Saturday, March 22, 2014

Overcoming Fear and Lucky Ladybugs

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

The other day, I brought some trash and recycling to the dump - about ten minutes from home. There isn't anything unusual about that for the average person but it was a first for me. I'd been to the dump several times before. And I've tossed trash and sorted the recyclables before. So how was this a first?

Well to tell you that, I have to confess something that has always embarrassed me. Something that just about everyone else does daily and without much effort or difficulty. Something that most people at this stage in my life have been doing for over forty years. Something that I've managed to get by without but have always wished I had accomplished like everyone else.

I never learned to drive.

Gasp! Shock! Oh my! Yep, I can hear the collective surprise in your reading voices.

I lived in cities for most of my life and it's rather easy to get around them by bus, so it was just as easy for me to put aside thoughts of learning to drive. At first, it was just as convenient to not be driving. After a while it became a habit. Before I knew it, it had become a fear. I didn't think I could do it.

But up here in the country, life is a bit different. No, it's a lot different. The closest town is about fifteen minutes away and the closest grocery store is more like a twenty minute drive. Things I'd like to explore with my camera are all over the place but very few are within walking distance. I want to be able to do all of those things and more on my own, so a month after I moved here, I began driving lessons.

Let's back up a bit. I started driving lessons almost two years ago - with Frank. He frequently took me around the lakeshore road near his home but it would seem that my progress was .. slow. I appreciate all of the time and patience he put into helping me but I simply wasn't getting anywhere fast. Once I arrived here and December rolled around, I knew I needed to accelerate those lessons (so to speak) and I hooked up with the only available driving instructor in town - 24 year old Jasmine with whom I immediately clicked. I also discovered that I was far more comfortable driving her car than Frank's so my confidence began to build.

Weather has been bad this winter and so some lessons had to be postponed. Jasmine's time was also limited as she is a supply teacher at the high school during the week and a swimming teacher on Saturdays. She squeezed me in whenever she could and I had several hours of instruction throughout the winter months.

So back to the dump. It was a first for me because that was my premier solo drive after obtaining my license* on Wednesday.

So, I'm still kind of embarrassed to say that that at this stage in my life, I'm only beginning to take my place in the driver's seat but at the same time, I'm kind of proud that at 58, I've finally accomplished this and overcome the fear I've carried around with me for so many decades. That feels rather liberating.

I have no photos with which to document the day - it was only a trip to the dump, after all. So I'll just post a few that I had already planned to share.

* The province of Ontario has a graduated license system and this G2 document grants me nearly all driving privileges after being tested on basic driving manoeuvres. The full G license can be obtained after being tested on more advanced driving skills in one year.

* * *

Below are a few photos of one of our little red guests who have wintered over at our place.

ladybug on sink2
This little one was making its way along the edge of the kitchen sink. You can see some of the scratches etched into the aluminum from scouring.




ladybug on sink
It appeared to be drawn toward the pretty aqua reflection from the hand soap.




ladybug on coffee maker3
Another one watched on from the top of the coffee maker. You'd think we are infested with them. We kind of were in October but not any more. We just have a few holdouts. 




ladybug on handsoap
It seems to be an overwhelming task to climb all the way to the top of the bottle but by putting one foot in front of the other, this determined little ladybug will make it.




ladybug on handsoap3
It's a long, colourful climb.





ladybug on handsoap4
And before she knew it, the ladybug was circling the dispenser.





ladybug on handsoap5
And safely made its way down again. I feel a bit of a kinship with this wee critter.

More photos coming up soonish.

72 comments:

Indrani said...

Glad you are on your own in the car now. :)
Absolutely fantastic captures of ladybug, I am more impressed by your patience to capture it.

ADRIAN said...

Congratulations. That is a real achievement. I could drive fifty years ago though not legally. Do your police still have big hats and ride horses? Ours don't they hide in vans with speed cameras. Very annoying they are.

Bob Bushell said...

Good for you. And the Ladybird, [hee hee, that's what we call them over here], a sheer climber.

Gary's third pottery blog said...

