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Learning to cope with a potentially stressful task


Well they say life’s a learning game … so I’ve found a new, stressful pastime which is nothing to do with the world of work.

Now that he’s seventeen, I realise that there’s been quite a long phase when I haven’t noticeably had to teach my son anything.  Learning the 24 hour clock and how to tie his shoelaces (when he’s right handed and I’m left) are the two tasks which, many years later, stick with me as “challenging” experiences.  They also made me realise, if I hadn’t already, that teaching others would probably never be a natural forte of mine.

Maybe I should have tried to resurrect those feelings before I embarked on my current task … providing a car and acting as qualified driver to allow him to get some driving practice in before his test.  I think the last time my tongue has stuck to the roof of my mouth so drastically was when I was 3 metres above the piste having mistaken a cleverly disguised ski-jump for a mogul!

The thing is, so far, his driving isn’t the problem – it’s my attitude to it which is causing the tension.  Thankfully, not between us, a cross word hasn’t yet been exchanged and outwardly I’m the epitome of calm.  No, the tension firmly exists between my teeth and jaw clenching caused by my brain convincing itself that “any time now …!”

So, I decided to have a long, hard talk with myself and arrived at the conclusion that this behaviour was going to get me nowhere. I now breathe deeply (although not so loudly that it’s off-putting) and wipe my mind of all thoughts to ensure that I live totally in the present during our driving time.

The result?  Much better, thank you … although I did have a dream the other night that we drove across a bridge which had collapsed in the middle and woke up as we plunged into the freezing cold water, unable to escape through the doors or windows.  Just goes to show that the brain’s a tricky little muscle, isn’t it?

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