On making peace with the realisation that driving
on the Maltese roads is not for me
Author: Sarah Borg, Dip. HE (Melit.); B.A. (Hons) (Melit.)
I am writing this is to communicate that my making peace with the realisation that driving on the Maltese roads is not for me is as crucial as anyone’s need to make peace with those areas that do not conform with accepted norms. It can be so liberating to accept your current reality, without trying to suppress it, hide it or arrange it for other people’s approval.
I was never motivated to start driving a car…
I always lived in a central area, both in my parents’ house and on moving out. But I was never fully at peace with the fact that I did not drive. I cannot count questions like, “ah you use public transport; mela you don’t drive?” which often gets followed with a whole pep talk about how independent you’ll feel when you start driving…and all that jazz which those who “should be driving” have probably heard more than they wanted to.
But then I became interested in learning how to drive…
My partner’s frequent picking me up and dropping me off with no questions asked, indirectly prompted me to go for it. So I started my driving lessons with a driving instructor who is a heroine on so many levels, especially because she helped me to get over my doubt about whether I can manoeuvre a car.
Until I acknowledged that I would not like to be a driver on the Maltese roads…
As I worked my way around the Maltese streets, I was overwhelmed with other drivers’ reckless driving and I started dreading the minute I put myself into this altogether. But isn’t this every driver’s daily struggle, you might ask, to navigate their way around the hustle and bustle of busy roads?
Just because it works for the majority does not mean that you are obliged to do it
I acknowledged that being surrounded by people who accept the deal of driving on the Maltese roads, with its pros and cons, does not automatically mean that I should accept the same deal in my life.
Just as I allowed myself not to follow what the majority does, you might be also ‘offending’ others through something that you do or don’t do, through something that you are or you aren’t.
You might be unable to find it in you to continue your studies;
you might be unable to muster faith in a particular religion;
you might not have found your lifetime partner yet;
or you might be unwilling to keep accepting something you’ve been tolerating for long…
But who said that continuing to study is the sole pathway to a successful career
Why must someone ascribe to a particular religion if they can’t find it in them to do so
Is there a standard age when you should find the one?
Why should you keep tolerating something indefinitely, just because you’ve been tolerating it for so long?
When you freely decide not to conform to societal expectations, you would be on your way to true success
It often happens that we feel the pressure to act in accepted ways and follow paths which we would not really want to pursue. The easiest route to follow would be the one that conforms with societal expectations. Society’s rewards of approval and admiration are a very alluring trap to fall into.
But waking up to something that is being dictated by others is not really the way you want to live your unique and precious life, is it? It’s true, deviating takes a level of connection with one’s desires as well as a sense of determination and commitment, which do not come easy; they need to be cultivated every single day. But do you prefer an easy and unfulfilling life, to a life that involves hard work and fulfilment? I’d rather be working hard for something that I really want, than reluctantly accepting something that’s been imposed on me.
Do not believe your excuses because you always have a choice, and it is never too late.
“It shouldn’t matter if other people are doing it already or if nobody is doing it at all. The only question that matters is whether or not doing it would make you happy.”
When you embrace unpleasant truths about yourself, they will most likely act as a guiding force
Accepting my current reality in relation to driving has brought me in touch with my own limitations but it also helped me to open up to other people’s non-conformity and the pain and rejection it might bring along. It often happens to me that when I embrace and attend kindly to something I dislike about myself, it transforms from being dysfunctional into being a guiding force. In this case, the gift I received was that of reminding myself that it’s ok to be who I am, with my strengths and weaknesses. This energy further extended to putting it down in writing, possibly inviting you to give yourself the go-ahead to accept, embrace and be all that you are, warts and all.
I hasten to add that those areas that elicit most shame in you are the ones that crave your attention, compassion and care the most; they are the points which, when tended well, can help you to grow and move closer to a version of yourself that is more whole and authentic.
Counselling can be very helpful
At times you might need professional help to be able to stay with areas that elicit shame. Speaking for myself, I needed my counsellor’s consistent and unconditional positive regard to be able to make friends with certain truths. Her approach and insights always served as a balm to the negative emotions I harboured towards specific points in my journey.
You cannot always do it on your own. It is ok to ask for help, and thankfully professional help is available! It would be a waste not to tap into this great resource that can help you to be more compassionate with yourself and alter the limiting beliefs in your self-narrative. Once you have a more realistic and kind self-narrative, you would be able to sit with yourself more comfortably, which would then allow you to connect with your true desires.
And finally, it would be up to you to decide whether you would like to hold on to what is being imposed on you, or whether you’d like to pursue your own desires, wearing the hat that always belonged to you, the pilot’s hat… May you always be the pilot of your unique and precious life.
Lynch, M (2022, March, 16). Why You Should Follow Your Heart (And Signs You Aren’t Doing So). Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/887332/follow-your-heart
This project has been funded by the Small Initiatives Support Scheme (SIS) managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector (MCVS)