For the last 4.5 years, I have commuted 1 hour each way to work (5 days a week).
I have a love-hate relationship with my work commute…
As an introvert* personality type, I love the alone time.
As someone with limited free time, I hate the extra 2 hours it steals from my day.
Looking back on the last 4.5 years, I sometimes am amazed by the way that I have been able to maintain the drive without getting completely burned out. When I started the job, I was under a student loan repayment program contract that required me to work at that location for 2 years before I could change locations. I remember thinking that I could manage anything for 2 years, especially if it moved me closer to my goal of debt-freedom. There also wasn’t an open position with my company at any other location when I interviewed, but the potential was there for me to be able transfer to a location closer to home down the road if I took the position. I figured I’d jump on a transfer if it became available after a couple of years.
I attribute the success of my sticking with it to my willingness to re-frame the situation. Rather than looking at the negative parts of it, I have chosen to focus on the benefits of the time potential it affords me:
- The time alone gives me the chance to listen to Audible books, sermons, podcasts, and other recorded content I can learn from. Being so busy, I usually don’t have time to consume growth-oriented content other than audio form. I listen to content like that while I work out too, but my commute gives me even more opportunity for learning. i do try to read at least a few pages of a hard copy book (usually a devotional) at lunch and in the evenings.
- I also have used the time to become more disciplined in my prayer life (something which definitely needed strengthening).
- I have uninterrupted time to make phone calls to family and friends without feeling like I am neglecting my husband when I get home.
- If I have a bad day, there is time to de-stress and analyze my thoughts on things before I get home. That serves me well so that I don’t just come home and immediately dump it onto my husband. It also helps me to have time to shift my mood so that I don’t come home stressed or grouchy.
- If there is a particularly challenging or nerve-racking conversation I know I need to have at work it gives me time to rehearse what I say so that I am less likely to get flustered (read: I’m a non-confrontational person, often to a detriment).
I have been offered to change to a clinic that was closer to home several times now, and each time, have ultimately turned it down. It is possible that something may work out better for me in the future, but for now, I’m able to take the bad with the good and it ultimately shakes out in my favor.
*Introverts are commonly misunderstood as being shy, quiet, and disliking time with lots of people, but this is not necessarily the case. The main difference in introverts and extroverts is that time with people (whether enjoyed by the individual or not) charges up an extrovert, while it drains the introvert. This means that an introvert requires time and space (often quite space) alone / in their own head in order to recharge their battery. Extroverts on the other hand, are drained by time alone and NEED interaction to get amped up.
For those who want some recommendations on Audible books, here is my current library. I have finished all but 3 of the books and highly recommend everything!
1/ Do you listen to Audible books?
2/ What book recommendations do you have? I’ll take recommendations for audio or hard copy!