Dear Fall 2016 me, College Freshman me, High School Upperclassman me, and 10 year old me,
Remember when your older brother told you to look at dad and say “Dad, in 6 years I will be driving” even though you didn’t believe it? You were right, you wouldn’t be driving in 6 years.
Remember when you were 16 and everyone around you was growing up, getting cars, racing each other, and dipping their toes into independence? You knew you were a shy, scared teenager. You didn’t need to drive, but you couldn’t understand why the world expected you to do so. How could you see yourself ever behind a wheel?
Remember when you were a freshman in college and you had the freedom of choice but were still bound by the chains of transportation? You could take the bus, but time, schedules, and flat feet limited your options. Kids in high school were getting their license, having the freedom of driving, but you weren’t ready. And not to mention you knew access to a car mixed with your suicidal thoughts were a bad concoction. The freedom to go anywhere you like would also give you the freedom to kill yourself in an instant.
Remember when you got your second permit and were scared, but with the help of driving lessons and Prozac, you gained confidence and the courage to drive? You hated driving. Every time you sat in the seat, you felt the risk of hitting cars and other objects, the possibility of crashing, and the fear of losing control. You could barely change lanes without breathing heavily. Driving anywhere besides school and home felt life threatening.
We did it. We passed on the first try. Mom was so afraid you’d never be able to drive, but you proved her and yourself wrong. You only made 3 errors, one of which was something Mom nagged you about (not creeping forward enough at a stop sign). A week later (yesterday), you got your license in the mail, and you got to see yourself, with your freshly dyed, bright blue and green hair, scared of the unknown driving future that was ahead of you.
But you did it. And now you drive yourself to school, work, stores, and study sessions at Starbucks. You can be with your friends now. You can drive your little brother everywhere.
And to my future driving self, I hope the courage to drive the freeway by yourself comes soon, and the confidence to drive to far away places like Vegas and Little Saigon come sooner.
Welcome to adulthood.