Many teenagers cannot wait until they learn to drive, because it is a rite of passage and a means to a certain amount of freedom and movement which they never had before. I remember being excited to drive, but that feeling dissipated very quickly when I found out how tedious it could be to navigate through Los Angeles traffic. I guess it’s a small price to pay for the flexibility I get from having a reliable car and all the necessary faculties to drive it. I have become so dependent on being able to drive wherever I need to that taking the car in for servicing is a major test of patience. It seems ridiculous that I can’t sit still for one hour while my car is serviced, but I simply can’t stand it. I also do not enjoy riding with other people to events which I may want to make an escape from earlier than my friends do. Even when I travel, I prefer to drive to the destination in my own car or rent a car while there.
I have seen elderly loved ones lose the ability to drive over the past few years, and it breaks my heart. My favorite aunt, my mother and now my father have lost the ability to drive as a result of progressive weakness, arthritis, loss of vision and cognitive decline. Both of my parents initially exhibited a stubborn refusal to accept their diminishing ability to drive, and kept talking about how they were going to resume driving soon. Sadly, they are both ambulating with great difficulty and only with the use of assistive devices. It is especially difficult to see this when I used to rely on them to drive me around when I was a child.
Even getting my parents into a vehicle is a major task, because flexing both at the knees and hips is no longer rapid or automatic. It terrifies me to think that I might ever get to that point in my later years. I don’t ever want to lose the freedom to jump in a car and go whenever I need to. I would hate having to rely on others to cart me around all the time. I hope and pray that my body remains nimble and that my distance vision remains sharp (thanks to Lasik). Driving is definitely a privilege and one which I value greatly.