Long have I waited for this moment; I am a fully licensed driver at last!
It took 18 months from my hubby dragging me to my first driving lesson to my first independent drive. I know it is a very long time, as some of my friends passed their driving test after less than 10 hours of lessons. How many hours of lessons did I need? Somewhere between 30 and 50 is my guess. Oh and I took 3 driving tests.
For the past 18 months, I had to face quite a lot of challenges: small, big, and critical ones.
Finding the motivation was the first challenge.
I was pretty happy not being able to drive. I didnt find it particularly inconvenient either as I never had that convenience before. So it was very difficult to find a reason to try; my hubby did find a few reasons though.
Being able to drive means you have more independence, especially if you live in a countryside.
The public transport is very limited around where I live, and I only have a 4 hour window a day to go out because of my lovely puppy. Hence, I needed my hubby for the weekly grocery shops, hospital appointments, vet appointments and so on.
Talking about how difficult it is for me to do all the businesses without his help, Dan, my dear husband, also suggested it would be even more difficult when we have a child. Fair enough, I agreed. So I booked, no actually, Dan booked a driving lesson for me.
Tripping over the trauma
The first 15 lessons, if not more, were an intense mental fight against my trauma.
I got hit by a lorry in the past; so driving in front of, next to, behind a lorry was a incredibly terrifying. I screamed a few times, and prayed many many times. Aggressive drivers got my nerves too, of course.
I still do not feel completely comfortable driving around those cars, but at least I don’t get any panic attack anymore. Progress!
Walking over my own failure
I found it so hard when I made mistakes during the lessons. Roundabouts, junctions, meets, gears and mirrors… The message “People make mistakes all the time” took a while to properly sink in, but eventually I understood it and learnt to embrace my mistakes.
However, failing the driving test was something else. It is a not a mistake, it is FAIL.
I don’t like taking tests in general; I become super anxious and a little overwlemed by the pressure, especially when I want a perfect score. That’s probably most time.
The first test was horrendous. “Unfortunately, you weren’t successful.” I was very upset and angry, because I thought I could pass! The second test was booked straight away.
The second test was better, but I made the same major mistake. This time again, I thought I could pass so was very disheartened. I also felt ashamed.
Failing once is acceptable, but twice?! My confidence was knocked down. Oh gosh, maybe I am not supposed to drive.
Though I still had courage to book another one later that month.
Relatable stories as encouragements
Everytime I failed, lots of people gave me a piece of advice. Some helped, and some didn’t.
Advices that didn’t help me at all were like, “Go for a drive lots, get used to the roads”. I had been driving for the past 18 months, I knew why I failed and how I could improve. I know they gave me adives because they cared, but good intensions do not always come across as good deeds.
It gave me more encouragement when I talked to people who had failed their driving test(s) in the past. “Don’t worry, I took 3 times too.” “That’s ok, most people fail at least once.” “Someone I know took 5 times.”
I have to mention, Dan encouraged me more than anyone in this and he was the one who had closely wathed me progress in my driving. So his words were empowering. “It’s ok, just keep going until you pass.” “I believe in you.” “You will get it next time.”
“You are a good driver.”
After a number of drivng lessons and practices, and 3 driving tests, now I am an independent, fully licensed, driver.
I am glad to finally have closed this 18-month long chapter and opened a new one.
If you have failed your driving test(s), and are disheartened by it… I do understand how you feel… it’s horrible! But remember, you are a good driver. Keep going until you get it. You will get it.