Dear Younger Self,
The good news is that it's the summer before your senior year of high school and you've finally reached that magical age-- 16! The bad news is you have to spend six weeks in Summer School taking Driver's Education classes which starts at 7:30am. Early mornings are not, nor will they ever be, your favorite time of day, especially during summer vacation.
But it's not the early morning memories that will linger with you for the next twenty years, it's the Driver's Ed class itself-- The class you were so excited to take but in the end gave you nightmares-- The class that scared you too much to drive until you were nearly 20 years old-- The class that caused you to miss so many incredible adventures.
Driver's Education, in 1975, consisted of a manual with the driving laws for the State of Ohio that you will study on your own in preparation for the written State exam. Time actually driving in a car will be very limited and scheduled a few afternoons per week. The four hours of daily classroom time for six weeks will not be spent reviewing the manual, rather it will be spent in the dark-- watching movies of horrific car crashes-- involving teenager drivers. And it will scar the daylights out of you!
You name it, you'll see it. All real accidents, all with teenagers, and many did not live to tell the story. Most of your classmates will simply nap through the filmed tragedies, but not you. You will sat straight up at your desk and, practically without blinking, watch every second in stunned silence. Sometimes tears will run down your face, other times your friends will pass you tissues. Never once will your teacher notice who's watching and who's sobbing silently.
As a very impressionable teenager, know the class and these movies are meant to scare you into being a better, more cautious driver. And they are meant to scare you into never drinking and driving. All are important lessons to learn, but not meant to scare you out of your curiosity and sense of adventure. Don't take these movies so literally that you spend years not venturing beyond your own backyard.
Not getting a driver's license until you were nearly 20 will be a real crimp in your social life and your maturity. Life experiences usually happen well beyond your safe home environment and you need to be prepared, otherwise when you are brave enough to step into the business world and start traveling in your early 20s, you will be pretty lost and seriously lacking "streets smarts".
Your fear of the unknown will cause you to miss out on so many marvelous opportunities to see other parts of the world. You'll actually pass on a trip to Hong Kong. You'll work in New York City but never see Harlem, Greenwich Village or the excitement of Time Square on New Year's Eve. You'll travel to Cannes, France many times but never take the train to Monte Carlo for the weekend. And you will definitely miss out on seeing Paris! You'll attended annual film festivals in Milan, Italy but never journey more than 2 miles from your hotel. In London-- Except for a few day tours in the city, you will completely miss seeing the glorious countryside. Why? Because you are too afraid of what "might happen" thanks to those Driver's Ed movies.
Life happens one day at a time. Be mindful and aware and do the best you can to be safe but stop being afraid of the "unknown". Don't let scary movies viewed as a teen keep you away from your adventurous streak. Don't wait until you are in your mid-30s before we wake up and start really living, and doing, and seeing life and all it has to offer. Far too many opportunities will be missed that you can never get back again.
So during the summer of your 16th year, study hard and learn much. Then, take a step off the high dive, hop onto a train, and leap into life with your eyes wide open. You know you want to and you know you will be smart about it. Get your Driver's License and point the car towards your dreams. Don't wait or life will pass you by.
Do you know Chocolate Covered Daydreams? She's a terrific blog friend with an interesting and fun blog about life that's easy to relate to and often leaves me laughing out loud. Right now, until December 14th, CCD is offering a fantastic giveaway for a Wii Fit Plus. The rules are simple and involve answering the question-- If you could write a letter to your younger self, giving advice for the future, what would you say?
I answered the question and entered the giveaway with the above post. You can too! Click HERE for the giveaway rules and start writing!
Are you adventurous?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna