Learning to Drive

If you know me, or have read any of my old posts, you will know that A) I have epilepsy and B) I don’t drive (largely down to A).

I could have learnt when I was a teenager, but I didn’t have the money. Then I moved to London and seriously who needs to drive when they live and work in London? It’s a sound argument but one I still regret listening to.

I had a period when I couldn’t learn as my epilepsy wasn’t great but eventually I went fit free for long enough to apply for my provisional and as we were living in Swansea by this time I had both the money and the inclination to start learning.

This was back in 2010. I did about 6 months worth of lessons and also a decent amount of driving Ben’s car in the evenings. If I’m honest with myself now, I was almost ready for my test, but as with so much in life, when I get to close to where I want to be I self sabotage. I baulked at the thought of taking my test so decided to have a break from lessons while I went to the States for two weeks and when we came back I argued that work was so busy I needed to concentrate on that. It was a load of rubbish and such an enormous mistake. I should totally have kept going and got my licence. And I still kick myself for being so stupid. Six months after I stopped my lessons I had a fit, meaning I couldn’t renew my provisional licence when we moved to Haslemere. Meaning I couldn’t carry on learning even if I’d wanted to.

So for the past five years I’ve lived in a community where being able to drive is so, so important. We’re not exactly isolated, but my small town is not the easiest place to live without transport, believe me. After I had Oscar my epilepsy hit another bad patch (thank you pregnancy hormones), but eventually last year I got to the point where I could reapply for my provisional. I was so happy when I got it and so proud to put it in my purse.

And there it’s sat. Doing nothing for over a year. Why? I think I told myself it was because Oscar was at nursery for such short sessions, but really,I could have fitted a lesson in if I’d really wanted to. The truth is I think I was scared. I’m not a naive teenager (apologies to any teens who might read this, I don’t mean to generalise, but I think it’s fair to say 37 vs 17 comes with some extra life experience), I know what can go wrong. I know I’m not invincible. And since having Oscar and becoming a mother that anxiety has only increased. I spend my life second guessing what I will need to do to keep my baby safe, hell keep him alive! And the thought of putting us in a big powerful metal box seems totally counter intuitive.

So yeah I think I’ve put it off because I’m just scared. Which, you know, is fair enough. The trouble is he’s getting bigger. Until now I’ve been able to stick him in the buggy and go as far as my legs could take us (and I really do mean walking, public transport where we live is bloody awful!). But he’s growing out of the buggy and walking miles along busy roads really isn’t an option, for many four years to be honest, but especially not one who has issues around following instructions and a compromised sense of danger. Add to that the fact that the school we have chosen for him is a little over three miles away, well. I’ve realised I’m not doing this for just me anymore. It’s no longer just another life achievement to tick off the list. It’s becoming more of a necessity for all of us.

Oscar autism means we often have appointments for this and that and none of them are ever local. At the moment Ben’s having to take time off work every time, but that’s not sustainable. Sure it’s important that he comes to some of the meetings but I know there are some we could attend alone and it’s a pain for him to have to keep rearranging his days and using his holiday for something he wouldn’t need to if I could drive.

So, really I no longer have the luxury of putting it off, for whatever reason. Or excuse. I’ve just to got do it. For all of us.

Which is why I had my first lesson in six year today. I was scared sure. And top level I was nervous, I just didn’t want to mess anything up (and that’s adults learning new stuff, we’re not great at admitting we’re not perfect straight away) . But do you know what? I didn’t feel sick the way I did when I first started learning. I remembered so much more than I thought I would. And even if we only did ‘driving round quiet residential streets’, I still did it. My clutch control was better than I ever imagined it would be and didn’t make the car kangaroo once.

I’m so proud of myself. Yes I am doing this for my family, but as a friend said to me, “it’s very liberating”. And that’s for me.

Now I wonder if I could do this by the end of the year?

Comments

  1. diaryofuem says:

    Ahhh, this post has made me happy! I was totally nodding along to everything about being scared. Oliver’s preschool is too far for me to walk so I needed to do it. Sometimes you do just need that push.
    Ps, don’t worry about your test, I hear the best drivers pass 3rd time haha!

