Driving home from my beach vacation yesterday, I was thinking how tense I get when I’m driving somewhere unfamiliar. How I’m always on the alert. Even with my GPS. Which I don’t trust, by the way. And I wondered why I have to be so fearful. Why can’t I be more confident? Life would be so much easier if I had balls.
Then I remembered something. When I got married my dad said, “I’m glad you and your sister found good men who will always take care of you.” That’s the generation I grew up in. Women were taken care of. But that’s not all. I had a Nervous Nellie mom who was over-protective. No tree climbing allowed, no getting filthy. My sister and I were kept on a short leash. And we were sweet, compliant little things. Someone else might’ve said to hell with this and gone off climbing tees and breaking arms. But we didn’t like getting into trouble.
So seventeen years and four kids after my dad made that statement, my “good man” up and left. I felt like a bunny rabbit being thrown into the jungle.
Thank God I had two years of college and could still type– pretty fast, too. But I had a lot to learn. I wasn’t in a very good place to learn it, though. Seventeen years seemingly wasted and kids to be raised, the youngest just a toddler. I had some serious issues to deal with.
But I’d inherited my mom’s Nervous Nellie gene and depressed or not, I had kids to take care of and needed to figure out how to take care of myself. So maybe my fear of going under turned out to be a good thing. I didn’t have the luxury of falling apart. I went back to school, found a job after a couple years. I read a book called, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” and stretched my comfort zone over and over and over.
Thirty years later, I’m doing okay. Retired with a pension and liking my life. But I guess there’s still a little of the bunny rabbit in me. I prefer back roads to interstates, have yet to tackle driving in and out of my big city’s intimidating airport, and I still haven’t climbed a tree.