When I was 17 I was so excited because I could learn to drive. Neither my Mum or Dad can drive so I was determined to be the one who could. I got my provisional license as soon as I was able to and started lessons. I couldn’t wait to have my own car and to have all of this independence to go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out that way. My driving instructor turned out to be quite horrible and we didn’t get on very well. He shouted at me for doing something wrong during one lesson and I couldn’t get over it. I made excuse after excuse each week when it came time for my lesson and I never had one since.
Looking back, I really wish I hadn’t let him bother me so much. I wish I had been the kind of person I am now. Now, I wouldn’t have taken his shit for 1 second and I would have called him out on it. Or, I would have just said ‘look, either don’t shout at me or I’ll go elsewhere’. Why didn’t I do that? Instead, I let him get the better of me and now I’m worse off for it.
I was quite lucky that I lived in places where I didn’t need to drive for such a long time. Grimsby is easy enough to get around by bus, Nottingham I wouldn’t have been able to park anywhere and Toronto had fantastic transport options. However, then I met my now husband and we live in a small town in Norfolk. The buses are terrible and don’t run very late, especially on a Sunday! The trains are once an hour and because we live in the middle of Norwich and Cromer, they can get packed!
I love living in Norfolk and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else now. But, there are so many places that I want to visit, or want to take Erin to, that I just can’t get to because I don’t drive. I feel like now, Erin will miss out because both me and John don’t drive. I already have to say no quite often when friends arrange days out because either I can’t get there without it taking hours, or anxiety about trying to get there kicks in and takes over. I don’t do very well travelling somewhere quite far away without having been there already. I get a bit worried about getting lost or getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.
I’ve now opened a savings account for getting back into driving lessons. I’m desperate for either me or John to start learning in the new year. We both need new provisional licenses though so we’ll sort those out first and then decide who should be the first to learn. In some ways, it would be easier for John to get to work if he had a car and could then drive us anywhere on weekends etc. But, then I also think it would be better for me to drive so I could get places with Erin during the day and I could also take John to work. It’s a hard decision!
Are you in a non-driving family? How do you make it work?