I started to drive home through the empty, dark industrial area of a small town. I paused at an empty intersection of two empty streets, turned the corner and then paused at another empty intersection of two more empty streets. I turned onto the highway and sirens turned on behind me.
"Did you know that you rolled through not one, but two, stop signs just now?"
"Um, yes, I guess I did."
"Because it's midnight and you can see miles in all directions and it's very quiet out here, I'm going to let this go with a warning. Stop means stop. It doesn't mean slow down and look both ways. Oh, and your license expired three years ago tomorrow. If you don't renew that right away they will take it away and you'll have to take both the written and the driving test again."
Because it was after midnight, technically even my grace period had already expired. Driving home I was freaking out just a bit. How could I get to my job in the country without a license to drive a vehicle? I HAD to drive. So, on my birthday, I walked in the registry and got it renewed. No test, just a bit of a lecture.
Every five years you have to get it renewed. So here's my timeline:
Age 19 - got my license
Age 24 - renewed it
Age 29 - had it taken away because I got an Australian license.
You can only hold a permanent license in one country at a time.
Age 31 - Back in Canada. Got another license, but had no permanent
home in Canada. Living with friends, I gave their address as my
own. I think all reminders for renewal must have been sent
there. I didn't get them. How often do you think about little
things like that? And looking back, I wonder why they only gave me three
years before expiry that time.
Age 34 - Due for renewal, but missed it.
Age 37 - renewed three years late!
Age 42 (today!) - Am carrying a temporary license which was renewed
I was sure this year I wouldn't leave it until the last minute, and I didn't. The day before expiry I renewed it. See how much I've changed over the years? No more procrastination for me!
So, to get back to the title of this post, what was changed then? Well, I no longer work until midnight unless I want to. I no longer believe that things will totally fall apart if I don't do them myself or if I don't do them right now. And certainly no job I've ever held (besides mothering) is so important that I will give up loads of family and home time.
I think that for the first time in my life I have a job that I love. And I don't have bosses making me feel incompetent.
The other thing that has changed is that my body is falling apart. Every year it's a new thing (my back, my knees, my elbow...), but that's okay. Nothing is serious and I love my more laid-back life of being a mother and a homemaker. It's all good.
Happy birthday to me!