Periodically, I will opt for my Honda instead of the train and drive into the city for my workday. I absolutely love the train and the ease it provides for me getting to and from Chicago. However, the train tends to be a pretty serious social hour for me and when you are as busy as I am, sometimes a solo drive is exactly what one needs to start the day. My lone commute allows me to get focused and sometimes, even find a reason to be grateful. Probably not the sentiment you were expecting in relation to early morning commutes and rush hour traffic, however, it’s quiet and my mind feels clearer after a short trip of uninterrupted thought and day dreaming. If I am really lucky, it’s 6AM when I get on the road and the sun is rising behind the city skyline in a way that is so magnificent it feels a little like I am driving into a different city and seeing it for the very first time. That was my drive this morning. As I maneuvered into traffic on the Ike, a fleeting thought that this drive was going to suck entered my brain and then I looked ahead and saw the sun rising behind one of the greatest skylines in the world. I thought, “How lucky am I that I get to be a part of this on a daily basis?” For so many people, the drive to work every morning is a dreaded experience. No one likes traffic. People are busy and our lives are faster and more rushed than ever. But the rat race doesn’t have to be a miserable experience. In fact, it can be quite the opposite.
This is a list of six reasons why my solo morning commute kind of rules.
- The view can be spectacular. No, the landscape around here isn’t mountains or oceans. However, the city skyline in Chicago is one to be reckoned with. I have yet to meet a skyline that can wow me like the Windy City. Each season’s sky changes the backdrop of the city as I head east. I can always tell when fall is approaching, because the sky changes even before the leaves turn. An autumn sky makes my heart go pitter patter.
- 45 minutes of uninterrupted “me time” is essential. When I was a kid I remember getting in my mom’s car and turning on the radio. My mom would often turn it right off. I would say ,”What gives, man?” Her response, ” I need silence.” Well, now I understand what she meant. Life is noisy. ESPECIALLY if there are kids. When you have an opportunity to experience some quiet, take it and embrace it. Silence is good for the mind and the soul.
- Sometimes the quiet can evoke emotion. I don’t know how else to put this. When I am in my car, sometimes I shed a couple of tears. I guess the quiet allows me to think. I will very often reflect about my mom. Sometimes, my little mini-trips down memory lane make me sad. I miss the mom I used to know. But don’t think I am all goose-honk blowing my nose sobbing. It’s not like that. I am okay. More than okay! It’s more of a cleansing experience and, let’s be honest, we can all use a good cry once in a while.
- Music is my medicine. Perhaps you did not know this about me, but I am with the band. I love saying that. It makes me laugh. I have to learn songs and memorize lots of words and learn harmonies (I blow at this) and momma doesn’t have a lot of extra time to jam. So, when I am done sitting in silence, either daydreaming or crying, or both, I listen to music. Sometimes I listen to the same song over and over and over again. And guess what? I fucking love it. It is the most therapeutic and mindful thing I do and I always feel happy after I bust out some tune-age. My brain and my soul are happy.
- Coffee tastes better while you are driving. Coffee and the morning commute go hand in hand. One cannot have one without the other. I very rarely finish a cup of coffee, unless I am behind the wheel. When I get to the bottom of my mug, I know I am yet another step closer to heading in the right direction as I can now fully function as a human.
- The creative juices flow. I have some of my best and brightest ideas when I am alone in the car with just me. The time spent in my own head with uninterrupted silence leads to endless blog boners or BB’s as we like to call them over in TSP Land. Quiet time encourages creative awakenings. A cluttered mind with lots of noise does the exact opposite.
Next time you are solo in the car and traffic is trying to get you down, look up. Perhaps the greatest view is staring back at you.
Love it. Live it. Share it.