The First Step Towards The Rest Of My Life – Driving
One day last year in February, I decided I wanted to make a change in my life. I wanted to defy my self beliefs of not deserving great things. I thought, what’s the main thing that limits me to what I can do? That thing was transport. Driving my own vehicle and getting my independance was my next goal; and at the ripe age of 32, I knew this was going to be a challenge.
I had many, many lessons, spending most of my money on learning to drive, (and taxis). And I spent most of my time on studying the high-way code and then passing my theory test in March 2016. Then a few months passed and I was ready! My instructor said, I was definitely ready to take my practical test.
My first practical driving test was in June 2016. I remember feeling quietly confident when driving to the test centre with my instructor, but then as we started to approach the building where I would meet my examiner, I immediately began to feel unexplainably terrified. I was visualising over and over in my mind, visions of myself being told, I am sorry, Sarah, you have failed.
I tried to remember all of the answers to the ‘show me-tell me’ questions, where you must either show or tell the examiner how you would, for instance: check your oil, know when your brakes aren’t working and/or turn on your windscreen wipers, etc…. but I couldn’t think of them. I knew them all before, but now I don’t. Just don’t cry; do not cry! I told myself. My stress levels continued to rise.
Basically, I totally flapped! I was flapping like a pigeon stuck in a chimney. Everything… well near enough everything that could have went wrong, did. So, the lady examiner called my name, and we head outside towards the car I was about to drive her around in; for 40 minutes; whilst being closely examined on my every move.
Okay, I’m not ready, I am sooo not ready, I thought.
As we get closer to the car,what did I notice swarming all around it? It’s one of my biggest fears: Two inch long, winged insects with black and yellow striped bodies, armed with a little stinging sword on their butts and an irritating buzzing sound to top it off… Yes, they were WASPS! They just had to, didn’t they? Today of all days! And did they have to sit on the bonnet just as I was asked to open it? Ohhhh, of course they did! I thought, resentfully.
As much as I was scared to start my driving test, I just wanted to get inside the car away from the taunting wasps. At this point I was really worked up inside. The sweat was literally dripping down my face and into my eyes. This is not good when you wear glasses and are also wearing quite a bit of mascara. Not waterproof, by the way. This was out of the ‘norm’ for me as I am not usually a ‘sweaty’ person. So there was also that added paranoia that the examiner was thinking, my god… who sweats like that?
When I started the car, my hands started to shake in an embarassing and very noticable way. I could feel my feet trembling on the pedals. My entire focus was stuck on what my body was doing and on the fear of doing wrong. It was not good.
Inevitably, I didn’t do well with my driving. I started in the wrong gear, I hit the curb and I nearly knocked off the left wing mirror on an old brick wall along a narrow country lane… as well as another 10 x driving faults. My previous lessons went extremely well, though. What was my problem? Anyway, of course, I failed my test. Hey! I must be psycic because that’s exactly what I imagined I would be told. This is me being sarcastic; I’m no psycic. I didn’t fore-see my future but I certainly did create it.
I went on and booked another test. And another. These kind of ended the same way, although, I wasn’t as nervous but I still wasn’t completely confident in my abilities. I didn’t stay in the here and now; I was over-thinking everything, getting worked up and then making enough mistakes to make me fail. Again. Something had to be done, and more driving lessons was not the answer this time.
Finally, I booked my fourth test. I booked it for the 17th January 2017, 14:32PM.
My instructor, who I had been learning with since Jan/Feb last year, was due to retire mid December. I had no one to give me lessons for my up-coming test booked for the following month. Before Christmas I called every driving school around and each of them told me either they were fully booked up or there not taking bookings until after the new year.
So anyway, I continued my search, but no such luck. I then thought, it’s fine, it’s all going to be fine. Surely something will come up.I just need to have faith all will work out for the best.
I continued on with my life after new year and enjoyed time with family and friends and my partner and I played with our new toys we got for Christmas. All was good. One morning we had decided to go for a walk and my partner, Rob, could have a go at flying his drone on a nearby field. We head out, and as I walk out of our front gate I notice a sign that read, Chris Kelly Driving School. It was sat on top of an instructor’s car.
