22. Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.
I’m not the most experienced driver. A little over a year ago I was still bumming rides off of friends, and made every excuse to keep from getting behind the wheel. It took two tries and an intense argument with my parents in order for me to get a license. I’m always a little on edge while driving, but the first time I was really scared was a week after passing my test when driving back to school. Luckily, my mother was in the passenger seat. She wasn’t completely comfortable with her newly licensed twenty-one year old driving over 1,000 miles alone, and in a car under her name.
We were somewhere in Indiana when a torrential down pour fell from the sky, “WHAT DO I DO!?” I yelled from the driver’s seat with my body completely against the steering wheel. “Just keep driving,” my mom told me calmly. Oh yeah, just keep driving. “But I can’t see anything!” “Just go very slowly. You’ll be fine.” I thought I was going to break down in tears because there is nothing scarier then operating heavy machinery while also being unable to see in front of you. I turned down my mother’s offer to take over but I don’t think my hands relaxed their grip on the steering wheel until we reached the next state.
There is a quote that says, “you can only see as far as your headlights, but you make the whole trip that way.” I’ve tried to remind myself of this quote when being in the car by myself during less than ideal weather conditions. It never seems to have the effect that I want because who wants to drive that way? We would rather all sit inside our house instead of being on the road with other terrified people who can’t handle the conditions.
This is where the post gets deep: Life is kind of like driving. Driving through rain storms with no map. I’ve always envied those who seemed to have already had a road map planned out, but most people are like me. Individuals with no set plan and who are terrified being behind the wheel. I’ve learned to laugh at those with a set direction because in due time they will hit a detour and be confused just like the rest of us.
More than ever I really feel that I’m at a point in my life with the headlights on, and maybe just one because the other got smashed some how. I have no idea what is before me, and that is terrifying and also super frustrating. But what are my options? The only thing I could do is stop or go backwards, and I would be pursuing those options out of fear. Fear is what kept me from getting behind the wheel for years and it’s what threatens to keep me and so many others from pursuing what they truly want out of life.
You like to think you have control, but life is completely unpredictable and sometimes it takes hitting a deer or driving into a storm to realize that. But when that happens the only thing to do is push forward, and to never let accidents or mistakes get the best of you. If you’re smart you’ll find a good navigator to sit by your side. Someone to calm your nerves when you have no idea where you’re going. The next step is to have a killer soundtrack, and to always remember to take pit stops for junk food. And while yes, the fees for gas and tolls are outrageous it is still a thrill to be in the driver’s seat. Never forget that.