Being independent was something I used to take for granted.
Over a year ago, I decided to stop driving as my visual acuity was variable and was consistently below the driving threshold. Even though health professionals stated that they were still happy for me to drive as I was ”sensible”, ”knew my limits”, and had ”already stopped driving at night”, my self-awareness, values, morals and knowledge of the potential consequences to myself and others led me not to drive.
At first, using public transport was a novelty, with journeys taking longer; I enjoyed the change of pace and found that this enforced downtime relieved stress.
Lately, I have been becoming more frustrated with the amount of time or money it takes me to get places and complete everyday tasks like grocery shopping, pick up a prescription or, as discussed in an earlier blog post go to Yoga. A simple trip to the doctor when feeling unwell (leaving work at 1630 hrs) means a very long night. Driving, I would have been home at 1800 at the latest. Using public transport meant two busses to the doctor. As the pharmacy was closed when I had finished at the doctor, a further two busses were needed to get to the after that hours pharmacy and an Uber home from there. I arrived home at 2055 hrs.
This shows a barrier to being spontaneous and the need for planning to achieve many tasks that I used to be able to do without any forethought. The need for my independence to be “enabled” by external people or services has been difficult for me as my idea of independence is also being self-sufficient. The switch from complete self-sufficiency to reliance on external entities has felt like a loss or defeat at times, with a niggling feeling of being a burden to others. While one could argue this was negative self chatter, the barrier itself exists. This means that until self-driving cars or teleportation become a reality, complete self-sufficiency is impossible for me.
What I plan to reduce is the self chatter thoughts of diminished self-worth related to loss of independence. Furthermore, becoming more organised with planning as second nature may decrease the stress related to transportation.