April – A Month Of Milestones Met

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

– T.S. Eliot

April was a milestone month for me and for the RAvolution! The idea of the RAvolution as my friend Astrid put it was, “a wonderful lesson in moving forward”. To me the idea of the RAvolution was to give myself space and time and to finally learn some basic life skills I was very late to come to. But late is better than never, and in April I was finally able to put those goals behind me in the rearview mirror of the car I was legally driving!

I had tried to learn to ride a bike oh, maybe once, but at the time, as a very prim young girl who refused to wear anything but dresses, declared “this isn’t for me, I can’t wear my dress and I might fall and hurt myself”. So there on Bryant Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, a very short-lived bike career ended on the same or next day and street as it had started.

I made a few more valiant attempts at driving than biking, but just barely more focused. I got my permit twice – promptly at 16 when I could officially get it, only to find out that our family only had stick shift cars and coupled with the steep hills of San Francisco my trepidation and a wee bit of laziness got the best of me. Then when I was in my early 20s I tried again, alas, very half heartedly I think I might have practiced a whopping 4 hours on that permit, and we wonder how it took so long for me to finally get to the day I would sidle up to the DMV and actually pass the test!

With all obstacles removed and the time dedicated to the goals at hand, we started April with a bang. We wasted no time to get to the DMV and get me started on a daily driving regimen. Now with years of life experience, if not driving experience, I knew that what was needed was merely practice and the intention to overcome insecurities and trepidations. Armed with fantastic teachers in Anne and Beth, we spent countless hours, miles, and detours to master my skills. We took leisurely drives, sped on freeways, got dizzy on winding country roads, worked in abandoned lots to refine my motor skills with created obstacle courses; we did three point turns, and practiced parking for days.

And then it all paid off. After more practice driving into and out of parking lots and around towns and cities, one fine morning on the coast of California, I was officially handed a new means of ID – MY VERY FIRST DRIVERS LICENSE!!!!

I had started my month in Salinas with the hope that in 5 -6 weeks I could learn to drive, get my drivers license, and I kept saying in a hopeful way to people if I was very lucky and worked hard I would like to learn to ride a bike! My mother used to tell me “Ra have high hopes but low expectations. Hope for the moon and the best and expect nothing, then when life happens no matter what it is, it will not disappoint you.” This was a hard lesson to learn, and to be honest I am still learning and struggling with it. But I put this philosophy to practice here in Salinas and to my surprise, enjoyment, and pride I not only learned to ride a bike but I learned to love it! I started with taking small bike rides and grew to around 10 mile jaunts, including small hills. I love the feeling of the wind and sun on my face and arms. And I love even more hoping and wishing for something but holding no expectation or attachment to it, and finding in the realizing of process that I can do whatever I put my mind and heart to.

April surpassed my every wish and hope. The lessons and life skills learned. The conversations had. The movies we saw (Water for Elephants, The Conspirator, Jane Eyre, Of Gods And Men). The life that met me and opened the door to a new me. When there are life skills that are somehow taken for granted by others – driving, riding a bike, swimming (yes, I know how to do this one) the day that you no longer have to with a blush of shame admit that you cannot do something, it is a great readjustment to how one perceives themselves.

I am so happy with my new skills and find that I love my time on a bike or spent behind the wheel of a car so much it is hard for me to imagine it took me so long to come to this place.

My endless gratitude to those who helped me along the way. To my teachers, to my cheerleaders, to my guides into this new wondrous world of wheels!



PS – My little friend, Asher, on a visit to California tried to beat me to get a Driver’s License.


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05 2011

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  1. 1

    Chica, I am sure you are a better driver than me ALREADY. So glad we came to visit during your milestone month!

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