Six months ago, I started taking the bus to work. I was fed up with my commute to the point of tears. I had actually been fed up for quite some time but I reached a breaking point last September. I decided to stop letting my commute ruin my life and take control of what I could change.
My husband graciously took a morning off of work to accompany me on the bus & show me the ropes. Being my over-anxious self, poor Rusty spent most of the morning – and, honestly, the whole night before – listening to me obsess over my upcoming adventure. You would have thought we were going halfway across the country in a hot-air balloon. I had multiple route maps, Mapquest city maps, fare information, and a million questions (“Can I bring my coffee on the bus?” “How do you know what time it comes?” “What if I miss it?” “What if I miss my stop?” “How do I get back home?” “I’ll be bringing my lunch to work. Will I get in trouble for bringing food on the bus?” “What if there’s not a seat?” “Do you pay when you get on or off?” “What if I do it wrong?” “What if I end up in Tacoma?”).
[Brief chuckle so I can laugh at myself for a moment. BTW, the answer to that last question was either “I’ll come get you” or “You get off the bus, cross the street, and catch a bus going back the other direction.” I’m not entirely sure where we landed on that one.]
Now, I LOVE taking the bus. It is my time machine. I get one hour every morning and one hour every afternoon that is all mine. I have read more books in the last 6 months than I have in the last 6 years. I don’t need any “down-time” when I get home, I already got it on the bus. Plus, I save about $50 a week on gas for my 44-mile round-trip commute. Metro has turned into an answer to prayer for this woman!!!
While multi-tasking may or may not be a smart way to maximize your available time (“It’s great! You can get so much done!” “It’s awful! You get less done than if you would have just done one thing at a time!”), for me this love affair with public transportation has been a real demonstration of “finding” time that I didn’t think was possible.
While it might not be possible for most people to find 2 solid hours of unused time each day, I would argue that most of us have some time that could be used more wisely, efficiently, or just plain better. Whether it’s unloading the dishwasher while the dinner is simmering on the stove, or paying bills while watching a TV show (or just turning off the TV!), there can be “found moments” everywhere.
I had been trapped in my commute for years – no hope of changing it, watching time tick by unused, draining my energy & enthusiasm for both my work and family, and watching crawling traffic guzzle up 1/4 tank of gas a day. Once I got fed up enough to figure out what I could change (the method of transportation), I started letting go of what I could not change (the traffic problem).
Sometimes in life, we don’t have any control over the problem – but we certainly have control over the method. What methods might you be able to change?
You might be able to reduce your stress, increase your productivity, or just let go of those problems that aren’t yours to solve. Or maybe, just maybe, you might find a time machine. It probably won’t be as cool as my Metro, but it’s a start! 🙂