Vaccines are now being distributed to the general population, so lots of people are heading back into the office! More people in the office, however, equals more people on the road. For the first time in my life I’m experiencing an actual work commute, traffic and all. My work to home drive has increased a solid 30 minutes, now taking me over an hour to get home. If you’re heading back into the office (or into the office for the first time!) you may be in the same boat — or, um, car.
My “I refuse to just sit and relax” mentality finds this incredibly frustrating. I usually end up doing one of two things: a. getting super restless, or b. overthinking all the things I need to get done at work the next day (who can relate?). But, I’ve realized there are a lot of meaningful life lessons that can come from sitting in traffic, and keeping these things in mind makes the drive a little more bearable.
Here’s a few of the realizations I’ve had from inching along the I-5:
Patience is Rewarding
Getting frustrated about the time its taking to get somewhere isn’t going to change the fact that google maps is telling me there’s still 44 minutes left to go. Not everything in life is going to be on the timeline, or come in the ways you might be expecting. Staying patient and staying the course can sometimes be the best way to get to where you want to go.
Unexpected Things Will Be Thrown Your Way
And that's okay! They call them "bumps in the road" for a reason. Whether they are literal or figurative ones, know you have the ability to roll over them and keep moving forward. You may not be expecting a lot of things that life throws at ya, so being able to stay flexible and make quick adjustments is difficult, but essential. This includes a quick swerve away from another car on the road.
You Can’t Control The People Around You
You can only control yourself. Yes, it would make sense if we all merged in a zipper-like motion, but some people have their own (totally bonkers) merging plans. To you, it may not make much sense why cutting someone off just to get TWO cars ahead is a big deal, but you can’t control the people around you. As cliche as it is, you can only respond to how you react the difficult or confusing situations that arise.
It’s Okay To Be Alone With Your Thoughts
I'm not advocating driving in complete silence — ew. Podcasts and Spotfiy playlists all the way. But my commutes have taught me that sometimes just solid alone time is good for the soul. Having time to reflect — on your day, on your plans, on your feelings, is a good thing. Time in the car can be one of those uninterrupted moments where you can check in with yourself, even if that just means jamming along to your favorite song.
Sometimes You Have to Change Your Course
Rerouting! There are days when no matter how much I want my drive to go a certain way, it just doesn't. That's when it's time to re-evaluate. Instead of sitting in an extra thirty minutes of traffic, pull over and grab some dinner or enjoy the sunset from your car. Life brings plenty of times where my path or timeline is completely derailed, serving as a reminder that you can't plan out everything, and sometimes courses change for a reason.
So, while I may never love commuting - I'm learning to appreciate the little lessons along the way!