Life Lessons from Drivers Ed

Dearest Love,

I have no idea why this keeps coming into my mind but it does so I'm writing it.


My dad taught me how to drive. Amid the many many lessons learned, from how to change a battery to how to find the curb one keeps popping into my mind.


Here it is, the priorities of the driver, in order, according to dad.


  1. Be safe.

  2. Make your passengers feel safe.

  3. Take care of the Vehicle.

Granted these are not terribly surprising priorities for a father riding as a passenger while his 15-year-old child drives his vehicle. Still, there is some wisdom here.


  1. Be safe. This means, be present. Pay attention to what is happening right now and do what you think is right. Use your head, your intuition, your observations, everything you got to make decisions that are going to keep you alive and your life in good working order. It's clear with this directive that no one elses' judgment or assessment of "safe" is really useful here. Only one person can drive the car. Only one person is responsible for your life.

  2. Make your passengers feel safe. Other people's feelings matter. That is, if they like you and trust you well enough to go with you wherever you are going, and you like and trust them well enough to go with them, their feelings need to be considered. Just because you are being safe does not mean that the people around you are going to feel safe. Two totally separate issues. As the daughter of a lawyer, I mostly interpret this to mean taking the time to present the evidence of the rightness of my decisions to the other involved parties. However, when I am the passenger what I really want is sweet talk. I want to be heard, comforted, and humored. Then I feel safe.

  3. Take care of the vehicle. This trip might be important but it's not more important than the 100s of other trips you might take in this car. The gist is, take care of your shit. If your life is not in functional order then you don't have nearly as much fun. Short-term pain and long-term gain. This lesson was also reinforced by lessons on boat ownership. I'm groaning thinking about this and my 2020 taxes.

You know what was never mentioned in this list of priorities? Get where you are trying to go. I love a point B. I love destinations. I love goals. I would put it as number 4. I also recognize that miracles happen when I let go of the agenda. When I stay present, care for the people around me and the basics, the direction and destination can happen pretty effortlessly.

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