I believe I’ll never be too old to learn. For the last few months, I have been learning to drive. In fact, I’m learning on a manual transmission, working hard at coordinating the shift pedal and clutch at the magic RPM moment. Little does it matter to me that I will turn forty-five in a few weeks. At least I’m on track to get my license before my son gets his.
As you can probably guess, I’m not a big risk taker. The thought of maneuvering a couple of tons of metal on four wheels always sort of freaked me out a little bit. But recently I began to realize that by not driving, I was holding myself back in the all-important evolution of my womanhood.
Naturally, my husband is thrilled at the thought of not being the only driver in the house, so he gladly takes me out for lessons several hours each week. I’m sure I’ve put in more than a hundred hours of driving time, much more than is required of me, but I figure a little extra practice won’t hurt.
I tasted my mid-life crisis last year and watched my nest prematurely empty itself after my youngest turned fifteen and began carving out a social life for himself. I didn’t like how I felt: washed up and withering, old before my time. Since I ended up with plenty of “me” time, much more than I’d ever really wanted, I decided to become re-engaged with myself, my wants, my desires. I learned how to write a memoir, took a cake-decorating class and taught myself how to knit. This fall, I’m enrolled in a web-writing class at the university where I work so I can learn how to create my own website.
Now that I have tapped into the adult keg of knowledge, I thirst for more, and I am its diligent pupil, teaching myself when I can, relying on the expertise of others when necessary.
I’m still working on becoming one with the car, but I’ve come a long way since the early days when I’d drive around (and around and around) the complex of Madonna Manor and its school, nursing home and convent. I rarely stall the car or miss a gear, and I stopped aiming it a long time ago, much to my husband’s delight.
Sometime in August, I believe I will walk in the front door of the DMV and walk out with a license. In the meantime, please don’t honk your horn when I mess up or grow impatient with me for driving the speed limit. After all, I’m still a student driver.
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