HEY, how awesome, good for YOU! Maybe I'll get around to learning French...or Spanish or Latin by the time I am 58 myself ;) AWESOME wee ladybug!

Andy said...

With a driver's licence and a car comes freedom. That means you will be out and about photographing your usual fantastic shots.

Brian Miller said...

hey good on you learning to drive...i am proud of you no matter what age...i have taught quite a few boys how to drive...and one day i will teach my own boys...

cool lady bug....hopefully he doesnt throw a party in our house this year...smiles...

Tabor said...

Lovely photos of that little insect world. You have met a very important goal, more so because of your age. You should get up and dance around the kitchen table! Now you must drive as much as you can EVERYWHERE. That is the only way to become good at it. I know other people who have not been able to drive much and fear it...do not be one of those.

Im A Chickadeegirl said...

Loved your blog about learning to drive. I felt excited for you as I read about your journey into conquering fear. Way to go. The quote at the beginning of your post is SO true. Onward and upward! Great shots!

joeh said...

I.ve known lots of "City Kids" who never need to learn to drive.

It seems that driving is a bit like learning a new language, it is harder to pick up as you get a little older, but if you are forced to do it, you will be fine.

A Cuban In London said...

Those images are amazing. Really beautiful. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

DJan said...

Congratulations on getting your driver's license. I got mine at sixteen and then for two decades I had no car and only rode a bicycle. But then I got older, and now I drive several times a week, and it's familiar. I also love the pretty ladybug pictures. I hope you have a great weekend out there in the beautiful countryside.

Anvilcloud said...

You should be proud of yourself. I think learning to drive at 58 is an awesome accomplishment. However, the second half of your post really bugs me for some reason.

The Furry Gnome said...

Great going! Whatever our goals, you have to keep growing and trying new things. And we have the ladybugs to...

Mage said...

Bravo and hurrah. This is a huge accomplishment. Huge. You and your camera will be liberated, and the world is open to you. I so understand.

TexWisGirl said...

CONGRATULATIONS, hilary!!! awesome for you!!! yes, driving is a necessity in the country!

just awesome. my mother learned to drive and got her license at about age 50. i was so proud of her, then, too. i got mine just a few years later at 16. :)

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Congratulations, my friend! I'm so excited for you. Such freedom awaits one who can drive. Such photo opportunities. We'll all be the beneficiaries of this achievement. Great macro shots of the ladybug's climb.

messymimi said...

Happy Dance for you overcoming your fear and passing that test! Don't feel embarrassed, you didn't need a license before, so you didn't bother. There's nothing wrong with that.

Beautiful picts of the ladybugs.

June said...

Well, I just think it's great that you learned to drive. A friend of mine was in her late 30s when she began to drive. She was a nervous wreck for a while, but now she can't imagine not being able to go where and when she wants!
Ladybugs. I wonder why we all think they're so cute. They are, of course, but I bet we think they're cuter because of the early VW ads. (We just started watching Mad Men.)

ellen abbott said...

see? not so hard or scary.

Scott said...

Well good for you. I'm sure you will soon be an "old hand" at it and it will be as comfortable as walking to you. Love your lady bug shots. For some reason shots of lady bugs have eluded me. When I see one I race for my camera and by the time I get back she is gone. These are great.

lindaakacraftygardener said...

Good for you for learning to drive. It is something that is needed when living in a small community. Great series of ladybug photos.

yaya said...

You're an inspiration...it's never too late to learn a new trick or overcome a fear. So glad you did it! I still remember the very first time I drove alone..it's a very liberating feeling! Love the lady bug pics!

Leah J. Utas said...

Congratulations on the driving. Go you! As long as you breathe you have the opportunity to learn something.
Great ladybug pics.

Barb said...

Hilary, I just finished a book, Some Nerve: Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave by Patty Chang Anker - she talks about driving as a common fear. (She is a good writer - accessible and witty in style.) Good for you! I didn't drive until I was a Junior in college, and I thought that was late! Wish I had just 1 or 2 of your ladybugs to watch. Your photos are irresistible!

Rita said...

