I guess driving over the Pulaski Skyway is no big deal to those who do it everyday. And I thought to myself, Am I a big baby sharing that my hands were sweating so bad that my steering wheel was drenched with my sweat as I prayed aloud, Dear God, get me home in one piece!? And that just reliving the memory is making my hands tremble?
Not according to this article I found, where the headline says “Nerves of Steel Needed: Take a Ride on the Pulaski Skyway” (and also offers a very in-depth history of the amazing skyway) http://fierceandnerdy.com/nerves-of-steel-needed-take-a-ride-on-the-pulaski-skyway-kicking-back-with-jersey-joe
Two years ago when I began speaking publicly, I only booked myself in towns I was familiar with — which meant driving wouldn’t be a big deal. For the most part, I do enjoy driving, but in New Jersey, it can be complicated. In some areas you have to switch lanes quickly to get off an exit, which can be either on the left or right of the highway. And with many drivers going at least 20 miles over speed limit, it’s nerve wrecking to say the least. Not to mention that in certain areas (like those white bread and butter soccer mom driving SUV areas) people ride your ass (tailgate) because they are in such a hurry to get nowhere.
But when you pick and chose in life, you limit yourself and miss out on great experiences. Three years ago a client sent me to Chicago for a marketing seminar. I went kicking and screaming. Happily married, I never spent a night away from my husband. And I’ve flown alone many times, but this particular trip was trying — to say the least. Both ways I was stuck in an airport for many hours due to flight delays. And the turbulence was horrifying. I was holding on to my stuffed kitty for dear life. I wished I had my real kitty with me! However, once I was in Chicago, I had a fabulous time, learned a few marketing tricks, made some great connections and enjoyed myself in a five-star hotel that had the best eggs I had in my life (and the best service!)
For many years, when I worked as a journalist and freelance proofreader I commuted to New York City. It was nothing, traveling back and forth on the train and walking in areas that weren’t particularly safe. I was fearless. I always heard stories from co-workers getting mugged, but it never changed my mind about where I loved to work and play. And, God, I was so lucky that nothing bad ever happened to me (though I was robbed, twice, when people broke into a friend’s car, twice, and stole my belongings).
I was also fearless the time I jumped off a 100-foot bridge into a body of water. It felt like I was flying. Then I hit the water — smack — it took me under so deep I wondered if I was ever going to come up for air again. And then, once I got to the top, finally, I had to fight a current to get back onshore.
All of this may seem like nothing compared to those who are true daredevils like Evel Kenievel. Or, like I said earlier, people who ride the Pulaski Skyway regularly. But there are people who live in fear, afraid to go too far from their homes. These same people won’t take chances in their lives. There are also those who stick like glue to their cliques and comfort zones. They are afraid to associate with anyone who may challenge their intelligence. Being around someone different is a threat to them. I hate to sound belittling, as that’s not my point, but I do pity those people, as I pity myself when I notice I am slipping into the “fear zone.” It’s just not a productive place to be.
In order to grow as a person, no matter what age you are at, you have to take chances. I’m not saying throw all caution to the wind and do stupid things, but simply: try getting out of your comfort zone — you may like it! There’s no harm in trying new things that are second nature to most people.
I highly doubt I’ll drive over the Pulaski Skyway by myself again, but after doing that, driving in white bread and butter towns with SUVs riding my ass doesn’t seem so bad after all! And, hell, scared as I was, driving over the Pulaski Skyway wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the days I worked in an office full of gossipy, catty women with piercing screechy voices.
It’s all about perception.