  2. diaryofuem says:

    Also, learning to drive totally justifies a new pair of shoes, you know, so you have some that have a good grip on the pedals and are comfortable to drive in. Ahem.

  3. I always think the same about transport and Liphook. Then I realise I could live somewhere like Milland or Fernhurst!

    Good on you for getting back to it though.

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Haha I hear that, although if I could drive at least we’d have the option to live some where even more remote if we wanted. Thank you so much!

  4. Good luck! I’ve wanted to learn to drive for years and like you, I put excuse after excuse before it because I find it intimidating 🙂 you must feel so proud of yourself go getting back into it! All the best!

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you Faye – I really do. Its not an easy step to take, but you will if and when the time ever becomes right for you!

  5. How exciting! I can understand this as Misery Guts is Type 1 diabetic and has to have his licence renewed every 3 years as long as he hasn’t had any hypos or loss of consciousness – anyway, you can definitely do it by the end of the year! #picknmix

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much! I didn’t know that about those with diabetes, but I guess it makes sense. Safety first and all that! Still a bugger though!

  6. Aww I ‘m glad to hear your lesson went well and you are feeling more confident in your driving! It’s amazing how much more we are capable of than we think sometimes 😀 Best of luck with it, you’ve got this! #picknmix

  7. So glad your lesson went well and you are feeling more confident in your driving, sounds like you got this 😉

  8. Congratulations! I learnt late in life (36) after a few stop start attempts. I know exactly what your saying and when I stopped making excuses I passed within 5 months and haven’t looked back. Its sad because my older children missed out on quite a lot when i couldn’t drive although I was determined not to let it stop me and used buses a lot for days out but it’s so much easier now with my toddler. #sharethejoy

  9. Congratulations on getting back in the driving seat! I was a later learner and like you it was much needed due to living in the countryside! you can do it! #sharethejoy

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thank you so much Ceri. The more people I talk to the more I find I’m not the only one learning later on in life. Which is a great comfort!

  10. thefamilypatch2015 says:

    Oh well done you! I am in a similar position – never had the money as a teenager/student and then in my early 20s I got my provisional but lack of money again meant I never even had proper lessons, just practised with what my husband taught me. We lived in a rural area and commuting on the village bus to work really wasn’t sustainable long-term for me but equally we couldn’t have afforded a second car even if we had paid for lessons and a test. So there were always “excuses” I made, but the reality was I was scared of driving… I could do it but it scared me! Now that my husband is ill it would really help if I could drive, so I am facing the prospect of actually taking lessons and preparing for a test and though I have been moaning about it for such a long time I now feel terrified… as you say, the older you get the more you seem to worry about what could go wrong!! But you’ve inspired me to take that step… good luck with your lessons #sharethejoy

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Oh I’m so pleased I could help. It’s such a massive step and one that still scares the bejesus out of me every timeI think about it. But we’ll get there. Let me know how you get on!

  11. Go you, it is liberating indeed, driving opens up a whole new world, fingers crossed now you have a lesson behind you you will have the confidence going forward. #SharetheJoy

  12. Yay so glad to hear it went well and you remembered more than you thought you would. Very rightly so that you should feel proud of yourself lady! #PickNMix

  13. Well done for starting them again, I would be nervous learning to drive now too. I hope it goes well for you and you can take and pass your test soon. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix

  14. Good luck with your driving, and well done to you for starting again. That is amazing. I completely understand, driving is scary and you rely not only on yourself, but on everyone else! It still terrifies me! And not to mention the cost, maybe you should just stay car-free forever 😉

  15. Well done lovely on starting again, learning to drive can be a bit scary but you can so do this! Just keep thinking of the difference it will make to your life and independence 🙂 I didn’t realise you had epilepsy, that can’t be easy in the bad patches.

    Stevie x

    • mrssavageangel says:

      Thanks lovely. No I don’t really mention it much. I even forget it’s part of me sometimes except when I get stuck walking in the rain hahaha. Thanks for the encouragement! I can’t wait for the independence it will give me xxx

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