I’m Trying to Get My Life in Gear But I Keep Releasing the Clutch Too Quickly and Stalling.

I turn 23 in a couple of weeks and, although I physically resemble an adult, I often feel much younger on the inside.

As a result, I am always looking around for things to confirm my status as an official grown-up in the hope that I will eventually be able to convince my inner self that I actually I am one.

In his iconic song ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’, Bob Dylan asks the question ‘How many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?’

Whilst I do not know the exact answer to Bob’s question and have no ambitions of becoming a man, I imagine that the whole process of becoming an adult would be a lot quicker if you just drove there instead.

So, last year, I decided to learn how to drive.

Driving lessons are quite expensive so I decided to try and accelerate the learning process by asking my mum to help me practice in between them.

I thought that my mum would be a good candidate for the job because she had previously taught me to ride a bike as a child.

However, for some reason, she seemed reluctant to resume her role as instructor.

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(N.B. – My mum did make me wear a helmet, I just forgot to draw it. I thought I’d mention that just in case any of you were concerned for my safety – although I think my decision to ride down a steep hill with complete faith in my legs’ ability to act as an effective breaking system proves that no amount of protective gear would have prevented me from being a danger to myself…)

My mum is a very cautious driver with a high regard for motoring safety.

14 (3)_LI141As a result, the prospect of giving me complete control of a moving vehicle made her incredibly anxious.

In an attempt to ease her nerves, I decided to demonstrate my ability to control the car by driving at 10 mph around a suburban cul-de-sac.

However, by the way my mum was reacting, I may as well have been trying to set a world speed record on the salt flats of Utah.

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When I first started driving with my mum, I was initially quite calm.

I had taken nine driving lessons with a qualified instructor and was confident in my ability to control the car.

I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

However, my mum’s anxiety was so high in relation to mine that it began to diffuse along a concentration gradient until the panic was evenly spread between us and we were both infused with the same sense of impending doom.

11_LI12_LI13910In order to diffuse some of the tension, I decided to put some calming music on but its effect was limited by the sounds of my mum having a panic attack over the soundtrack at regular intervals.

In the end, it was a bit like an episode James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke except, instead of a celebrity singing their iconic hits, there was just my mum periodically shouting ‘easy on the clutch’ and ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ over the Relax and Unwind playlist on Spotify.

Driving can be a stressful experience all round.

In everyday life, the majority of people tend to be quite considerate and respectful towards other people.

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However, when driving, our tolerance for others drastically decreases.

Any sense of social convention rapidly disintegrates, something which is magnified by the fact that the car itself provides a physical barrier behind which the driver is able to conceal their identity.

This allows drivers to feel comfortable expressing what would otherwise be a socially inappropriate level of rage with the same sense of anonymity as an internet troll.

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Many people try to make the experience of driving less stressful by investing in a Sat Nav to help them navigate.

Like most technology, a Sat Nav is the best thing ever until it stops working properly, at which point it immediately becomes the worst thing in existence.

Normally, a Sat Nav will give you precise directions to help you get to your destination in the fastest time possible.

However, occasionally the GPS system will malfunction and it will start instructing you to complete manoeuvres that the physical set up of the road renders impossible.

When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated.

In contrast, the Sat Nav’s voice remains completely calm and serene, blissfully ignorant of your own increasing levels of irritation.

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If you enjoyed this post, feel free to check out some of my other posts. I often have profound thoughts on important, life-affirming subjects such as dogs, social awkwardness and scary animals that freak me out.

For more drawings, you can also follow me on Instagram.

Festive Eating – The Art of Consuming Enough Food to Find Yourself on the Verge of Exceeding the Physical Capacity of Your Stomach and Then Somehow Managing to Make Your Way Through an Entire Box of Chocolates.

Christmas food is in a league of its own.

In the 21st century, there is increased awareness of the health risks of excessive eating and therefore the majority of people tend to exert a bit of control over what they eat.

Not at Christmas.

Every time we substitute chips with salad, deny ourselves a slice of cake or practice any other form of culinary self-control, a little bit of tension is stored within us.

All of this tension is released on Christmas day.

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The sheer mass of food present at Christmas is enough to intimidate most people.

Food is everywhere.

Some items of food are served within other items of food, like Inception but with calories instead of dreams.

People buy presents that are specifically targeted to further increase their ability to consume food and drink.

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It is impossible to escape from the near continuous torrent of food.

The abundance and accessibility of food induces you eat at a rate beyond that which you would have previously perceived possible.

Items of food are often actively brought to you by other members of the family who are  trying to offload them onto you in a desperate attempt to halt their own unstoppable consumption.

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It is likely that members of your family will have prepared dishes which they look upon with the same sense of pride that Michelangelo experienced upon the completion of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling.

It is therefore hard not to experience a sense of obligation when they offer you a portion of their culinary magnum opus.

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Christmas day is a bit like Black Friday for your stomach in that it receives an unprecedented amount of business, all the digestive enzymes that work there get overly stressed and eventually everything implodes, leaving stranded you in a state of comatose on the sofa.

The physical consequences of this implosion normally manifest themselves when you attempt to dress yourself on Boxing Day and closing the zip on your jeans is the equivalent of squeezing said jeans, along with various other items of clothing, into an undersized suitcase before you go on holiday.

Once Christmas Day has passed, you are unsure if you will ever need to eat again.

However, on New Year’s Eve, the calories strike back in the form of alcoholic drinks.

New Year’s Eve calories are much more subtle than Christmas calories.

Not only is it hard to consider a liquid calorific, the more alcohol you ingest, the more intoxicated you become and the less aware you are of how calories work.

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Unless you possess an uncommonly high metabolism, it is impossible to consume vast quantities of food and without it exerting adverse effects on your waistline.

In order to counteract the calorific onslaught of Christmas day and New Year’s Eve, many people decide to take up running.

Running is similar to eating in that if you do for long enough it makes you feel sick.

When you first start running, it seems that everyone you pass doesn’t appear to be struggling as much as much as you are.

This may be because these people are just really fit.

However, it is comforting to imagine that a significant amount of people are just maintaining an illusion of fitness in order to appear impressive for as long as it takes to fully pass another person.

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