Educators. Students. Community members. Much more unites us than divides us, particularly knowing we all wear multiple hats. Building relationships. Thinking BIG.
Challenging and supporting one another. Developing engaged, empathetic citizens. Please join me in pondering how best to nurture these common ground connections.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

More Reflections

"Driving in traffic is a different kind of hell every day," one of my colleagues quotes a Harvard University psychologist, Daniel Gilbert. "Tell me about it!" I retort. "Never used to bother me, but these days, I really wish I lived close to school! Where did you find the quote and what's the context?"

The article he quoted from is "Critical Mass," by Jonah Lehrer. (SEED, June 2009) It's worth the read, especially if you're like my husband and I. Driving. Driving. Driving. (Or taking the train...) And being worn down by the very thought. Honestly, I've developed a permanent back ache from sitting in my Civic all these years!

In truth, I'm finding myself in a very reflective mood these days. And there are times when the reflection I "see" is a surprise to me. It's both exciting and unsettling, but the beginning to all honest growth always is, I suppose. One thing that has been on my mind is how badly I wish I could take back all the lost minutes of my life that have been spent in a car commuting to and from work over the past fifteen years. But of course, hindsight is 20/20...

Twelve years ago, when my husband and I purchased our home, we did so for more than just the ridiculous size "bang for the buck" we could get; we were looking at schools, affordability, safety, and mostly location. At the time, it was necessary to be close to my parents-in-law; they were both needing extra support for health reasons. Unfortunately, our plan was short-sighted. Don't get me wrong. I have incredibly fond memories of family gatherings, comfortable conversations and warm connections taking place in our home. I also have a treasured peace of mind being a full-time working mom. I've always felt the reassurance that my daughters were safe and our neighbors were really looking out for them. (And of course, we have the best neighbors in the world right next door to us! I wouldn't give that up for anything!)

But, the time I've lost driving has really weighed on my mind these days. Perhaps that's because my girls are older. Not existing in two different worlds would be a welcomed new peace of mind for me. So why did we stay once the parents-in-law no longer needed us? A host of reasons. But none worth mentioning seem to surface at the moment!

"A person with a one-hour commute has to earn 40 percent more money to be as satisfied with life as someone who walks to the office."

Hmmm...Anyone have a cheap helicopter for sale?


David said...

You know, for 2 years, I finally had a 10 minute commute. It was beautiful. I felt so accessible. I could go home for lunch if I wanted. Now I have a 40-60 min commute and it blows. The only thing I like about it is the time to myself. I can think or listen to books on cd and make that time somewhat transitional from work to home. 10 minutes was never enough time to purge work from my brain. Now, 25 minutes would be sufficient for that, however.
The other thing that blows about being in the car for that long is the tension that builds from driving. I consciously tried to relax my shoulders, back and stomach only to find them wrenching 5 minutes later. Train was easier for that.

hsw said...

My dad, who sometimes has to commute 2-4 hours a day, swears by these recordings as a way to make his time in the car useful

They're lectures by university professors on a wide variety of subjects, from literature to history to science to religion.

smilinggreenmom said...

Hey! My husband has had terrible lower back pain from years of working on a golf course (hard hard labor) and now when we take drives it really aggravates it! You oughta try Topricin natural pain cream for it - ice for minor aches and inflammation! Interesting article!