You let out a sigh of relief as you sink into the driver’s seat of your car, the fatigue of a long day of work heavy upon your shoulders. You turn the radio on to the weather, only to hear about an impending storm. You feel your stomach drop at the word “storm.”
Calm down, you tell yourself. It isn’t even raining yet.
And then right on cue, you see a few drops splatter onto your windshield.
You realize there’s no avoiding it now, so you start the car while taking deep, slow breaths, and drive out of the parking lot.
You let out a long yell as you merge onto the highway. You aren’t really sure why you still do this, seeing that highway driving is no longer as frightening as it used to be. Perhaps it’s the sudden acceleration. Perhaps it’s still out of fear that you’ll merge straight into an 18-wheeler. Or perhaps old habits die hard. Your grip on the wheel gets a bit tighter as you zoom onto what seems like infinite highway. 30 miles to go.
25 miles to go. You sing out loud (and quite awfully) to your favorite song.
21 miles to go. Your stomach grumbles. You long for some Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
17 miles to go. You grow nervous when you see a stretch of giant black and purple clouds that you’re headed straight for.
Soon the rain picks up, and then it’s pouring. Immediately you sit up straighter in your seat with a death grip on the wheel. Your pulse beats faster. After a minute you go to turn up the wiper speed and find you already had it on the highest setting. Another minute and you can’t see the lane lines anymore. Your only guide is the rear lights of the SUV in front of you. You try to take deep breaths to calm yourself. It isn’t working.
You try to rationalize the situation while adrenaline pumps fiercely through your veins. Do you pull over on the side of the road and wait it out? Perhaps that’s best. Then, you wouldn’t be driving through a panic attack. But then you worry about hydroplaning when you start to rapidly accelerate again. And you have a slightly unrealistic fear that a serial killer will find you parked on the side of the road and drag you through the mud into the woods…
No. You decide to drive on through your fear. You can do this. Before you know it, you’ll be home. You take a deep breath, and slow down to about forty miles-per-hour. You’re more comfortable at this speed. This could actually work. You turn up the radio even louder, give yourself a mental pep talk, and drive on.
13 miles to go. You can start to see the lane lines again. You feel your shoulders start to relax.
10 miles to go. The rain has finally slowed down and your wipers no longer have to work frantically. Your death grip on the steering wheel loosens back to normal.
7 miles to go. You merge off the highway and the rain has finally stopped. Your feel your pulse go back to a steady, normal pace. You feel a huge surge of relief as you drive the rest of the way home.
Soon, you find yourself back in your neighborhood, pulling into your driveway. You turn the car off and lay your head against the headrest and close your eyes in relief. Home. You have finally made it home. Though it was one hell of a journey, you are proud of yourself. You have conquered one of your fears and made it out in one peace. With a satisfied smile, you walk into your home, happy to be back from a long day of work.