I started driving at age 13 in an empty parking lot.
My grandma’s patience is far greater than my mother and I’s, and for that reason, she was always the passenger as I inched along the pavement going around 8 miles an hour. She taught me how to steer, gently tap the brakes, and gradually ease into the gas. But what she could never teach me, despite the folded up road maps in the glove compartment, was how to get where you’re going.
At age 15 I got my school license, a shiny black car, and the sweet taste of freedom. Doing anything for the first time is monumental, and the first summer I had my car, the windows never seemed to roll up and the radio never seemed to turn down. I also didn’t have anywhere in particular to go, so finding my way around wasn’t the biggest worry on my mind.
At 16, I got my real license, went to drivers education class, and finally felt comfortable enough to drive on the interstate and in traffic. Or so I thought.
Turns out, like every other area in my life, I’m a driving contradiction.
I am a confident, yet nervous driver. I am calm, composed, and have Christian music programmed into the radio, yet I will not hesitate to cut off a rude jerk in a truck that’s very clearly killing the environment. I have a general idea of where I’m going, yet when I actually get on the road, I am hopelessly, hopelessly lost.
It’s actually quite embarrassing how bad I am with directions. I have no sense of where things are, despite having been there previously in my life. I’ve been to one of my friends’ house at least seven times, and still can’t find it without Google Maps. I once took a wrong turn and ended up thirty minutes in the opposite direction from my destination. It just so happened to be in one of the worst parts of Omaha. At 11 pm. Needless to say, I locked the doors and called my dad.
I get lost often these days, and not just when I’m driving. Where I’m trying to go with this, is that even though I may appear to know my way around the block, I am constantly having to ask for directions. And five years after I first learned how to drive, I realized there’s no shame in that. It means I’m moving forward, and toward the destination I was meant to arrive at.
So here I am, admitting it: I get lost sometimes and I’m proud of it.