There’s a lot of advice in retirement transition to push out of your comfort zone in order to continue to grow. Well, I did a big push last weekend. (And it’s one of the reasons why I’ve not blogged in awhile.)
In my retirement lifestyle vision, I see myself riding a retro scooter down the beach boulevard, carefree and happy. Of course, that vision also has me with my hair blowing in the wind without a helmet, which I’d never do. I wear a helmet on a bicycle doing 12-15 mph on that road; I’m certainly going to wear one doing 20-30 mph! But the vision is there, and hubby is buying me a scooter for my birthday.
Second reality check beyond the helmet: I need the skills to drive a scooter and a license. I’ve never even driven a dirt bike as a kid. A scooter license is the same as a motorcycle license, so the need actually became skills to drive a full size motorcycle, shifting gears and all. And so, motorcycle driving class last weekend….and a BIG out of comfort zone experience.
I was the oldest attendee in my class. Not the oldest ever, but close. I was also the shortest. Lack of height is a challenge on a full size motorcycle where you need to straddle and reach the ground. It’s not an issue with a scooter, but you need the motorcycle license!
And, to top off the out of comfort zone challenge, I was the only person in the class with no motorcycle driving experience. None. The younger folks all had dirt-biking experience. The older folks had been riding for years on permits (or without a license at all) and the class was the easiest, fastest route to licensing. Luckily, all the participants were extremely supportive of my extreme novice status.
So what emotions were running though this experience?
Doubt = I kept telling myself I could do it. The other folks in the class kept telling me I could do it. Even the instructors kept telling me I could do it. It’s hard to stop that voice in the head that continues to raise doubt!
Fear of failure = In this case, failure can have a really bad output. You tell yourself to do a skill, then the body freezes and it does not respond to your mind. Things like speeding up on a curve and leaning the motorcycle over, or accelerating to stop short on command without locking up or skidding. Are you crazy – I can kill myself here! And yes, I did put the motorcycle down. That’s a nice way to say I crashed it. I was fine. As the instructor said, my pride was hurt more than my body. Even if the body was shaking like a leaf in a high wind. And I did get back on and complete the training exercise. But getting your mind to overcome fear is so challenging!
Frustration in skill development = This was the hardest element. Creating new muscle memory takes repetition. And in the case of driving a motorcycle, the fear of injury when you do not have that muscle memory makes it both scary and frustrating.
In the class (which included 14 hours of actual driving), there were tears. And exhaustion. And doubt if I would ever buy a scooter; doubt I would ever develop enough skill to not feel like I was going to die any minute. The instructor kept saying this was supposed to be fun! I’m not one to equate fear and fun.
I passed the skill assessment…and received a surprising round of applause from my classmates! But even the feeling of accomplishment of successfully completing the class has not removed the fear of not having skills going forward.
We have not purchased my scooter yet, although I have picked it out. I’m working on building up courage for the continued skill development.
Unfortunately, this out of comfort zone experience did not make me eager to try another! Do your out of comfort zone experiences make you eager for more?