I have become a firm believer in facing one’s fears, no matter how daunting and scary they might be. I used to run from them. That way there was no way I would ever try anything new or different, and I could stay safe and warm in my favourite state of denial.
So that was the old me. The new me, well, I guess I have become a woman who relishes the unknown, who wants to defy denial, I have become the mouse that roared.
Since I have been up here in Canada (ooh a good almost 15 years) the idea of getting on a highway and driving anywhere (even a 2 hour drive to Ottawa) brought immediate shakes. There was no way no how, nu uh, was not going to happen. Speed scared me. Other people’s speed specifically. Plus I guess I had no self confidence in my own driving abilities.
A couple of years back I managed the Ottawa drive, with a car full of my fellow Mary Kay ladies giving me awesome encouragement, I did it once, swore never again, as when I got home my nerves were totally shot.
So necessity is the mother of invention, right? I desperately wanted to go down to NY for the first days of Sukkot to see my girlfriend and her hubby (and maybe squeeze in a date or two….). I stayed there this summer, and I miss them terribly. But flying down again was not an option – ticket prices were insane. After researching my options, it seemed that I was going to be driving it. Seven and a half hours, most of it on the I87 highway.
Once I made up my mind that I was going to do it I totally banished all negative thoughts about it from my head. Yes I was scared out of my cotton picking mind, but people do this drive all the time, ok, most of them haven’t had a 15 year old mental block stopping them from doing it, but I am not THAT woman anymore, right, I am woman hear me ROAR!
I asked all of my friends who had done this drive for their advice. How do they manage it? Where should I stop? Who serves the best coffee along the way? (Note to self for future reference. Coffee is a diuretic. It makes you need to pee almost immediately. Sometimes the half hour between rest stops can seem to last 3 hours…..no more coffee on the way unless desperate). I collected tips and instructions, and feeling armed and confident, I set out early Sunday morning. I picked up bagels to take to my hosts, and some food for the way, dropped off my boys with enough kisses and squishes to last them until I came home, and by 7.45 am I was on my way.
My plans included very detailed directions. I had borrowed a GPS to help me if I got lost (by the time I got to Brooklyn I wanted to shoot it, if I hear “Recalculating Route” one more time I swear I will go postal), so when I got to the 15S to find it closed and I had to follow a detour I could have easily dissembled. But I rolled with it. I ended up driving for 45 minutes through beautiful Quebec countryside – and I took time to appreciate my surroundings. I was a bit nervous of the change in plans, but I really tried to take it in stride.
I got back onto the 15S and within minutes was at the border, breezed through (apparently flirting with border guards is a good tool to use) and relished the unilingual traffic signs.
This time of year when the leaves are all changing colour is the perfect time to do this drive. For the longest time I was just in awe of the scenery around me. The different hues and colours, oranges, reds, yellows, in all different shades. It was truly something to behold. G-d is the only one who can possibly create such a wealth of colour.
It seemed that within no time I was in Manhattan. I wonder if one ever gets used to not seeing the twin towers, they were just so obviously missing.
I arrived in Brooklyn by 3.30pm, with a HUGE sense of accomplishment and a very numb behind. Not only had I faced my fear of highway driving, and won, but I also faced my fear of being able to drive long distance. Not only that it was a great drive. I didn’t white knuckle it at all. I enjoyed myself. Ok, and I will be honest, I totally enjoyed the peace and quiet. I know one day I will do the drive with the kids in the car and we will see how relaxed I will be then, but I really appreciated and relished the me-time.
Sukkot in NY was awesome – but that’s another post.
The drive back was less fun, because I was coming home after a fun trip and I needed way more coffee than on the way there (yeah, partying all night long not such a good idea before a long drive LOL), but it gave me a great chance to think and process many things. Such a blessing to have had this time to myself. I really feel as if I have added yet another skill to my toolbelt. Next trip….the moon?!