“By seeking and blundering, we learn.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Well, here it is. *sigh* I knew it was coming. Knew I’d have to face it eventually.
The dreaded winter. The evil snow. The crappy road conditions.
For my readers who have been with me a while, you may remember one particular snow-related blog I wrote earlier this year. To recap, we had one last freak late Winter/early Spring snowstorm that showed up out of nowhere at the beginning of April. And said freak snowstorm just so happened to show up while I was driving home from work. Freak snowstorm + driving home from work in a big, clunky car = bad. Very bad.
And not only did I wreck, but I flipped my car down a rocky bank and totaled it. But…I’m here to tell you about it, so obviously the outcome was much better than what it had the potential of being. And I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am for that.
Now, fast forward a bit. Although I was definitely a little shaky getting behind the wheel for the first time after the accident, the fear soon subsided and my life as a driver sailed on. I got a new (well, new to me) car, one with all-wheel drive, thank you very much, and the accident was all but forgotten.
Well, that is, until today.
Today, we have snowfall #1 for Winter 2013. And where was I? Driving in it. What was supposed to be a 30-minute drive to work ended up being an hour and a half drive to work. (Now, if you know me well, or even if you don’t and you’ve paid attention to things I’ve said in the past, you’ll know that I actually live an hour from where I work. Why did I say a 30-minute drive? I’ll get to that part soon enough. Believe it or not, this will all tie together eventually. How do you like for foreshadowing, huh? Huh? Dude, I’m such a writer…)
Ok, back to the story. So, when I left for work, it was just spitting snow a little and I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. But as I got about a third of the way there, I realized that the further I went, the worse the roads were getting. If there had been a place to safely turn around, I think I would have done it right then and there and went right back home. But, sadly, there wasn’t. So I kept moving forward. By the time I got to the main road, I was over halfway to work, so I figured there would be less driving to just keep heading in the direction I was going. Now, I’ve never been someone who was scared to drive in the snow, mind you. But I’ve also never been someone who was driving in the snow for the first time after a bad snow-related accident either. Needless to say, I was a little shaky. Ok, a LOT shaky.
So, driving along scared to death in the snow with an extra hour of driving time than I had anticipated, my poor little brain had nothing else to do but think. And think and think and think. And since my dumb ole thoughts kept drifting back to the accident, and consequently to the similarities of today’s driving conditions to that day’s, I was doing all I could to redirect those silly thoughts to something else. Anything else. So…I reverted back to the old fail safe. Something my thoughts seem to drift to pretty regularly. Something I tend to overanalyze to death on a regular basis so why would my snowy drive to work today be any exception?
My relationship with Richard.
Richard and I have been talking about taking another step forward in our relationship. And although I’m head over heels, madly in love with him, I’m a wee bit nervous about that. Ok, just kidding…I’m scared out of my friggin mind. See…I don’t have the best track record when it comes to making relationships work out. I know, shocking, isn’t it? I mean, a mild-mannered, shy, quiet little un-opinionated girl like myself? How on Earth would I have trouble getting along in relationships, right? I know, I know. It surprises me too. But alas, as hard as it is to believe, it is the honest truth. And with that truth comes fear. A well-founded fear.
A fear of another failure.
As my mind once again played out the pros and cons of our impending ‘next step,’ I looked around and realized that I was pulling into my driveway at work. I had made it! Obsessing over something besides the weather conditions actually worked to distract me! Woohoo!
So, since I was safe and sound, I answered Richard’s “Did you make it to work?” text.
Me: I made it! My little car did awesome!
Richard: Well, YEAH! It has an awesome driver.
Me: Ha! I think last winter’s little accident proved that’s not true.
Richard: Oh, that wasn’t your fault. Shit happens.
And suddenly, with that one line of pure poetry coming out of my honey’s mouth (or, er…I guess I should say, fingers), it hit me. The glaringly obvious similarity. Duh! How did I not notice it before? This clear correlation between my fear of driving to work in the snow, and my fear of moving forward with Richard. The fears were identical. Both fears existed because of things that happened in the past. And just like my carrying the heavy burden of blame for the accident, I was carrying that same burden of blame for my past failed relationships.
And this burden – this heavy, unnecessary albatross around my neck – was preventing me from moving forward. Preventing me from just getting in the car (the new and improved car, I might add) and driving through the snow again. I learned my lessons. I drove a little slower. I bought a better car that was more suited to winter weather. I allowed myself more time. I wasn’t in any hurry. I learned. It wasn’t my “fault” exactly, I realize that now. As my philosophical sweetie so eloquently pointed out: shit happens. It does. It just happens. So, you adjust. You do things a little better next time. You take it slower. You make sure you’re better equipped. You let life make you smarter. And then you just keep going.
You just keep going.
So. Accident logic learned – I cannot just stop driving anywhere because I once wrecked. That would just be stupid, now wouldn’t it? (*ding ding ding*) Time to apply that logic elsewhere. No more fear. No more blame. No more albatross. Just let it go.
Time to move forward.
So, remember that little teaser I threw in there at the beginning? The part about me having what should have been a 30-minute drive to work, when I actually live an hour from work? Well, here’s why. I was at Richard’s house. You know why? Well, let’s just say the past week has been a ‘test run’ of sorts. We’re seeing what it would be like for me to live there. With him. Together. And you know what? We both feel – deep down in our guts – that this is the right thing to do. It just makes sense. You know?
So, as of January 1, 2014, Richard and I will be officially taking this next step forward to our future. We’re moving in together. We have our seatbelts on and we’re ready to go. Our previous ‘accidents’ are just that. Accidents. They happened, they’re over, we’ve learned, and we’re ready to hop back in the car and see where this next trip takes us.
Wish us luck….
(Oh, and hey. Do me a favor ok? Don’t tell my Grandma!!!…) 😉
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
– Rick Warren