What I Really Learned When I Learned To Drive.

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Just let the car roll, just let it roll.
What I really learned, when learning to drive.

There is a lot I have learned about myself in the process of learning to drive:
I am worth it
No one knows it all right away
Try, try and try again.
Have confidence in your ability and your decisions.
Let it roll

Let me first give you a little back story.
I am 27 years old and up until a year ago, had never driven a car.
At 16, I wasn’t like my friends and eager about it. I had always known it was something to be taken seriously, having been in a couple serious enough accidents, in other cars. So I waited, I had time, right?
Between the ages of 17-25 things with my home life got complicated, and learning to drive got put on the back burner so I could focus on the issues at hand and honestly, just survive what was going on.

As I found in me a want to learn to drive, our financial situation took a hard hit. So that became an obstacle and a priority.
I got a job and at one point two. For several years, learning to drive just sat on the back burner simmering.

As time progressed anxiety about driving and the fact that I was “so far behind in life” started to set in. The stress and pressure, that I would later realize, I was putting on myself would bring me to a halt and I would focus on anything but the need to learn to drive.

After a series of good life changing events I was in a place and with the means to focus on learning to drive.

I AM WORTH IT.

Learning to drive for me wasn’t cheap. I didn’t have a family or parent’s car to use.

I had to rely on friends who could find time, but mostly I had to pay a company to teach me and give me time behind the wheel. Spending the money it cost $330-$480, on myself, seemed nuts! I wasn’t worth that much trouble, that money needed to go towards more important things than me, like rent, and food, household needs etc. I just wasn’t worth that much money spent on me, to learn something all the people I knew had learned for free.

Having now spent it, and learned and gotten my license, yes I am worth it. I work hard day in and day out, not just at my job, but I come home and cook, clean and do errands for two people, caring for an ill parent. This money being spent would in time, give me the ability to move up at my job, make getting to and from my job easier and faster. It would make my errands not an all-day thing. I would no longer have to walk home double my bodyweight in groceries a few times a week. It would give me spare time to hopefully enjoy life. Not just survive it, which was all I knew how to do.


I am worth better than that. I am worth more free time, I am worth ease in life. I am worth more in my life, than the lack of ability to drive had given me. I am worth better and more and yes, I am worth the money that was spent to get me there.

NO ONE KNOWS IT RIGHT AWAY.

 I never really thought of myself as a perfectionist. I’m kinda messy and I don’t pay attention to detail on most things. I am pretty forgetful and a bit scattered at times. So perfectionist was never something I associated with myself. Until one driving instructor said to me, “No one is perfect, no one knows it right away, you’re going to make mistakes.” and I remember thinking, “No, I should know how to do this. Its not hard, everyone says it’s easy. I should just know it. What’s my problem? Why don’t I just know it?!”


I would beat myself up if I just got one little thing wrong, like forgetting to turn my blinker on, or look over my shoulder. I needed to get it perfect. I needed to show them I knew what I was doing. They would be watching me, testing me, judging my ability to drive. I needed to be perfect.


 But I’m not. I am far from it,  and most importantly I was new at this. I didn’t know what I was doing, I was learning it.
How does anyone know something? They learn it. They make mistakes. They don’t do it perfectly and that’s okay. Everyone starts somewhere, in their own time.

TRY, TRY, & TRY AGAIN, THIRD TIME’S A CHARM

I didn’t pass my first time. I got dinged for a critical for not turning fast enough on a green and not honking when it was my right of way.



I didn’t pass my second time either. Another critical for the instructor having to interfere when I was stopped at a three way stop. I was about to go, when the other driver turned a corner and had the right of way.



The result of both of those killed the little bit of confidence I’d built up. I just couldn’t do it. I will be honest, I let it get to me.  Let it eat away at me. It was easier to go over what I’d done wrong then start over and face my anxiety about driving. I’d spent roughly $700 on lessons and it all felt for nothing. So I once again, focused on anything but driving. I had months on my permit before it expired and didn’t want to deal with it.


I was rushing myself. I do that a lot, rush myself. I always feel I’m behind and need to catch up.  Driving was one of those things I was behind on in life. I was pushing myself, pressuring myself to hurry up and know how to drive.


I needed to breathe, step away, but at the same time I felt myself giving up. I didn’t let it go for a week or two, or a month, I ran from it and ignored it and stressed about it for 5 months.Then panic set in about my permit expiring and I forced myself to refocus, and try again.


 I did it. It may have taken me longer, but not giving up on it completely, doing that would’ve been easier.  Trying again, I did it.

HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR ABILITY & YOUR DECISIONS

I wasn’t a bad driver, I’d been told I was actually pretty good, just nervous.


Still, even if my gut told me I was making the right decision, for example, timing on making a turn on a red light, I’d second guess myself. There was a lot of second guessing on what I knew was right. I just didn’t have confidence in my ability and decisions. Once I started telling myself “Have confidence in your ability and your decisions”,  did my anxiety, stress and second guessing eased up, my driving became more relaxed and confident. Being an uptight, nervous, stressed out driver isn’t a good or safe one.

I’ve taken that mantra and applied it to several other things in life to see the same effect. It’s making me a more laid back and relaxed person all around.

LET IT ROLL.

Early in my driving education, a co worker took me out, trusting me to drive his new BMW, (talk about nerve wracking) and something he said really stuck with me: “Just let it roll, the car will roll on its own.”


I didn’t need to be a constant on the break or the gas.


It’s become a mantra not just in my driving, but in life. I don’t need to step on the breaks out of fear or on the gas and push things too hard. I need to let things roll.

Learning to drive taught me so much more than an ability that will bring me freedom. It taught me about my own strength and perseverance. It taught and gave me confidence, it taught me life lessons that I live by and won’t soon forget.

Written and loved on by Justine Perez