What’s your version of the passenger seat?

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I often hear, “if only I had done that thing 5 years ago. I would [insert completed dream here] now. 

I relate to this feeling. It comes as no surprise to those who know me but can be quite a shock to many that don’t that I put off getting a driver’s license my whole adult life. If I had gotten it at 16 I could have avoided this whole graduated license system we have here in Ontario and would have been driving for the last 30 plus years. But there’s nothing I can do about the past now. All I can do is create what I want in my future. And so I’m learning to drive. Even with the long process, I’ll be fully licensed before I’m fifty and it’s possible that I could be driving until I’m 85 or older (my grandmother is still driving at 93). 

Yes, it will take me two years to be fully licensed, but the time is going to pass either way whether I learn to drive or not. So I can do this now and be a driver when I turn 50 or I can decide it’s going to take too long, that it’s too late, and spend the rest of my life as a passenger. It’s up to me. 

The truth is, the passenger seat is comfortable and easy. There are a lot of things to keep me there.

Being in the driver’s seat is obviously more demanding but until I started driving myself I didn’t realize how much fun it is and how powerful it makes me feel.

A major benefit is that since I started this process I don’t feel any more of the shame that I’ve carried around for so long for not doing this thing that, seemingly, most humans over 16 are able to do. Shame is a heavy load to carry. The weightlessness I feel having put it down is indescribable. I didn’t realize how much it impacted every part of my life.

I realize that it’s unlikely that there are too many of you in this exact position but maybe you have something else you’ve been wanting to do that feels similar. 

What is something you wish you had already done but are having trouble starting because it feels too big, too long, too involved, too intense, or like too much of an investment? What is something that weighs on you but you don’t do out of fear or hesitancy to make your life less comfortable?

Imagine yourself at the end of this accomplishment. Maybe you have a degree, or live in a new city, or have retrained for a new career. Maybe you have a baby or a new relationship. Maybe you’ve learned a new skill. Maybe you’ve taken control over your finances or paid down your debt. Maybe you’ve decluttered your home or started that business you’ve always dreamed of but didn’t think you could pull off.

Whatever it is, how will you feel on the other side? How will you feel if you don’t do it? 

Remember the time passes either way.

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Sara Smeaton, photographed in her garden in front of lilac bushes by Amber Ellis.
About the author

Sara Smeaton

I help you discover the joy and power in midlife and navigate the transitions on your own terms. I am passionate about changing the narrative about aging and am trying to fill the world with profiles of real life people who are thriving and more alive after 40 than ever before. The best is yet to come and there are role models all around us. Book your free 30-minute connection call.

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