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I’m an American now living in Ireland where everyone drives on the left – or as some less generous folks might say – the WRONG side of the road.

Although we managed during the three years we lived in Italy to not own a car, it really wasn’t feasible here.  So, last month, my husband and I steeled our nerves and bought one.

Driving is something I had long taken for granted.  I have been guilty of tapping and talking on my phone, applying makeup, even writing notes while driving.

But now, with the ink barely dry on the sales contract and the new ignition card (it’s not a key) in hand, I am faced with getting behind the wheel on the opposite side of the car and driving on the complete opposite side of the road – making turns and everything– FOR THE FIRST TIME.

I picture Mr. Toad and his wild ride.

My heart is pounding. Oh-my-gosh is that a round-about? I have to turn to the left to enter it, right? I mean, correct?  Oh, no, I need to be in the other lane, this is a turn-only lane.  Oh-my-gosh the oncoming traffic looks like they’re coming RIGHT AT ME.

Okay.  Breathe.   I MUST be alert. Vigilant.  This is no time for complacency.

The first couple of days are a challenge.

For instance, residential roads here in Ireland are incredibly narrow.  A single lane sized street will actually be intended for two lanes of traffic with the added hazard of cars being parked along the sides.  Shoulders do not exist.  Drivers will take up the full roadway until they see a car heading their way, then one will need to try and pull over to let the other head on through. It’s makes for a fantastically jerky driving dance, but somehow it works.

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Perhaps it’s because, here, drivers are very polite.  If you signal your intention to merge into a new lane, the car behind you will actually slow down to let you in, not speed up to close the gap like I am more used to!

I continue to take is slow and I’m getting more sure of myself every day.  I am learning a new skill and improving my confidence along the way.  It’s a lot like life, isn’t it?

Mr-Toads-Wild-Ride-Movie

What challenges are you facing today? What project or endeavor is out there that you would like to do, or know you have to do, but are afraid to try?  What is holding you back?

Sure, you might be scared, but go ahead.  Go slow.  Be alert.

The people around you might be more encouraging than you imagined beforehand.

The only way you can accomplish something new – is to start. Even Mr. Toad managed in the end.

Copyright 2014 Gina London.  All Rights Reserved. 

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