We bought a car off the internet and failed to note (until the car was delivered to our door) that it had a manual transmission.
I’d driven stick exactly twice in my life, for a collective 25 minutes.
So I watched some youtube videos and recruited my husband as teacher and pulled out of the driveway, heart pounding, nerves jittering. What surprised me most was how long it had been since I’d done something that made me feel truly nervous. I thought I learned new things and risked my ego all the time, but maybe I do so less than I thought.
New to this skill, I failed in obvious and public ways.
I killed the car twice in the morning drop-off line at my kid’s school. In the afternoon pick-up line, I had to stop on a tiny incline and only got started again by revving too dramatically for an elementary school parking lot. Humbled, I waved at the people honking at me and tried again.
Eventually, I’ll drive this car without even thinking about it. But for now, successfully easing into first gear feels like a tiny victory every time.
The nervousness I felt about driving this car was so distinct that I can’t help but consider what else I’m not trying for fear of being humbled, what I’m not risking for fear of failure, what I’m not learning because it’s too new. I can’t help but consider all the other cars I’ve left in the metaphorical garage and what it would take to put them in first gear and start down the street.