see what you have accomplished!

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    1. I am 32 and don’t know how to drive. I am glad I am not the only one around my age who never learned how. I am very fearful of driving, and reading this gave me courage to get out there and try.

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      1. I know how you feel. I still haven’t gotten my license but I haven’t given up. As soon as the weather clears up here I will be back behind the wheel and practicing. Good luck to you!

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    1. I am still working on it (might write another post on the subject) but there has been significant progress. My biggest hurdle is the fear I have of other drivers on the road. I am learning to be more confident in my ability to asses the environment around me and determine what is safe to do. I hope to have my license by the end of the summer. Wish me luck! :)

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      1. Take a defensive driving course. Keep just a healthy amount of that fear, but trust that what keeps most of us idiots safe on the road is the fact that none of us wants to have or cause that kind of a bad day. There’s a lot of self-interest in NOT screwing up – and most humans can be counted on to do what’s in their self-interest.

        Phone goes in your back pocket or passenger seat – does not get touched unless the car’s in park. Watch for distracted drivers; don’t BE one of them. You’ll be fine. And we’re still working on it here in my household, too, but getting closer! End of summer’s our goal here, too.

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  2. I really enjoyed this post.
    It took a lot of courage to openly write about your fear of driving. You posted it and made it public. Good for you.
    I use to love to drive, except in large cities. I don’t like interstate driving in traffic. They have always overwhelmed me. I would do it IF I HAD to. I would also worry myself silly before hand. When I had to I would do IT in the middle of the night.
    What I did love to do and still love to do but don’t get a chance is:
    I love driving back roads that go on and on and from one to the next . Never ending. I love to drive in the mountains.
    I love road trips.

    Nowadays, I don’t drive much at all.
    I love to drive the short distance here at home ….Out in the country.
    I don’t like driving in town any more.
    It scares me.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Sarah

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  3. I do enjoy empty back roads too, the kind that go on and on. I especially like them at night and when there are no other cars in sight. Other than that I hate driving! I am working on it though :)

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  4. Hi Lisa,
    We know a lot of the same people. I know Sarah, Holly, Ellen, Donna….
    When I was 16 everyone I knew was learning to drive. I wasn’t ready. I can related. If I hadn’t been in California where everyone has a car, I probably wouldn’t have ever learned to drive either. No embarrassment necessary. In some places like NY, not everyone drives, they take cabs or public transportation.
    You visited my site today, and I wanted to thank you. I’m glad you liked my post about where to find 3,000 blog followers.
    Janice

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    1. I wish I lived somewhere where I didn’t have to drive! I actually hope to take my driving test soon. I still have a lot of anxiety around driving but it’s much better.

      Thanks for stopping by in return :)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I hear you. I’m also 29 and I’ve never gotten a license, though I have driven on more than a few occasions. The shame (especially around women) that this has caused me is now unbearable. It has made me feel worthless, immature (which is ridiculous, being that driving has NOTHING to do with maturity, it’s just another skill plain and simple) however, I feel like it is something I must do for myself in order to feel confident and self – actualized. This is mostly due to the sheer emphasis and stigma that is associated with driving in modern civilization. I would have much rather learned to ride a horse, but those days are gone. I’m glad to have encountered this article as it shows me I’m not the only one.

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