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Stick Shift Update

Posted in Personal

The interest you all showed in an update to my experience driving stick shift surprised me. I wrote the first post about 1¼ years ago, and there have definitely been some ups and downs in that time. Let’s start with the lows, shall we? Then we can end on a positive note.

The Fear Returned

After my last post, with Jim allowed to drive again, he pretty much took over that chore, and I didn’t object. Unfortunately for me, enough time passed without me driving for my fear of it to return. I didn’t realize quite how bad it had gotten again until I needed to go for my first COVID vaccination.

I couldn’t bring myself to get in the car. Every time I tried, I literally started shaking. My heart raced, I was near tears. I only kept myself from a panic attack by acknowledging it was OK to take Jim up on his offer to drive me, which I did.

However, after I’d finished and had scheduled my second shot, I found out that Jim had an important work meeting scheduled for the same time. That gave me a deadline; I had two weeks to overcome my fear again.

An Important Lesson

That weekend, I forced myself to get in the driver’s seat. It took some time, and several tissues, to calm down enough to actually try driving. Jim — in the passenger seat for moral support — was patient and kind.

When I was finally started up the car and backed out of the garage, I could literally feel the fear melting away. I could still drive. I hadn’t mysteriously forgotten how. I wasn’t suddenly horrible at it. And, really, nothing was different than before the fear came back.

And Now?

I’m comfortable driving. Do I like it? No. But does it bother me? Mostly, no. I regularly take myself to places alone or the cats to their vet appointments.

There are definitely still things about driving that I don’t like. There are even still things that scare me — notably, narrow lanes, maneuvering in parking garages, and being next to big vehicles. And no, I still don’t drive at night.

But, I can get myself places. I can get away for a few hours if I need to. I can take care of errands if Jim isn’t feeling well. All important things, and I’m content with my expanded freedom that comes with driving.

So, there we have it, an update on my stick shift driving experiences. I hope you enjoyed my little “slice-of-life” update. Or, even better, that it may help you with dealing with your own fears. Regardless, thanks for reading!

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One Comment

  1. David Deep
    David Deep

    I came to manual driving sort of late in my driving career because my dad swore off manual cars after his days in the Army. Although I learned how to operate a stick, I was nervous about owning a manual car myself until I was 37.

    It’s a little like playing chess. You can learn the basics in about an hour, but you need to work at it for a long while before you master it. Once I got really comfortable driving a manual, I was hooked for life. (Just in time for the auto industry to phase out manual transmissions. Swell.)

    Keep at it!

    May 4, 2022

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