The parallel between entering adulthood and learning how to drive

Getting my driver’s license was the biggest task I’ve ever put off. I got my license this year after starting the process in my sophomore year of high school, which means it took me a tedious three years when it should have taken one. I know it’s shameful. Basically, I took a two-year break in the middle of the process because I was repelled by the thought of driving. Not only was I scared to get behind the wheel, but I was incredibly excited just thinking about taking the driving test. So I pushed it out of my head until I finally had to force myself to get it over with as it was too awkward to get seats. It’s not that I’m a bad driver, but there’s something about being in control of an entire moving vehicle that scares me. If you think about it, driving requires an incredible amount of self-control, awareness and responsibility. Everyone on the road and your own passengers depend on you. Having so much power was something I couldn’t accept. For one thing, I was only 14 when I started learning to drive. At the time, I thought I was an adult, an idea I laugh at today. Driving was the biggest responsibility I had, and while it’s definitely a nerve-wracking task, I didn’t realize it would become outdated compared to anything that was thrown at me as I got older.

In a way, I equate responsibility with aging, as does driving. It’s not like getting a driver’s license made me feel significantly older, but I saw a parallel in it with getting older because it was one of my first milestones. It was my first recognition from society that I slowly left my childhood. I quickly learned that this wouldn’t be my last turbulent introduction to adulthood: Flying alone on a plane, graduating from high school, and leaving my hometown (and the only city I’ve ever lived in) are a few Examples where it felt like society was acknowledging me as an adult – no longer accepting the excuse of being young and naive. And even though I’m older now, growing up is still a concept I couldn’t embrace.

Things have changed since I was 14. Back then, honestly, all I ever really focused on was myself. All my problems seemed to be end of the world, and I felt like everything around me had a direct impact on my life. Yes, I was selfish. And I know I’m still very young, but at least my illusion that the world revolves around me is shattered. I know I no longer have the confidence to make everyone my friend like I did in preschool. Sometimes I feel like I’m more aware of how I think others perceive me than how I see my own identity. I have experienced feelings I didn’t even know existed when I was a child: sadness, fear and loneliness. Getting older makes me less sad than frustrated. I can’t seem to deal with the fact that aging is inevitable and I’m not sure how to let go of my youth because I seem to find a new reason every day why it was the best time of my life. I am fortunate to have fond memories of my childhood. My days consisted of competing to see who could climb the highest swing set during recess, playing outside with my neighbors every day, going to the park or the library with my dad and counting down the days until I mean Christmas every year visiting cousins. You don’t realize that time is passing when none of the neighborhood kids come out to play after school, when you start worrying about how you dress or how many friends you have, or when you’re too busy to going to the library with your father on the weekends. You enjoy living in the knowledge that you are young and virtually invincible. You live in the bliss of ignorance that you are shielded, that you haven’t really experienced much of anything, and that your youth should be cherished.

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