“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
When I was in my late teens and 20s, I drove my car in heavy rain, snow, sleet, hail, and in high winds. I was a member of a few ski teams, and I loved to compete in races. I considered driving safely in bad weather one of my superpowers. When I reached my early 30s, I decided not to ski anymore because of my back, and I also developed a phobia of driving in bad weather. So much for my cool superpower!
After years of being car-free and cycling everywhere, I became skittish and scared of driving in rain, snow, wind, and fog (basically all bad weather). For example, when we lived in Portland, Oregon, we'd occasionally rent cars for long weekend trips. I'd drive if the weather were calm, but if the weather became nasty, I'd ask Logan to drive because I felt anxious.
Now that we have a car again, I'm trying to conquer my fear of driving in bad weather. Fortunately, I’m getting plenty of opportunities to practice because, after years of drought, winter has returned to California.
I don't commute to my job because I'm self-employed, but I still drive. For instance, last week, Logan had a conference for work in Oroville, CA, and I tagged along. The drive home wasn't ideal because it was rainy and windy. Despite my fear, I drove from Oroville to Red Bluff in the heavy rain. Then, I chickened out and made Logan drive from Red Bluff to our home in Yreka.
By the time we reached Dunsmuir, it was dark and snowing. I felt so anxious that I had to recline my seat and focus on breathing deeply. Logan is a fantastic driver and I trust him, but I don't trust other drivers. Huge trucks and four-wheel-drive vehicles passed us at high speeds, splattering the window with slush, and that freaked me out. Two hours after we arrived home, the California Highway Patrol closed Highway 5 because of car accidents. I felt grateful that we made it home safely before the highway closed.
One of my aims for 2016 is to conquer my fear of driving in bad weather. I want to feel more at ease and less anxious when I drive. For example, last week I attended an art journaling class in Ashland, OR. I felt nervous about driving to class because it was a rainy and foggy day. After checking the road conditions, I decided to drive to class. It was foggy on top of the Siskiyou Summit, but the drive wasn't as scary as I'd imagined. When I felt nervous, I took deep breaths and said prayers. I made it to Ashland safely, bought coffee for the house, and enjoyed an amazing art class.
I'm not interested in going four-wheeling in the woods, but I don't want my fear of driving to keep me from pursuing my interests (especially classes I want to take). Continuing my education and learning fuels my creativity and career. I'm conquering my fear of driving in bad weather one trip at a time.
What fears are you conquering this year? Share your story in the comments section.