Mindful Episode 1: Commute

Today, I woke up cranky. I did not want to go to work. Can’t the kids just teach themselves for a day? I quickly got my sh*t together and got dressed for work, still very cranky. I got into my car and told myself to calm down. “What are you upset about? Pretty much nothing. Have a good day, Jeanette!”

I thought back to a book I had finished the week before, Slow. It discusses the ideas of mindfulness in a chapter, and how the act of being a mindful person can result in a happier life. So I decided that I would have a mindful commute, and this is what I noticed.

#1 – A beautiful sunrise

Not the sunrise from that morning, but one I appreciated while in Israel

The downside to winter is that there seems to be negative hours of sunlight. Some days it feels like it’s dark when I leave home in the morning and when I leave work in the afternoon. That can be depressing AF, especially for a person who doesn’t tolerate the cold very well. Today, I noticed the sun rising as I drove into work. Against the gray clouds, the yolky sun looked stunning.

#2 IM SO LUCKY I WORK SOUTH OF WHERE I LIVE

Most of my commute is down on the 290 highway. Today, as I was driving at 65 MPH going south, I noticed that the unfortunate folks going north were driving at a snails pace. How lucky am I that my commute happens to be in the opposite direction of traffic? My 15 minute commute could EASILY be 30-45 minutes, if my work was north of where I lived. In the afternoon, all the folks working up north have to drive back south in traffic, while lucky Jeanette gets to drive home at 65 MPH. THIS was worth noticing.

#3 The convenience of a car

Today, I reflected on how I would get places during college. I used a combination of walking, dirty busses and stinky trains. My junior and senior year, I didn’t have a meal plan but had a kitchen instead. This meant that I would spend at LEAST half a day every week transporting myself to a grocery store, shopping for my food (which had to fit in my little pull cart), and then lugging it all home. Today, when I am hungry, I get in my car (with the seat warmers on blast) and drive the three minutes to my local grocery store. While there, I could easily buy 1000 tubs of yogurt, because I have a trunk. It’s luxuries like that that are easily forgotten. I just looked up how long it would take me to get to work from home using public transportation. 43 minutes. 2 buses and a decently long walk. Holy cow. I will never take my 13-15 minute long commute for granted again.

#4 Music is mood changing/therapeutic/magical

When I’m cranky, I would often listen to Brand New, or a comparably angsty teenage band. Today, I listened Clueless Kit, who has some jamming up beat music. GUESS WHAT?! My mood was better. I realized today that music can make you fester on a bad mood, or it can change your mood completely. I will keep this in mind next time I see myself getting cranky.

To sum it up, being aware turned what could have been a terrible day into a pretty decent one. I hope that I continue to remember how to be present and mindful, and continue to appreciate the great gifts I have in life. That’s all, folks.

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