I had a dream last night that I missed the train home from work. It wasn’t the worst thing to happen; there would be another one within the hour. Some say the importance of a dream from which you wake is how it makes you feel … this one made me feel stressed.
Then I realized I no longer commute and went back to sleep. Ahh, what great joy!
I’ve worked remotely for nearly four years now and am truly grateful I no longer have a commute. I’m up early with no alarm — usually by six am. With my coffee at hand, I can focus on writing and other projects when I’m at my creative best. Somedays, I can get a solid two or three hours in before I have to prep for my first video meetings of the day. I’ll take a workout break in my home gym or take a walk to clear my brain. Then, when my day ends, I simply shut down my system and walk into the living room or kitchen wherever Judy and Enzo are to enjoy my evening.
That’s a far cry from the days the alarm would screech at me at 4:45 so I could jump in the shower, wolf down some oatmeal, and wake Judy up to drive me to the train station. It was only a few minutes drive and we’d often hear the plaintive horn echo through the darkened valley as we crossed the bridge just as the 5:08 pulled into the depot. The saving grace was the romanticism of train travel … until the reality of the 2-½ hour commute hits and you realize you have to do it over again at the end of the day.
Furthermore, recent images of the maze of cars on the San Diego Freeway in west Los Angeles (a regular route for me in my 20s and 30s) just before Thanksgiving reminded me why I hated commuting by car. I love driving, but sitting in stop and go traffic on the 405 was the worst.
COVID gave millions of people the chance to experience an across-the-house commute like the one I’ve had since 2019, but it also gave us all a clear view of what’s missing without it. I met a lot of nice people on the train, took care of paperwork and even had the chance (especially on my driving commutes) to organize my thoughts and work through problems. I’m grateful for my non-commute and love the time it frees up in my day … but to be honest, there are times I miss the old way, too.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Don’t forget to schedule a vacation or two at the end of your commute.
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