Here is prompt 2 of 31 in the Reverb12 campaign.
What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?
It doesn’t have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.
What difference has it made to your life?
On November 30th, I bought my first car, a 2012 Nissan Versa SL Hatchback. Yeah, my first car was a new one and I bought it at age 37. I got my drivers license less than three weeks ago.
Since age 16, I’ve struggled with a deep anxiety of driving. Nope, never been in a car accident (someone suggested that I must have been in a past life- yes, she was crazy). Lessons in various periods of my adult life and therapy made little dents, and a big challenge was living in New York City since I was 20 years old. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it difficult to get comfortable driving in a constant video game. It also became a crutch for years as a reason I couldn’t leave New York because I was afraid I would never be able to function anywhere else.
I felt stuck.
Moving to Savannah was a perfect place to take this on. Don’t get me wrong- it was still not easy. But I hired a wonderful retired drivers’ ed teacher who took me out driving four hours a week during October and helped me get better and most importantly, manage my anxiety. I also worked with my coach Thekla on limiting beliefs around my driving issues. With the encouragement of a small group of loved ones, I finally took the dreaded road test and passed.
Beyond the anxiety, I felt guilt and shame about driving. Guilt came from having to ask people to give me rides, though Tina Fey’s Bossypants helped a little. Shame came from not seeming able to do something that even people who seemed 90% brain dead could accomplish. But the reality is that not driving didn’t matter as much as my fear led me to believe it did. I know lots of people who drive but they haven’t visited 28 states and 5 countries or flew 60,000 miles in a year. My biggest realization the day after I got my license is how little my life had truly changed, as well as people’s opinions of me.
I’ve lived in Savannah for almost a year and the resourceful NYer part of me finds it a place you can navigate fine without a car, but it was something I wanted for myself. The impact of owning this car is tangible for sure, including opening up more business opportunities in the Southeast. But the biggest impact of purchasing the car is probably the realization that stuck was a false emotion created by my brain and nothing more.
Wish me luck getting better at parking!