We all have our little peeves about our lives, moments we wish would just go away or small annoyances which should just flap off and leave us well enough alone. Some of us have annoying co-workers, others have annoying jobs. In an article I read recently, I stumbled over an interesting passage:
“The number comes from National Geographic fellow and author of Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way Dan Buettner. In an interview with NPR, Buettner says:
When you look at Americans’ day-to-day activity … the top two things we hate the most on a day-to-day basis is, No. 1: housework and No. 2: the daily commute in our cars. In fact, if you can cut an hourlong commute each way out of your life, it’s the [happiness] equivalent of making up an extra $40,000 a year if you’re at the $50- to $60,000 level. Huge … [So] it’s an easy way for us to get happier. Move closer to your place of work.“
Now, me, personally – I enjoy housework. I try to do some cleaning whenever the family is out of the house and it’s just me, my tunes, and the vacuum. Do I occasionally bust out in some sick dance moves? Maybe. Do I love making dirty things clean again? Absolutely.
Buuuuut this post isn’t about housework.
It’s about the morning commute. My morning commute.
The house where I live is about a two-minute drive from the building where I spend most of my working hours as a chef. All on the property of the family business, of course. I trot out of the house (usually a minute or two later than I should like) and hop in the car. The air is always chilly. It’s 9,000 feet up in the mountains here – anytime before seven in the morning is just plain cold, and work starts early out in the country. The parking area is a short walk away from the kitchen.
For years, I just stuffed my hands in my pockets and prayed my coffee would kick in. I’d walk a little faster, hope a little harder, and just try to keep my head above water. I suppose that’s the thing when you’re tossed into a complicated occupation young. You either sink or swim, but learning to swim can lead to a bit of water burning the lungs along the way. Or maybe just when a not-morning person is tossed into a morning person sort of job. At any rate, I’d say I’m getting this whole breathing above water thing down. I even balance my checkbook and pay my taxes in my time off… like a grown up. *sticks thumbs through belt loops* So grown up.
Anyhow, when I heard about this commute statistic, I just thought ‘Wow. Even I don’t like my commute, and it’s closer to falling out of bed and into the workplace than most peoples’ time in the car.’ Even I must admit how dearly I should love to have that extra couple or minutes before the work of the day begins. And that’s just a couple of minutes! Forget an /hour/ in the car /each/ way. Sheesh!
Then I thought to myself that I was being a whiny little baby and if there is something unlovely which can be made lovely – one should always do that thing!
Just do it!
So I take a second now, sometimes it’s only the barest pause, on my way into work. I say hello to the rabbit who scampers through the rocks to my right or listen to the songbird trilling in the willows to my left.
The cold doesn’t bother me, but I still tuck my fingers in my pockets while the sun creeps over the mountains at my back.
My commute, my moment in the morning before I begin my labors, is a moment of quiet solitude I have learned to appreciate (though ‘enjoy’ might be a stretch).
Of course, Saturdays are different. Saturdays, we have the breakfast ride. And two Saturdays ago, the mist rolled out as my dad, my grandfather, and I rolled in, and it was /breathtaking/!
Best commute ever!
Do you have a commute? Is there something you do to make it less tedious – good music, a good friend, or a good audio book? How is the view from where you’re standing? Is it as pretty as mine? ‘Cause, I’m pretty biased, but… Lord, do those mountains look pretty in the morning light.