I consider myself to be a very helpful assistant driver. I can spot potholes, interference from other vehicles, suggest alternative paths which may be better, and essentially contribute substantially to a better driving experience for the person behind the steering wheel. I used to be so excited to finally be the one doing the driving. In my mind it heralded a new era of independence and growth of some sort.
But, one near-accident and partly ripped-off front panel later, driving is beginning to give me anxiety and fear. I never thought I would ever be afraid of something I looked forward to so much, but here I am, saying that driving makes me afraid.
I felt – and still feel – so dissapointed in myself for feeling so afraid. I remember thinking, “Ada, so many people drive all around the world. So many of your mates don’t see it as a big deal. Why aren’t you getting this right? You’ve done so many tasking things in your life and overcome, why is this making you jump. out of your skin?” It feels so silly to be scared of something that so many people do like it’s not a big deal.
You see, because of the accidents I had, my mind has associated my driving with negative connotations. So I might want to drive, but I think, “what if I have another accident? What if I hurt a human being this time? How would I be able to live with myself if I caused harm to a life because of my bad driving?” These questions flood my thoughts and I just give up and back out.
It’s not all bad though. If there’s a silver lining to all this, it will be that this experience exposed me to another part of my life where I think in similar ways: my ‘love life’ (don’t particularly like the term – love life – because it sounds so cliché to me, but I want the point to be passed across).
I think I perceive driving and romantic relationships in similar ways.
Anyone who knows me well enough knows how much I love love. I champion it. I’m so excited whenever any of my friends are in love. From what they say on these streets, I tend to give good relationship advice apparently. For someone who is this positive about other’s experiences, you would think I would be overjoyed when it happens to me.
I haven’t had particularly pleasant experiences in this area of my life, so liking someone, as giddy as it makes me feel, does come with its own share of anxiety. All the previous misses, all what I thought I had forgotten, come spilling from the edges of my subconscious. “What if it ends like last time?” “What if it ends up even worse? ”
I believe all these fears, whether it’s driving or falling in love, all stem from my perfectionist mindset. I want things to go so smoothly, I want to be able to know what will happen down to the letter, and I’m not welcoming to any mistakes. If I misstep and experience something negative, my attitude towards that subject changes almost drastically, and it takes a lot more courage and motivation to do it again.
I admire people who have mastered the art of failing forward. Those who do not let a negative experience cause them to give up on their dreams and desires. I want things to go as planned, to happen perfectly. Unfortunately, and realistically, life is not perfect. Far from it. No matter how good preparation was or is, there is still a probability for something to not go as planned. Especially when it involves something else outside of you. For driving, it involves an automobile. With falling in love, it involves another entire human being.
Automobiles are calculated most of the time, you can predict the output if you turn this switch or that knob. Failures in cars can be mitigated via proper maintenance and good driving, but that does make the probability of an accident 0. Accidents happen, sometimes for reasons beyond our control.
For humans, we don’t follow all laws of physics. Your actions do not necessarily guarantee an equal and opposite reaction. Read that last sentence again.
When it all comes down to it, it’s a leap of faith. Faith that the tyres of the automobile turn when you steer left. Faith that your brake won’t fail you when you need it as you cruise at 100 miles per hour on the highway. Faith that this person you like and prayed about and observed closely to be a decent human won’t turn on you one day and shatter your heart in a million times.
Driving is cool. Love is a beautiful thing. Could they go wrong? Yes. But could they also go incredibly right? Of course. I’m currently praying for the latter to be my testimony, and I hope they work out at some point.