As Rob walked out after me, a man appeared from around the corner and walks towards this car with the sign, and opens the door. Rob says, “Sarah, goand ask him if he could fit you in for lessons,and take you to your test!” I felt a bit shy, and thought,I don’t know. Chris Kelly Driving School told me that they’re fully booked.
Rob then shouts towards the man, “Excuse me mate!” The man said, “hi, you okay?” Rob continued “my girlfriend has booked her test which is just in a couple of weeks, and she has no car to be able to do it, could you fit her in at all, and maybe for a couple lessons in your car to get used to it?” He replied, “yeah, that’s not a problem, any time your free,just give me a call later.” Then he gave me his mobile number and everything went smashingly from there.
The lessons I had with the new instructor were completely different to what I was used to with the old one. I was left to my own skill and gained much needed confidence from them. I felt at ease. And I began to feel like a driver, and actually enjoyed driving!
Was it a coincidence that the ‘Chris Kelly’ car was at the right place at the right time? Or was it because I had faith that all would be fine? Over the Christmas period I done a lot of meditating and really worked on trying to see the good in every situation. I like to believe this is why everything worked out.
You Can Do It
A couple weeks later I had my fourth driving test.
Taking a different approach this time, while waiting in the waiting room for my examiner, I breathed slowly and deeply counting each breath, and noticing my breath. When I felt myself getting nervous in the car I made a concious effort to ‘stay in the now’ and be aware of my surroundings, from the feeling of my hands on the steering wheel to the colour of the cars infront of me. All the while remembering to breath and believe, I can do this!
Finally, we approach the test centre. The place I once, twice, three times dreaded, I now couldn’t wait to park up! I already knew the outcome. No time was wasted as I parked I was immediately told I had passed! I only had two minor faults! Amazing! The second I was told I burst into tears and banged my head on the steering wheel leading to histerical laughter. I was Over. The. Moon.
I passed on Tuesday and had my own car by Monday evening. I just could not wait!
I got a car on finance from Vauxhalls, a lime green Adam, nicknamed: Sweet Pea. I love her so much. It was strange how I initially was refused finance, after having a quote and two hour appointment with the dealer. So then Rob said, “I’ll pop over with you and It can go in my name, we’re going to have you driving babe.”
We arrive, Saturday afternoon. We take a seat and the dealer, a lovely elderly man named Tony, asks Rob, “okay, can I see your driving license, please?” Oh great. I thought. You need a license to get finance for a car. Of course.
Tony looked devastated for us. Or maybe for the sale, he has just potentially lost, who knows. Tony walks back and to from a little office in the corner. Then he walks back over to us and asks Rob if he could just get a bank loan of £7000 to buy the car. This was not an option for Rob, nor would I want him to do that. Tony then has his head in his hands, and suddenly darts off to the little office again.
He returns with, “Right, we can attempt to try this through a different finance company; it will have to be hire purchase, over five years instead of three, and it will be about £25 more per month. Shall we try?” I said yes. I just want to drive, yes please try this, Tony.
He walks off to the mysterious office once more, and returns shortly after. He says to me, “I’m sorry, I’m not wearing my glasses, can you just read that word at the top for me please?” I looked and readout slowly, “app….rov….ed. Approved!!” The man laughed in delight as did we all. I am a driver.
Monday night, straight after work I was able to pick up my car, (oh-my-god), and drive it home. All on my own. I can’t describe the feeling; Independance, joy, excitement!! So many feelings. At 33 years of age, this is one hell of an accomplishment.
Everything worked out perfectly. Though there were some events that could have disheartened me, I didn’t allow them to. I continuously thought, what’s meant to be will be. Full stop.
Coincidence or not, believing that everything is fine, has got me where I wanted. Not all in one day, but eventually. No bad feelings, just faith that it will all work out for my highest good. You’ve just got to carry on going for your dream. In this case, it was my Sweet Pea. My Sweet Pea and me.