Mature Process

So often I’ve compared a given experience to learning to drive a standard. You know, with the clutch.

Today’s new drivers aren’t as likely to learn to drive this way, since most new cars today are automatic (and have been for a long time). But once upon a time, at least in my neighborhood, if you were a teenager and wanted a car, you took your official driving lessons in an automatic (the school provided  lessons once you passed Safety Ed.) and a family member took on the task of teaching you to drive a 5-speed.

You learned because a standard cost about 25 percent less than an automatic. That’s a lot of money with that price tag. Besides, there’s more power in shifting gears. More control. More attitude.

However, it’s a frustrating process. You know what you’re supposed to do, you swear you’re doing it and still it doesn’t work. That’s not the only swearing, typically. Your first teacher gives up after sharing a few choice words and passes the task on to the next unsuspecting volunteer.

frustrationThen one day, you get it. It works. You no longer are stopped at a green light, praying you won’t stall again. There’s the occasional slip-up, sure, but you now know how to drive a standard.

Other learning experiences mimic that process. For me, it was math.  Particularly algebra. I struggled and struggled until miraculously, the light broke through. Lucky for me, my high school math teacher watched my process and understood why I went from Ds to As, virtually overnight.

I wasn’t so lucky in college, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve seen men and women take on knitting, something that is second nature to me, and talk themselves through every labored stitch. “I’ll never get it,” they might moan, but I assure them, it will happen. Just keep breaking in those new pathways in the brain.

Driving, calculating, knitting.  It takes time, but the battle is part of the joy. By the way, I impressed the heck out of a KFC worker a few years back when I pulled up in my 5-speed Corolla. “I’ve never seen a woman drive a standard,” he marveled. Ah, the passing of time. The needs, and therefore the skills, change.


So whatever you’re learning, stay with it until that breakthrough.  Actually, I’m not going to say never give up. There is always a time to move on. Just don’t give up before the process is complete, and your frustration has matured and born fruit.


Image Credits: (Light Bulbs) © Dmitry Guzhanin –; (Frustrated Woman) © ivector —; (Woman in Car) courtesy of Pixabay.


10 Replies to “Mature Process”

  1. I just had lunch with a friend today who shared her remarkable experience driving a standard – another friend chimed in about her terror while learning. Of course, their bravery is something they are remembering.
    I never learned to drive with a clutch, but I appreciate all the skills from my past and present. I see with the aging process how precious they are and I hope to hang onto everything as long as possible. My guitar playing is especially taxing, but certainly amazes me with my use of finger dexterity and chord memory.
    I do agree with you how important it is to continue learning new skills!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think guitar playing could be another example of this process. You believe you’ve got it right, but it doesn’t sound the way it’s supposed to, until one day your mind and body shift into doing it right (no pun relative to my post intended!). So many examples.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great analogy Belinda!! I’m in the process of learning how to play the piano and I was just listening to a song I am writing that I recorded a few weeks ago. I marveled at how far I have come because I didn’t think I had! I learned to drive with an automatic but loved standards and learned how to drive one. After that when I bought my first car, after my parents hand me down, I bought a standard and had one most of my driving life. Just a few years back I switched to an automatic, I like it, but not nearly as much fun. Plus they’re great for driving in the snow. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It was strange to read this as in the UK a manual gearbox is the norm. If you pass your test here driving an automatic, you’re stuck with it unless you take another test in a manual. I know what you mean about suddenly it just clicks. Learning to touch type is another, seems impossible until one day it just all falls into place. The brain never ceases to amaze me how it works, a little miracle inside all our heads.

    Liked by 1 person

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