I didn't learn to drive until I was 30, so I was a late bloomer, too. What's hard is after you get used to driving and then have no car. That takes a while to get used to. I didn't miss what I didn't know--LOL! ;)

Love your ladybugs. We always thought they were good luck and you were never supposed to kill them, so if I had any inside for the winter...they'd be there till they died of natural causes...or becoming cat-lunch. ;)

Rob-bear said...

Great that you're learning to drive! Not quite ready for the Formula One race track yet, but well done on the G2.

And your curiosity-filled ladybug had quite the excursion. Which you documented delightfully.

Blessings and Bear hugs!

Red said...

Congratulations on getting your driver's license. Now a few pictures of the garbage dump would have been interesting. Yes, you can cover more territory out there to do photography.

Stephen Hayes said...

Now you've achieved something famed SciFi writer Ray Bradbury never did---you can drive. And I've always thought of Lady Bugs as good luck. Love the photos.

Linda Wildenstein said...

Hey, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. I have known several folks who like you always lived in a big city with mass transit and who needs the headache of owning a car if you don't need to. Congratulations on your bravery and your ability. Yeah for you.

Linda Wildenstein said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rosaria williams said...

Brava! This is a major accomplishment and goes to show that if we must learn something, we will. I am attempting to learn to play the fiddle, not an easy task when everything hurts.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Congratulations on the driving. I think you should hold your head high and be very proud of that accomplishment. Many people simply will not try something like that once they reach a certain age. I have a dear friend whip has hr driver's license but has not been behind the wheel in 20 or more years.She amy as well quit pitting the money into this,as I see it.

Barbara Shallue said...

Congratulations, Hilary! I think it is awesome that you took this on. That old saying about "the hardest part is getting started" is true, isn't it? My youngest is kind of in the same position, although she's only 22. She actually learned, but then didn't have a car or a need for the past four years or so, and add that to a semi-serious accident when she was home for winter break one year, and she's now developed the fear. Wish us luck! Love your ladybug photos. I need that kind of determination and steady momentum myself!

Birdie said...

I am so proud of you! Driving is a real fear for a lot of people. Good for you. xo

Hilary said...

Way to go. I knew you could do it.
You're Hilary, after all.

Out on the prairie said...

Had a sis who refused to drive, commercial transport is nice to have.

Cloudia said...

that Long Colorful Climb you take us along! How wonderful, dear H.

Read the road up ahead. Most drivers read only the bumper in front of them. I've avoided bumps that the guy in front of me didn;t see yet.
In a relaxed way, be present. Pay attention. look behind from time to time, anticipate where side streets and drives are. Go at you pace, within the flow of traffic. Do not clog up the far left "passing lane" slow down a bit at night and in "weather"

I would ride with you ANYTIME!


ALOHA from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

=^..^= <3

Linda said...

Congratulations on learning to drive! I used to live in the city and did not get my driver's license until I realized my daughters were about to get theirs! Couldn't let them get ahead of me! But even then my first car broke down - it was a real clunker! Several years passed before I got another one. Just didn't need to drive when I could walk to the grocery and take a bus or cab everywhere else.

Joanna Jenkins said...

High Five on getting your driver's license, Hilary. I take my hat off to you.

I was "forced" to get my license when I was 20 years old and my mother refused to be my personal chauffeur any longer. I was scared to death and swear I only passed the exam because it was pouring rain and I could go 10 mph. But eventually I got the hang of it.

I can totally understand not wanting to drive and using public transportation instead. When I lived in San Francisco I think I put about 500 miles on my car in the 2 years I lived there.

Safe travels! xo jj

Merisi said...

What a way to dump old fears and what an accomplishment! Congratulations, I am so happy for you to have achieved the freedom to move around in the countryside. Very, very, very brave! May you always have a safe drive!

Love the ladybug pictures, they are so beautiful and so endearing!

Best wishes,
Merisi

ladyfi said...

Congrats on getting your driving license!

Great shots of the ladybirds!

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

We had an infestation of the gorgeous little critters a few years ago. Now it's just stink bugs on parade all year long. I'd rather have cute lady bugs.

Wonderful photography! Just gorgeous!

Glo said...

That's the way to go, Hilary (especially when you are off a bus route ;))

Enjoyed the beetle bottle trip!

