So, this may come as a surprise to some of you but I actually have passed my driving test and possess a full, clean licence (others will just be wondering….HOW 😉). If you knew me when I was a driver, between the ages of 19-24, then it would be in Chris’ car ( which he used to lend me) and was very similar to the one below. The only happy memory of driving I have was in this car, going to college with the window down, Tears for Fears blaring on the cassette and beating everyone off the lights.
The other, more numerous, memories are not so great, not feeling in control, nervousness every time I got in the car, flooding the engine, driving AND reversing over the front spoiler…I could go on!! My excuses were that my mum and my mother-in-law did not drive and, being ‘old school’ my Dad was not that helpful…no extra practice in his car and then refusing to get in a car with me as driver, even after I passed ( I guess he had his reasons) , not having my own car…..again, I could go on. Basically though I was not a good driver. I remember clearly the day I ‘stopped’ driving; I had just had Matt and was off to visit a friend and within minutes the car broke down in the middle of Hartnup Street in Maidstone, where we lived, and some kind passers by pushed me off the road to safety. I felt so vulnerable and that was it – no more driving!!
I wont lie, I have tried having lessons once since then, very unsuccessfully, but felt that I owe it to Chris (who has been absolutely brilliant about my non driving status, as have my children) to try again, especially now we live more rural and it’s a 40 minute walk home from the pub. So this is how my 50@50 Challenge came about; firstly to have a driving lesson with the aim then of driving Chris home from the pub. I rang Julie, a local driving instructor and she has been brilliant…so calm, reassuring and she had me off through Tenterden on my first lesson, then through the outskirts of Ashford and she built up my confidence.
I then was put on our car’s insurance (not the Jag…and how ironic…the price went down by adding me…I am still chuckling over this). I summoned the courage, which equates to Chris telling me I had to, and drove into the village, phew we made it. Then, finally came the evening when Chris had 4 pints and it was my moment of truth. He did an unusual amount of talking on the way home and my face shows I think how much I have to concentrate and how nervous I still am. But, we did it🚙🚙🚙. If it had not been for these 50@50 challenges, and casually reading how you are more likely to be successful at tasks if your age ends in a 9, I know I would never have even attempted driving again.
Am I ready for other passengers – No
Do I enjoy it – No
Will I go further than the village – Probably not
Am I going to keep trying – Yes (if Chris wants me to)
Am I pleased I tried – I AM THRILLED!!!!