I am a 27-year-old woman and got my driver’s license last year, and I haven’t driven since my road test. For a long time this whole story was part of my “I grew up in New York City” narrative, and to an extent that’s still where it comes from, just because driving never equaled the freedom/rite-of-passage it was for my more rural friends. But the cultural excuses only last so long, because now I am about to get married and if I never got behind the wheel of a car again I would die happy.
I know I should drive! I have gotten so many lectures about driving and how great it can be and how there are so many places that one can’t access by subway or walking, but no matter how much I practiced I just never got it. I’ll do it if necessary, but I have basically structured my life so that it will never be necessary. This includes living in a city with ample public transportation, not owning a car, and ensuring that there is always a better option for a driver around if the circumstance calls for it. Most of my friends have been driving for over ten years, so why the hell would they want me behind the wheel?
(You know what though? Cars are fucking horrifying. You should not be driving if you are not properly horrified every time you get behind the wheel, by the knowledge that you, with your English degree and your inability to figure out why your toilet keeps flushing funny, are in full control of a machine that can cause death if traveling anything over the speed of a lazy biker. And you’ve been in charge of it since you were 16! What is wrong with this country?!)
We tend to use adulthood as an excuse to push ourselves, or as an excuse where the other reasons fall flat. We need to learn to cook, or garden, or jog because we’re adults, dammit. And obviously there are added benefits to all these activities, but if those were enough we’d be doing them already. Adulthood is something we joke about never reaching–we could get married and have kids and set up IRAs and still laugh about how “adult” that all is in the abstract, insisting that we still spill tomato sauce on ourselves all the time so clearly we’re not really adults. I still use the phrase “when I grow up.”
I want to remind myself that it’s possible to be an adult without encompassing everything adulthood has symbolized. So tell me, what grown-up thing have you been avoiding? I promise, you’ll still be a grown up.