There are so many things I am not good at – and one of the biggest things, is not being good at something. I know that sounds kind of redundant but what I mean is that I have this incredible need to be at least reasonably good at something right off the bat. I also am not one of those oh-so-talented people that pick up things immediately. On top of that, I am so afraid to fail that I often avoid trying new things. When I was little, I didn’t even want to learn to ride a bike because I was so worried about how it would look if I couldn’t do it. I would avoid going to friends’ houses who liked to ride bikes because I was embarrassed that I wouldn’t be able to ride with them. But I eventually faced my fears and at 9 years old my dad taught me how to ride my hot pink bike. Of course I wasn’t great at first, but I committed to it, kept practicing and eventually could ‘ride with no hands’ like the best of them.
One of my annual New Year’s resolutions is to try something new each year. No matter how many years pass, there will always be something new for me to try. And if I fail, I need to strive to be okay with that and find happiness in experiencing something new. This is one of those things I’m still working on…
Over the past few years I’ve branched out and tried a few new things: snowboarding, guitar, and more recently…driving. That last one might sound pretty silly to many of you but since moving to Chicago from Southwest Florida seven years ago (I know, I know – what was I thinking?), driving has not only become something I don’t do, it’s become something I fear. I’ve probably driven four times in the past seven years, and all of those times were while visiting friends and family in South Florida – the land of huge lanes, palm tree-lined medians and zero potholes the size of a small child. You get the picture. I also must admit I am not the easiest person to instruct. Given my ‘be amazing immediately’ thought process, I can be defensive, impatient and downright obstinate. I am fortunate enough to have an amazingly patient, pro-driver husband who’s been giving me guidance to prepare me for driving alone in the city. I’ve learned how to avoid hitting pedestrians, aforementioned child-sized potholes, unpredictable cab drivers and crazed Divvy bikers. Yesterday I faced my fear in order to help my husband out and drove through the city traffic and on the interstate. I made it. I survived – car in one piece and all. When I arrived safely at home, I celebrated with an ice cold, well-deserved Hoegaarden on the balcony!
So maybe I am not the world’s greatest driver. That’s okay. With practice and patience, I will get better. After I made it home today, I felt liberated. I felt independent. I gained something that I had lost years ago. That may sound a bit melodramatic – but if you are a self-reliant person who can no longer go where they want when they want, you can understand how I feel.
Speaking of conquering fears, I’m currently wrapping up the perfect post-writing movie: Blue Crush – you know, the one about surfing with Kate Bosworth? Spoiler alert – she totally ‘crushes it’. Get it?! Okay, enough of that. But really, may I have her body too? Please and thanks. Maybe my next ‘big attempt’ should be learning to surf. I realize I don’t have to and never will, be good at everything – but by not trying new things, picking up the old, or facing my fears, I will miss out on a lot that this world has to offer.