Lisa Gordon said...

You have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, Hilary! although I have had my license for many years, I would never have bothered to get it, had I not absolutely had to do so. I quite enjoy walking to wherever I have to go, and that works well in a large city, but outside of the city, it is almost a necessity.

Once again, congratulations!! You have much to be proud of. :-)

Maggie May said...

Congratulations on passing your test! I should think living in the country, you'll really be glad of a car. Glad you overcame your fear.
We don't drive now but have the city buses and our bus passes for the elderly!

Lovely little lady bird (as we call them!)
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Grayquill said...

I loved your story – Congratulations. We won’t talk about my fears today as this your blog :-)
Blogs where the writer pretends to be better than they are are boring.
Thanks, I'm proud of you!
BTW - SWEET lady bug

Slamdunk said...

Congrats on the DL--it is certainly an added dimension to freedom.

Funny that you chose a ladybug as the kids found one while jumping on the neighbor's trampoline and were making a big deal about that spring must really be here. Not so fast though, rain and snow mix on the schedule for this week. Yuck.

Gayle said...

What a GRAND adventure! Good for you. I have been driving since I was 14 (not legally, just in and around our orange grove) and still absolutely LOVE driving. Go places that make it fun!!

Love the sweet ladybugs. Fun Fotos!!

Pat - Arkansas said...

You GO, girl! Congratulations on conquering your hesitations about driving.
Love, love, love the ladybug shots!

Daryl said...

mazel tov! here in the states one takes a written test - simply true or false questions they even give you a book to read a book the questions will be drawn from - then once you pass, you get a learner's permit so you can take lessons and practice ... when you feel you are ready or before the permit expires (i forget how long it lasts) you take a driver exam wherein you get into a car with an inspector .. perform some basic moves including parallel parking and then you get your license .. i think a year between beginner and 'pro' is a lot better ... i am sure you will be a fine driver .. i remember my first solo .. i drove around the block .. LOL .. and was nervous the whole time

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

How very wonderful!!!!!
No embarrassment is needed. You do what you need and what you want.
We've gone down to one car in retirement. It changes life some.
Love the ladybugs!!!
(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario !

Gail Dixon said...

Hilary, congratulations!!! What an amazing accomplishment. We both had accomplishments recently: I finally learned how to operate a kayak and though I was deathly afraid, the desire to learn this skill was more powerful than the fear. I'd love if our city had good public transportation, but it doesn't, and I find myself behind the wheel of my car, griping and complaining at the other drivers until I reach my destination. I remember when I first learned to drive, I was so elated and felt so free that not even idiotic drivers could spoil that feeling. Enjoy the newness and your newfound freedom. So proud and happy for you!

Awesome shots of the ladybugs!!

Linda said...

Hilary, congratulations on your accomplishment. Truly I had no idea! I admire you for getting out there and doing what it takes to get yourself driving. There is so much to see, and I know you don't want to miss out on any of it. My Mom didn't drive until I was about 3 years old. Spring will be a beautiful time to go exploring with your new license.

Friko said...

Congratulations! double and triple congratulations.
Everything is easy at 16 (it was 18 in Germany) but once the fifty mark has passed new things are harder to master.

I wish you many happy and confident hours of driving.

Fernando Santos (Chana) said...

Excelentes macros....
Cumprimentos

Bimbimbie said...

Congrats on overcoming your driving fears Hillary, I didn't get mine until it was a case of having to in my mid thirties - and I must admit to still preferring to be a passenger at times.

Cute ladybird adventure*!*

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

Wow, good for you Smitten! My son is 18. I had to force him to get his permit. My friends tell me their kids aren't that excited to drive, either. I wonder why. Anyway, anything that allows you to get out and take more photos, I'm completely in favor of.

Lady Lilith said...

Your little friend seems to be having fun.

What Karen Sees said...

