I have put off getting my driver’s license for years. Seven, to be exact. It all started my sophomore year in high school when I took driver’s ed with the rest of my friends. For some reason, the teens in my cushiony suburb preferred going to a place in a questionably location because it was kind of a joke. We went on a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park, so I had to re-schedule my behind-the-wheel. I totally procrastinated setting up a time with the instructor and before I knew it, I had lost the opportunity because the instructor had been arrested for dealing cocaine. Yeah. All of those times he had gone outside to meet with shady-looking guys in the middle of class were starting to make sense.
I didn’t want to have to go through trouble of taking the class again, so I decided to wait until I was eighteen when you are not required to have taken a class. However, life was busy as a high school college-bound senior and my license was just about the last thing on my mind. The years crept slowly by and I still did not have my license. I got a job. I volunteered. I joined a sorority. I wrote term papers. I gave speeches. I committed myself to being healthy. I got a boyfriend. I turned 21. I went to Europe. I graduated. I student taught. It seems like mostly everything in my life was falling into place except for one tiny detail: I had limited mobility!
As independent, mature, and grown-up as I wanted to consider myself over the years, I knew that I could never be any of those things without the ability to drive a car. I got to know public transportation very well over the years and I became well-known for riding my bike everywhere, but sometimes, a car trip is the only thing that’ll get you from point A to point B. I realized that I needed to make getting my license a priority when I found myself biking to work in sub-zero temperatures in Northern Wisconsin and I almost got hit by a car because my break lines were frozen. My hands were so cold that I could barely dial my phone to call my boyfriend for a ride home. I hated the fact that I needed to depend upon someone for a ride.The moment I realized that I truly was not self-sufficient was the moment I realized that I had had enough.
So, today, I finally walked into the DMV to take my driver’s license road test. Unlike the rest of the bright-eyed newly-minted sixteen-year-old driver’s license hopefuls, I waited in line without my mom or dad; I have been a legal adult for five years already, after all. I had all of my documentation in a folder, including a permit I got the day before (I tried to get my license yesterday, but the permit was expired!), proof of auto insurance, and my trusty state ID card. The wait was short. Everyone was friendly. I passed the road test with flying colors and my examiner even told me that I was a “good driver.”
This is such a big deal for me personally. This is THE thing I have been putting off for my entire adult life so far. It is THE thing that my parents have had to nag me about (“Want to go get some driving practice in?”). It is THE thing I have had to explain time and time again (“i just don’t really need one” or “I can’t afford a car, insurance, and gas”). Getting my license means that I am no longer making excuses. I am no longer procrastinating. I am no longer doing more thinking/talking than doing. Even though this may be a small thing for most, this was a huge personal success for me. Also, I’m trying not to hate that my picture is off center and awkward because I’m petite. I’m also trying not to sweat my horrible signature. (How was I supposed to know that particular signature was going to be the one that showed up on my license? Oops!)