I tried to hide it for years, but I think now I’m coming to terms with it.
I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 28. I was always the odd one out. Of course, most of my friends had their driver’s licenses when they were 16. There were a plethora of reasons I stated whenever questioned about why I didn’t have it. My Grand Rapids Press internship took up most of my free time. Freshmen weren’t allowed to drive cars on campus at the college I attended. All of my friends had cars and drove me everywhere we wanted to go. Car insurance was more expensive than the car I would be driving. The list went on and on.
Of course, the truth was, I was deathly afraid of driving. My mother never drove and her fear of driving landed squarely on my shoulders. Add to that a drama-filled driving lesson with my father that ended in tears and threats and I felt that life as a pedestrian was a better, more peaceful existence if I could get away with it. All the while, I felt like a throw-back to the turn of the twentieth century. In any event, through trial and error, I fought my fears and got my license a few months after my 28th birthday.
My niece turns 18 this year and will be headed off to U of M in the Fall. She doesn’t have her driver’s license, has very little driving experience under her belt and has no solid plans to rectify the situation. Hmm. Sounds familiar.
Then, I saw this article trending today. Apparently, Generation Y-ers aren’t driven to drive, with 26% of Americans between the age of 16-34 opting out of getting a license. More than ever before. I guess I’m not alone…and neither is my niece. Apparently, not having a driver’s license is a very modern thing. Instead, Gen Y-er’s are riding bikes, mopeds and using public transportation in droves. The arguments go from it being better for the environment to being cheaper on the pockets.
As a long-term pedestrian and, now, avid driver, I can see both sides of the divide. I have to admit, though, that I do not miss standing atop mounds of snow while waiting for the bus.