Every day, I drive myself 37 miles from Peachtree City to the Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead (and 37 miles home). Funny thing is: I love the commute. People typically give me the “oh that must suck” and “poor you” comment, but I’m not kidding you. It’s a healthy time for me.
Here are some reasons why and perhaps tips for you if you have a commute.
Appreciating WHY there is traffic.
There are a lot of people in Atlanta. That means a lot of cars. If there weren’t a lot of people in Atlanta, could you do the things you do? What if you lived in Algona, Iowa… you would have fewer cars, less traffic, but would you have the same opportunities for connection and success that you have now?
Appreciate the buffer.
I don’t know about your house, but at my house there are 3 wild people under the age of 7 at home. At the north end of my commute there are 300 wild people under the age of 30. It’s wild on both ends. The downtime in the middle is quiet. Other than my shower and my run, it’s pretty much the only quiet time I have all day.
Productive, if I choose.
I love Audible.com. It’s my audio book listening app. I’ve got 3-5 books at any one time queued up on my iPhone and can play them through the Bluetooth connection to the car and it’s a great way to focus on deep study while still multitasking. Also, the 40 minutes in the morning and afternoon are typically the only chance I have to sit in one place and return phone calls. I try not to schedule calls during the commute but many days this ends up happening as well.
You know your city.
Every single day, I have the pleasure of passing the Atlanta Airport, Turner Field, the State Capital, Atlanta City Hall, Grady Hospital, Georgia Tech, Midtown, and Buckhead. I love how well I’ve come to know the city. I see the new tower cranes as soon as they pop up. I see Billy Cory’s crazy ass digital smokestack in the works in downtown. I see the Auburn Avenue revitalization coming together each day. It’s exciting to me to see physical progress of the city. Otherwise I spend most of my time in the digital progress of the city via Twitter, blogs, emails, AngelList. There’s just something about the tangible stuff around you.
Traffic is one of those things that people love to hate about any city. But I refuse to be a hater. I’m happy to have the freedom and opportunity to participate in Atlanta, with all it’s big city challenges and opportunities.
Oh, one more tip… I’ve written about this before. Even when you’re sitting in your car alone, try smiling at yourself even in the worst gridlock on the downtown connector. Its a very simple exercise you will find to provide immense and immediate stress relief. Just relax, dude.