Sunday, November 12, 2006

Passenger or Driver?

From this week's Sunday Scribblings prompt:
"I don't want to be a passenger in my own life." (Diane Ackerman)

For the first 21+ years of my life, I was a perennial passenger. Really. I didn't get my driver's license until just two months before my 22nd birthday. While on some level, I was embarrassed not to be a driver, I was deeply relieved. The thought of driving TERRIFIED me. Of course, having a psychotic driver's ed teacher who didn't trust me to hit the brakes didn't help...how can you learn if you're not allowed to make mistakes? **And by mistakes, I don't mean slamming into the back of another car, but perhaps stopping a car-length behind the vehicle in front as opposed to stopping two car lengths behind.**

But then the time came when I HAD to be the driver. I was just out of college, looking for my first real job and I had no one to rely on but myself. Even my first long drive (four hours, which is not so long now, but back then, was an eternity) was a solo trip--a car accident which left my mother with a broken collarbone and no vehicle left me driving to my new home all alone. Yes, it was scary...but before long, I relished the thrill of driving. I love being in control, moving at the speed that suits me best (and I'll admit it, I curse at those who impede my speed), going where I want, when I want. I love being the driver.

And up until that point in my life, I had often been the passenger in my life as well. It was around that time, when there were so many other changes already going on in my life, that I had my heart broken. The kind of heartbreak that makes you wonder if you can get out of bed in the morning. The kind that makes you forget to eat and not even remember what it feels like to be hungry. I had so often let other people control my life...not only in relying on them to help me get from point A to point B, but also in telling me what I should do and who I should be.

Now I do what I want to do. Is it what I always thought it would be? Probably not. Is it always what my parents imagined for me? Definitely not. But it is what I want. And all because I refuse to be a passenger in my own life.

*****
I'm not feeling creative enough to incorporate my favorite quote into this prompt, but I did want to share (at least one of them). There are SO many to choose from, some insightful, some simply inane, some that make me cry, some that just make me laugh. But the one that's been in my head the most lately is from Sheryl Crow: "There ain't nothin' like regret/To remind you you're alive"

Oh, and while I'm quoting Sheryl Crow (she is, after all, very quotable), I'll end with some of the lyrics from one of my favorite songs, 'Crash and Burn'...

Antigone laid across the road
And let a Mack truck leave her there for dead
Just because her lover split the scene
Well love might be great
But why lose your head?

1 comment:

ren.kat said...

hmm- don't bury my brother- lose my head. Not much of a toss-up, I'm with Sheryl Crow! (nice post)