If you are learning to drive in your 30’s having left a long gap between when you first learned to drive around age 17 and now, then you’ll understand the slightly daunting thought of having to start from scratch.
I have just started lessons up again and today was my first lesson with my new instructor. I thought this would be a good place to kick off the blog, since it is also going to give you some idea about my personality & what I’ve been up to the last few years and the reason I just stopped learning.
One of the first questions the instructor asked when I got in the car was why did you give up. Fair point, I mean I could have just kept on going until I passed. That was my intention …
But I found it incredibly, incredibly stressful. After the fourth time crying in the car park at the test centre having failed the test my mum said “do you think you should take a break” and that small break turned in to over 10 years!
I moved to London not too long after for uni, stayed up there for work and then worked in different cities across Europe. Life just kind of takes over and then you become the adult who can’t drive and in certain situations, it is really, really annoying.
It also becomes kind of a thing, because you can’t drive but most other people can, so it seems as if there is something wrong with you because you can’t. People think you are incapable. I’m not incapable, but I am a nervous driver!
I think as you get older, not having had the experience you become even more nervous because today I was very nervous. However, I managed to handle the car fine & even managed to say a couple of words such as “this is a lovely road”. Literally, that was about all the conversation the instructor got since I was focusing on all the other things you have to think about.
One thing I don’t have to think about is gears since I am learning this time in an automatic. It’s just one less thing to worry about isn’t it, I mean, it’s hard enough doing everything else let alone worrying which gear your supposed to be in and then stalling the car when you get it wrong.
Make it as easy as possible for myself is my new mantra in driving and in life. When you are quite a nervous person, quite a lot of your energy goes into your nerves, its annoying but reality so you just have to make everything 10x easier to compensate.
I’m not saying don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone if you are a nervous person. That’s totally different. Yes, you can push yourself out of your comfort zone but do it with love and ease, try not to force yourself to do something that is going to jolt your nervous system and take you out of your centre. Slowly does it! Or at least, that is how I have adjusted how I behave in the world and it fits me much better.
In the end, I wasn’t too nervous about driving. We only drove for about 20 minutes and I got up to 40mph several times and didn’t have an issue with the speed. The steering seemed okay although the instructor kept reaching across for the wheel which made me think she wasn’t entirely confident I wasn’t just going to steer us into a bush. But, we got through the first lesson with no issues!
Learning to drive again in your 30’s is different though. I think in terms of getting along with your instructor it’s probably better since you have much better awareness about yourself and other people so that’s good.
But I think it is harder to take in the information as quickly, having been through an hour’s worth of new info my brain does feel like it needs a little rest.
I’d love to hear in the comments if you have any tips for me, or if you’ve had similar experiences as a nervous driver or re-learning again later in life!