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Eagerness to drive was always a big thing for most kids in High School. Many conversations centered around it and when everyone was going to get their licence and gain their freedom.
I wasn’t interested. It wasn’t something I felt I needed. And to be honest, the thought of getting behind the wheel of a car terrified me.
What seemed like such an exciting time for everyone else just filled me with dread.
I already felt so different from everyone else and this just seemed like another thing that alienated me even further.
Because High School was always a difficult time for me.
Why I don’t drive
What I didn’t know at the time is that I had anxiety. Things that other people had no problems with were things that I struggled with. If I had known, it may have made me understand a bit better why I felt so different and maybe I wouldn’t have emotionally distanced myself so much.
It might have made my time at High School that little bit easier.
And maybe I would have been a bit more eager to get my licence. Just like everyone else.
But driving has always been something that terrified me. Sometimes just being in a car was hard enough. When I was younger I used to always take a book with me and had my nose in it pretty much the whole time.
I’m not sure exactly what it was. I’ve always hated crowds, so maybe it was being surrounded by cars, people being impatient and beeping and near misses and seeing accidents. Maybe it was just all a bit much to take.
Then, when I was eight, I was in a car accident because someone ran a red light. It was a three car pileup, and I guess it affected me more than anyone realised. No one was seriously hurt, but at that age it was easy to see how little control you have over other people’s actions. I said to myself I would never drive a car.
So back when my High School friends were making plans to get their licenses, I wasn’t interested.
I didn’t need my licence then. Everywhere I needed to get to was fairly close and my parents drove me most places anyway. And if I did go somewhere with my friends, which wasn’t often, they drove anyway.
It was always hard to explain to people why I didn’t have my licence. I knew no one would understand how terrifying it was for me. The thought of being out there made my heart race and my head thump. I felt like a freak. Nobody else felt like it. Why did I?
As the years went on, it felt more embarrassing that I didn’t drive. I hated telling people because it felt like a guilty little secret. Something to be ashamed of.
And while it was something that I didn’t need for so long, as I got older and had kids, I’m now finding it more and more difficult without it. I’ve been managing okay. But I feel bad when it’s scorching hot or pouring with rain and I have to get my son to school or they miss out on something because I can’t get them there.
The thought or driving still terrifies me to some degree, but nowhere near as much as it used to. I’ve been learning to control my anxiety over the years, but I know it is still there.
I know at some point I will have to get my licence.
I can’t keep letting fear and anxiety rule my life.
My Learner’s Permit
A few years ago I actually got my Learner’s Permit.
Even though I virtually had no sleep the night before, my husband took me to take the test for my L’s. I got a perfect score. Downside was I found out I definitely had to wear glasses while driving. That was just an extra pain.
I had a couple lessons and that was it. For several reasons, the main one being I wasn’t getting much sleep so didn’t think trying to drive was a good idea. I didn’t really have anyone to take me for lessons and I wasn’t up for trying to drive with a stranger.
My L’s has since lapsed. I still have to go in to renew it.
But this time I am more determined to get my licence. Because it is starting to become something I need.
And I need to do it for my kids. They are my biggest motivation.
It’s funny, I always thought there was something wrong with me. Like I was an odd one out. The only one who didn’t want to drive and get their licence as soon as they could. But I’m finding it isn’t as uncommon as I once thought.
So that makes me feel a bit better.
Have you avoided getting your driver’s licence?