Over the long weekend, I took a road trip to see my lovely friend Robb. It’s the first time in quite a while that I have driven any distance by myself. I’m usually a drowsy and/or distracted passenger while my fearless husband deals with traffic and shoulders the responsibility of navigating us safely to our destination.
During this road trip, I couldn’t help but reflect on the complete absence of nervousness and anxiety. Both of which, in my earlier years, had been constant companions on solo driving excursions. So much so that even short trips, if I wasn’t already well-acquainted with the route, would cause panic attacks. Occasionally, I would even opt-out of trips because the stress of negotiating unfamiliar routes was just too much for me to handle by myself.
I wondered what had I been so afraid of?
I used to be afraid of traffic. I hated feeling carried along with a flow of traffic that was beyond my comfort level in speed and proximity.
I used to be afraid of getting lost. I don’t know why, but I always felt as though I was bound to get hopelessly and irretrievably lost – never to be seen or heard from again.
I wondered what had changed (beyond the purchase of my trusty, if not a little bitchy, Garmin) that I was now able to forget these concerns and travel so worry-free, even on a busy holiday weekend?
I like to think that the transformation is because I’ve gotten braver as I’ve gotten older – that I no longer feel intimidated by other drivers because I understand how to be aggressive and use the fast lane when necessary and when to stay at a comfortable pace in the slow-lane. I like to think that I now understand that I’m not going to get irretrievably lost – I might miss an exit or take a wrong turn now and again, but will always be able to get back on track in a relatively short amount of time. I now understand that I can always stop if I want. I now know I can always ask for directions. I like to think that I’ve learned that there are far bigger-badder things to be afraid of in life than simple daily tasks. I like to think that I now see the bigger picture.
I like to think that the confidence I’ve gained in driving reflects the confidence I've gained in general and that I now apply, to every aspect of my life, the same ease and understanding that I apply to driving…
But it’s probably just the Garmin.