At 16 I didn’t really picture the future, maybe that was the problem.

Steering Wheel.
Steering Wheel. (Photo credit: KirkT)

My oldest daughter has been leaving reminders all over the house that she is old enough to take driver’s education classes now. There are a couple of driving school coupons on my writing desk, a driving school’s schedule on the kitchen counter and even a website bookmarked on my computer. She is eager and ready for that next step towards greater freedom and control.

She and I are alike in many ways, but this is not one of them. I didn’t get my license until I was seventeen, and only because my dad insisted. I had no interest in getting that little plastic card, and it truly had nothing to do with the fact that I knew I wouldn’t be getting my own car. I just didn’t want that much responsibility. Besides, my best friend and boyfriend(s) had licenses.

I remember the first time I drove a car though. It was my senior band buddy’s car after a football game in a quiet little neighborhood. She thought it was ridiculous that at nearly 16, I had never been behind the wheel. I gripped the steering wheel with such force my fingernails dug into my palms. We probably could have walked faster through the neighborhood.

In general, at 16 I didn’t really picture my future, and looking back, I realize that was kind of a problem. It was more than not wanting to drive a car. I didn’t fantasize about graduating, going to college, or even getting married and having a family. I don’t really remember dreaming past anything other than the upcoming weekend. I remember over-analyzing girl drama, stressing about marching band routines, crying over broken hearts and hoping I didn’t get grounded. Again.

I’m sure my Mom would say differently. Her recollection of my childhood can be vastly different – maybe I’ve forgotten that once a upon a time I wanted to be a super model or a brain surgeon – who knows.

Yesterday, a quote caught my attention:

“We are so accustomed to the comforts of “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult” that we forget to realize when we stop doing things for ourselves and expect others to dance around us, we are not achieving greatness. We have made ourselves weak.”
― Pandora Poikilos, Excuse Me, My Brains Have Stepped Out

That is exactly what I did, for years. I got comfortable hearing my voice say “I cannot”, “I do not want to” and “it is too difficult”. I made myself weak.

I am in awe of my oldest daughter’s ability to not only picture herself at 16, but at 18, 23 and beyond. I have no doubt that her vision will change a hundred times, maybe even in the next few months, but at least she is picturing something and not letting fear of getting behind the wheel keep her from driving.

This blog post was inspired by The Daily Prompt

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