I PASSED my driving test last week. A sentence that for many years - decades in fact - I couldn’t have imagined whispering quietly in my head, never mind typing on this page.

Driving was my Achilles heel. I didn’t start when I turned 17. I made a half-hearted attempt with a few lessons at 21. Then nothing. Non-driver simply became part of my identity. I seemed as likely to pilot a space shuttle to Mars as get behind the wheel of a car.

It was a status quo further cemented by the fact that I spent my twenties and thirties living in cities. All the amenities I needed were within walking distance or easily reached with a short hop on public transport.

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When I did need to travel further afield, I was adept at finding ways to get there no matter how many planes, trains, buses, taxis and thumbed lifts it took. Joining up two dots on a map by creative means became second nature. I was destined to be a forever “passenger princess”.

Then, in the summer of 2022, something shifted. Maybe it was a midlife crisis of sorts, perhaps I was fed up being crippled by inertia or simply craving greater freedom.

As I sat in the garden on a balmy July evening, I scribbled down a list of aspirations. Watching the colours of the sunset fade and a handful of twinkling stars appear, I said it out loud to the universe: I am going to learn how to drive.

It took me another four months to pluck up the courage to actually book lessons. I found a brilliant instructor, Richard, and we clicked straight away. My first lesson was on a cold November morning, a fortnight shy of my 45th birthday.

Richard gave me a workbook with lesson plans and a section to log my goals. On the opening page, I wrote: “To move forward in a straight line”. And one day became day one.

It wasn’t easy. But I kept going. As the months ticked by, my confidence grew. Then came the final hurdle. I kept putting my practical test date back until the ever-patient Richard stepped in to say: “It’s time. You’re ready.”

The big day loomed in mid-December. I didn’t pass first time - a daft error with positioning on a roundabout - but even sitting my test felt like a huge milestone.

Mindset is everything. You can either let failure stop you in your tracks or see it as a building block on the path to success.

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I wasn’t disappointed; rather it brought a much-needed epiphany. I realised I was within touching distance of the finish line. And with this new-found self-belief, a fire was lit.

We went back out there and practised roundabouts until I was seeing them in my sleep. A month later I sat in an Airdrie car park, holding the piece of pale blue paper that said I had passed.

I often think in moments like these how fun it would be to jump in a time machine and travel back to tell the past version of me how it all unfolded. The resilience built with every setback and the joy sparked in the small victories on the march to conquering a hard-fought war with yourself.

When I moved on from my first job as a trainee reporter in 2000, my then-colleagues - as is newspaper tradition - made a mock front page as a leaving gift. The headline included a jokey reference to me being “the world’s oldest non-driver”. I was 22.

Now, here I am, at 46. Absolutely thrilled to bits to have passed my driving test. Proof that it is never too late to chase and fulfil your dreams.

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