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Get a motorcycle license, they said. It would be fun, they said. Well, what they said ended up 25% failure, 25% awkward, 25% looking like an idiot, and 25% fun. It was one of my most challenging adult experiences. Plus, I was woefully unprepared for the emotional roller coaster that ensued. However, I did survive, pass, and get my endorsement. I guarantee as long as the roads are sound, I will keep it updated for fear of having to go through this lesson again.
Grab your helmet and get ready to lean!
Ugh. Just thinking about this part of the unfortunate story makes my stomach drop. Let me start with I am not a “natural” on a motorcycle. I had to work hard at getting the techniques right. Which meant I was the worst student in the class. I know you are kind BuLL Crew and are thinking, please, you weren’t the worst. But I was, I truly was. I know this because I was called out numerous times for doing something wrong. In front of the entire class. Numerous. Times. As an informal educator, I know this is not how to correct a student’s performance, it’s a terrible way to treat people but it happened none the less. Was the teacher wrong in his assessment? No. However, he was wrong in his delivery of that assessment.
I got to a point where I thought I wasn’t going to pass the driving portion of the exam. There were tears and it was various forms of awful. I considered not returning to finish the class because my struggle was deep, right alongside my disappointment. However, I talked myself into going back and finishing the course, even if that resulted in failing to get my motorcycle license.
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.Michael Jordan
All the Awkward
It’s only awkward if you have to redo parts of the driving test multiple times. And if you’re the only student who has to do it. There were at least two instances where I was told to give it another try. On the bright side, I passed after the second try. Learning can be awkward, then you throw in a heavy, high-speed vehicle and things start to get real awkward real fast!
Looking Like an Idiot
There are many times where I am more than happy to look foolish. Working a booth at a convention, I am more than happy to talk to strangers. Dressing up as a Pollywog and getting on the wrong side of a firehose for the Shellback exam. Bring it on, shipmate! There are times when life demands humbling moments of foolishness. I embrace these moments because usually, I end up having a lot of fun. Usually. However, pressing the gas too hard or not using the clutch at the correct time during a motorcycle lesson is not one of those times.
Finding the Fun. Finally!
The engine was warm but I felt cold, clammy, and full of doubt. It was the final day and test time. I was nervous to the point of vomiting. Little had seemed to go right up until that point. So I gave up. I gave up trying. I figured, there was a good chance I wasn’t going to pass the skills test. Instead, I decided I was going to have fun because this could be the last time I operated a motorcycle.
That is all it took, a change in my mindset. After that, everything got easier. I had fun, my motorcycle skill demonstration was better, and I passed the driving portion. As far as the written test, I got 100%. I am a book nerd for life but it was still an impressive accomplishment to have zero wrong when it came to the knowledge of a motorcycle. It may have helped that I read the book, took notes, and answered all the practice questions before the class started.
Busted Up Expectations
That experience was hard. It was full of hard, awkward, ugly moments but it also contained valuable insight such as to keep trying especially when it’s hard, there are tears, people are mean, and failure is likely. Not every experience on my life list is going to include elation, happiness, or be a guarantee for success. That is the chance I take when I set out on a new experience.
If you are wondering, am I glad I did it? I am 100% glad I did it. I feel empowered to have that endorsement on my license and it opens up new opportunities for fun expeditions. A trip across Vietnam on a bike sounds pretty epic!
What are your fun/not fun experiences that you are grateful to have survived?