Ditto to all the above. Congratulations!!! And a good reminder that something many of us take for granted, is not as easy for others. I think you will soon discover what I call the 'microwave' theory, (but today it could be called the computer theory or the cell phone theory). You really don't miss what you've never had until you finally have it and then you can't imagine how you lived without it for years! Once you feel comfortable driving, you will love the freedom you will have to come and go as you please, not wait on anyone else's schedule, etc. And best of all, if you get the urge to go out on a photo shoot, you can take yourself anywhere you want and at any time...(within reason of course.) P.S. Love your little red and black spotted friends.

munchow said...

I think it says a lot about our societies that you have to excuse yourself for not having acquired the driving license before; how depended we all have become in getting around in a car. Which I think is a little sad, not the least with the climate changes in mind. Taking public transportation wherever it's possible it's hardly anything that most of us consider. It's just not convenient enough, is it!? Nevertheless I congratulate you with you license and think it sounds appropriate where you are living now. And also congratulations with facing and overcoming the fear. I love that quote by Roosevelt. What she says is so important in many aspects of life if we want to keep growing. Finally your images are great. My favourite is the first one of the ladybug on the blue bottle.

Lynne with an e said...

Ladybugs must be equipped with all-season treads,I'm sure of it. They seem to pop up year round, no matter what the weather. I found one in my bed the other night! Can't blame her for seeking some warmth...although she was stone cold dead by the time I came across her. As for humans driving, well I didn't learn until I was 35, which I thought was terribly old at the time. I must admit that I have never overcome my fear of driving but I just do it anyway, as advised. It's a must, living out in the sticks with no public transit. So you just go ahead an toot your own horn, and be sure to get out of your own way.

Lisa said...

You really made me smile. I live in the country and I know if I could not drive I would not be the same person. Hilary.. Congrats for stepping up to you place. Way to go.. and I love love these images. They are amazing.

Suldog said...

I'm proud of you! Not easy to take up something like driving this late in life.

Ladybugs... I think most beetles are pretty cool. They trudge along on their rounds and don't really bother you much. Ladybugs ARE beetles, right? Anyway, they're harmless and entertaining. Nothing wrong with that.

Laura said...

Congratulations Hilary… I'm very, very proud of you. Learning to drive takes courage at any age. My mother didn't learn until she was in her thirties, also because she always lived in the city until then. The same for a very close friend who always lived in cities. Kol hakavod! (and the little lady bug is gorgeous!!!)

Laura said...

Congratulations Hilary… I'm very, very proud of you. Learning to drive takes courage at any age. My mother didn't learn until she was in her thirties, also because she always lived in the city until then. The same for a very close friend who always lived in cities. Kol hakavod! (and the little lady bug is gorgeous!!!)

Michael Manning said...

Hilary: I think this is an awesome achievement!

Congratulations, and I hope that driving will surprise you with the enjoyment I felt when I obtained my license. A cool post!!

Yael said...

REALLY! You are very brave, I admire your courage and I congratulate you!
Enjoy your achievement! :-)
My (late) mother-in-law took driver lessons a about your age - next twenty years she loved driving her car!

Anita said...

I taught my first child to drive, which was not easy. I'm currently teaching child #2 and my eyes have doubled in size only twice as she changed lanes without looking and something else that I can't remember at the moment. I'm glad you found Jasmine. :)

Sixteen or 58, it's an achievement to be proud of. Congratulations!!!

Ladybugs are always worth a stare.

Anita said...

ps.

Give yourself a POTW! I'm sure you've inspired everyone who read this. We all have that "something" that we need to conquer.

Pauline said...

Oh the freedom! both from being stuck someplace and longing to go someplace else on your own and from the fear that held you stuck. Well done! I'm playing catch-up. At 68, I'm doing far more driving than I'd like but the rewards (being with the grands) is worth every mile. Now, drive on down into the states and visit me!

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I'm impressed that you took this challenge on at 58. Seems so many around me are satisfied with the way things are - that doing something new at this age is not even on their radar.

Easy to understand no driving when one lives in a large city. Enjoy your newfound freedom and can't wait to see what photos your new adventure yields.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

There is no shame in not learning to drive when one has no need to drive (nor a desire to do so). I'm very impressed that you've chosen to learn now -- and that you recognized your need to have someone other than your dear Frank be your advanced teacher. CONGRATULATIONS!