My ex-boyfriend used to say, “Speed is your friend.” He was usually talking about mountain biking and he meant, let go of your @&%#ing brakes.
I don’t mountain bike anymore, but I can see how this advice is true in many sports. On skis, for instance, if you’re trying too hard to slow down by skidding through your turns, you may have less control than if you let your tips point downhill, gather a little speed, and carve. Sometimes I remind myself on a steep slope of my ex’s advice.
Anyone stuck behind a slow moving vehicle can see how even driving too slowly can make you into a hazard. But when I’m hurtling down the road at 55 mph, it doesn’t feel like speed is on my side. It feels like if humans were meant to go that fast our bodies would have come with shells. So instead I remember my therapist’s latest advice: drive every day.
And that’s what I’ve been doing, getting into the truck with my driving coach (a.k.a. husband) each day since my last appointment. Some days we just go 4 miles down the road to the local grocery store or convenience store, but sometimes we drive around the back roads, seeing how they connect to one another, and half-ignore the GPS. Yesterday I drove an hour and we discovered a farm with black sheep.
Here’s what I realized: I need to drive until it starts to feel normal, and then keep driving until it becomes usual, and then eventually, boring. Because how can you be bored and terrified at the same time?
By that time I might be ready to face a highway.
But for now I just keep getting behind the wheel. It reminds me of advice I got from a magazine for cross country ski racers: just keep doing the races; the more “starts” under your belt, the less scary it becomes. That’s what I’m working on–more starts under my seat belt. Or something like that.