"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.
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Below are a few photos of one of our little red guests who have wintered over at our place.
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.
It appeared to be drawn toward the pretty aqua reflection from the hand soap.
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.
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.
It's a long, colourful climb.
And before she knew it, the ladybug was circling the dispenser.
And safely made its way down again. I feel a bit of a kinship with this wee critter.
More photos coming up soonish.