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Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Driving License Renewal and Stress

Image of a crowded DMV office

Renewing a driver’s license can be stressful! When you need to renew your driving license, it’s smart to make an appointment ahead of time with your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). At least this is the case in California, where I reside. Having an appointment will reduce your stress. But this is only the beginning of my experience, which I share with you for your benefit.

California and other states in the USA now offer two types of driver’s licenses: one for the state only and one that qualifies for federal identification—including airline security. Before you apply for a new driver’s license or for a license renewal, review this information to reduce your stress and frustration.

Assumptions Lead to Stress

Allow me to digress for a moment. People have told me that just reading the first chapter of my Live Without Stress book is worth the entire investment. The chapter is about ASSUMPTIONS. In the chapter, I assert that assumptions are the source of more problems, difficulties, and needless stress than any thing else.  My drivers license experience is but one simple example.

Here is my story that can save you much frustration and stress.

With more programs going online—including government sites—I should NOT have assumed that since I had renewed my driver’s license a few times before that THIS time the procedure would be the same. WRONG!

Planning Reduces Stress

I arrived at my closest DMV office on time. But this was only because I left for the appointment way ahead of my appointed time. This was a smart move because I had to park my car two blocks away from the DMV office before I could find a legal parking spot.

After arriving on time, I only waited 15 minutes before I was next in line. That’s when I was asked the question, “Do you want a California driver’s license or a federal license?” The federal driver’s license would allow me to go through airline security at airports in order to fly. Having spoken in 25 countries and visited at least 10 more, and intending to continue travelling, I opted for the federal driving license.

Then came the question, “May I see your passport, social security card, and proof of current residence?”

I was dumbfounded—and was informed that this information is readily apparent on the DMV’s website.

Since I was already at the DMV office, I decided to take the ticket to be called and wait for my picture and my written exam to be taken. I figured that after these requirements I would go home and return with the required documents.

After waiting for 30 minutes, the following announcement was heard, “Please be patient; our website is down and we will do our best to fix it as soon as possible.”

Communication Reduces Stress

Knowing that all negotiations are relationships to some degree, I spotted the person who I thought I could deal with because I saw him walking around to different DMV stations. I told him my dilemma and asked if I could return to my residence, procure the required documents, and NOT lose my place in line. He said “No,” but he would see what he could do after I returned with the documents.

I returned home and had my lunch. After eating, I picked up my passport, social security card, and my electric bill proving of my residence. I then returned to the DMV office. Immediately, I informed the DMV official with whom I had previously spoken, and I waited hardly any time before my new number was called. I had my picture taken and passed the written exam, which was not written; the driving license test was taken on a computer screen.

Follow this stress-reducing tip: Don’t assume things are the same. Before visiting any governmental agency, local or national, visit their website.


Live Without Stress

Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at PiperPress.com.


Dr. Marvin Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
Piper Press
Phone: 559.329.5232