Saturday, March 7, 2015

Today is a milestone

Today is a milestone in my journey. Apart from being my sister's birthday (Happy Birthday J!), it's also the day my driver's licence expires. 

I've held my licence since I was 16 and got my Learner's. My first care was this horrendous red Mercedes Benz station wagon that fit seven people, two backwards in the boot. It was our old family car and I think my parents gave it to me so they could keep track of where I was, because everybody knew the car and would report back to my Dad who would then phone me and ask where I was. Busted! Apart from it's hideousness, it was a sturdy, solid beast and kept everyone safe.

My second car was, once again, a dump. My Dad being a mechanic was always picking up old cars no-one wanted. This lead to my inheritance of an old blue Mitsubishi Lancer. The catch was that this car was manual, and I only knew how to drive automatic. I've never felt more uncoordinated in my life learning to drive manual. I stalled the car (not exaggerating at all) over 10 times at one intersection! Luckily, I finally got the hang of it and turned into the manual queen! 

My little Lancer got me to and from uni, and in my final year of uni I landed a full-time job and my first real income. My first purchase was a brand spanking new silver Mazda 2. She was my baby, my first really large purchase. It was only a few months after I bought my baby that I started having vision problems and was diagnosed with Stargardt's. What a slap in the face. 

I was told at that time I shouldn't be driving at all, but I'm NOT proud to say I continued to drive, only short distances and not on freeways. I know I shouldn't have but letting go was ridiculously hard. I wasn't coping with all the emotions of this diagnosis and this was another blow. 

As my vision deteriorated I knew I had to stop. That was a huge decision and something that caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. I've written about that experience previously. This was also when I decided to sell my car. It was a contributor to my rock bottom.

Even though I haven't driven for about a year, today still is a big deal. I've known this day was coming and it was always a black day in my mind. It feels as though it is now final, done, can't be changed and set in concrete. There's no chance I could renew my licence. It's almost as if I had hoped a miracle would occur and I would improve. I never lose faith until the day has passed! 

To be honest, I don't feel as bad as I thought I would. I thought I'd be feeling anxious and like my control is being taken away. Part of this lesser feeling is probably due to not having driven in a while, I essentially weaned myself of driving, then the idea of driving. I've really surprised myself and I'm surprised in my strength and positivity. 

I still hate public transport and will continue to avoid it (chauffeur wanted, enquire within!). This just gives me more motivation to succeed and bring about change for others. I want everyone else to know that it DOES get easier. I'm not going to lie and say it's a walk in the park and I don't have days when I just want to cry, but overall my outlook has changed and my drive just keeps increasing. 

It's hard to let go, but do it slowly if you can. It always looks worse when you are looking into the future, but once you're there, it's not so bad. Then when you look back, you think 'wow, I did well' and can feel proud and push yourself further. 

Stay positive and never, ever give up!

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