On Conquering Your Fears: I’m 26 and I Can’t Drive

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She’s conquered teaching herself to be a designer and learning to dance in a year, but can Karen Cheng conquer her biggest fear?

By Karen X. Cheng (Designer, Exec)

I’m terrified of driving.

I’ve never driven a car by myself. I’ve never owned a car. I’m a grown adult and I live in America.

I’m scared of sitting in the driver’s seat. Just the thought of putting my hands on the leathery steering wheel makes my palms sweat.

I’m scared of fulfilling the stereotype that Asian women are terrible drivers.

I’m scared of trying to change lanes, while I twist my neck around to try and see the cars behind me whizzing by at a gajillion miles an hour.

I’m scared of getting into a car accident. Especially one that leaves me paralyzed for life.

I couldn’t drive in high school, so I didn’t have a social life.

I couldn’t drive to my first job after college, so I lived near bus stops instead.

I can’t drive today, so when I go grocery shopping, I can only get what I can carry on the bus. I love Costco but I can’t go there because I can’t drive.

I can’t just go wherever I want to go. Instead I look up bus directions first and hope the bus goes there. Because if it doesn’t, then I can’t go.

I’m 26 and I can’t drive. I can dance, I can juggle, I can even ride the unicycle. But I can’t drive.

I decided to move to LA because there’s a lot of opportunity there. To become a better dancer, to take film classes, to start my company. But you can’t get by without a car in LA, as I’ve been told by pretty much everyone.

So I thought, maybe I should just not go to LA.

Yeah. I almost didn’t move to a city full of opportunity, because I can’t drive and I’m too scared to learn.

Sad, huh?

This is getting ridiculous. This stops now.

Time to grow up and be an adult. Time to face the day I’ve dreaded all my life. I’m terrified, but also excited about the freedom I’ll have once I have my new driving superpowers.

I start driving lessons today.

I’m 26, and I’m learning to drive!

If you’re ready to conquer your fear (of anything, not just driving), you might be interested in a motivational experiment I’m running. Email karen at danceinayear dot com for more info.

Say hi @karenxcheng

Thanks to my friends and family who have given me many lifts over the years. Thanks to Nikita Fallon, Lynn Tao, Mary Tao, Amy Lin, and my parents for relentlessly pushing me to learn to drive, despite my stubborn protests.

This post originally appeared on Karen’s personal blog

What’s your biggest fear and when are you going to conquer it?

0ebe000About the blogger: Karen X. Cheng is a self-taught designer at Exec in San Francisco. She learned to dance in a year. If you have a dream and don’t know how to start — start anyway. Learn more about Karen by visiting her website