How My Daily Commute Changed My Life
Forty-five minutes each way — on days when it wasn’t snowing. Over a winding mountain pass surrounded by lakes, aspen trees, and granite.
To this day, I have no doubt that it is the most beautiful commute in the world. However, I didn’t always feel that way.
When I first accepted the job, I feared the commute. It was long and dangerous, and, frankly, it was daunting. Never in a million years would I have imagined the impact that commute would have on my life.
Before I started working at that remote ski resort, I was struggling
Of course, at the time, I didn’t identify it as struggle. Honestly, the issue was that I was comfortable– in my patterns and in my lack of change.
Sure, I was miserable. My anxiety was off the charts and I occasionally had suicidal thoughts. My relationship was suffering, and I constantly felt like I was drowning in the responsibilities of being a parent. I felt like I was letting everyone down all the time — including myself.
So, when the opportunity came up for a promotion I took it, even if it did mean committing to an hour and a half of extra driving time and a tank of gas a week.
To be honest, it was mostly an ego-based decision at first
For the first few months, I got used to the drive; sipping coffee and listening to my music. It was peaceful alone time — something that, prior to my commute, I had not realized was so important to me. It was never something I had made time for.
That was the first lesson I learned from driving that mountain pass; that I need to be alone to recharge.
That lesson was a game-changer for my life
The first real boundary that I established willingly in my relationship was because of this realization. I need alone time. It was because of this that I started to realize how badly I needed change.
I had been letting my anxiety rule my life. I was letting my fears dictate not only what I did but who I was and how I treated those that I loved.
After surviving an abusive relationship, I had this completely incorrect and absurd belief that if I had any boundaries then I would be unlovable. My commute showed me how false that belief truly was without me even realizing it.
My healthy, kind, supportive partner, whom I was projecting my fears onto, was taking the brunt of my frustration over my own lack of boundaries. However, once I realized how deeply I needed that alone time, I was able to communicate and enforce my boundaries with him.
It was the first step in overcoming a heaping tire fire of fears
The next lesson I learned on my commute came in the form of a book recommendation. I have always been a fiction reader. I obsess over fiction and am a mega nerd at heart. I have a Narnia tattoo — the love is real. But someone recommended that I read The Four Agreements.
I don’t know if you have ever had the absolute pleasure of reading that book but if not, read it now. However, at the time that it was suggested to me, I was commuting and working fifty hour weeks on top of that — not to mention my three children and other responsibilities.
Something in my heart told me I needed to read that book
Mind you, I had never read a self-help style book before. I honestly hadn’t even really thought about them as an option.
The first audio book I ended up purchasing was The Four Agreements. Before that recommendation I hadn’t viewed my commute as a time to be used for my own growth. I was just enjoying it as alone time.
Over the next few months I listened to over fifteen books on my commute, all focused on bettering myself. And without me knowing it, my new life path had begun to enfold. It started a healing journey to overcome my past trauma and better my world that I never expected but, damn, did I need.
From those books, I found my way into coaching programs and healing programs and soon the experience and certifications I had to my name began to grow.
One day I had the realization that I could listen to podcasts on my drive. It sounds silly to have not thought of this after spending nearly three years commuting, but I hadn’t ever had a chance to even look at the standard podcast app on my phone before I had a commute. Not only did I now have the time but I had enough time to binge on podcasts. So, I did.
However, as opposed to the self-help book binge, I listened to podcasts on things that I loved! Everything from Dungeons & Dragons to ancient history to comedy.
I had reached a point in my growth where my commute became something that I reveled in as a time to completely be myself. I used it to enjoy everything that I used to not have time for.
We spend so much of our time not actually doing the things that we love
We tend to give away our time to our bosses and our families, and leave our needs and passions behind. Even if we do find time for hobbies, we often use that time to invest in hobbies that help us feel numb to the parts of our lives that we don’t enjoy.
That’s why many people live for the weekends
Through podcasts, I was able to reconnect with the part of me that I had left behind in childhood. The part of me that had time to genuinely enjoy things. And it was from there that I made the realization that I could make the healing journey I had been on fun for other people.
I could help people heal their trauma through connecting with that intimate part of themselves that loves to play. Overcoming fear could actually be achieved through a game.
Not long after that, I left my job to pursue this goal, and I am so thankful that I did. To see my clients transform through play is my life’s purpose.
I never would have realized my purpose if I hadn’t been driving 45 minutes both ways, over that winding mountain pass
Whether your commute is ten minutes or two hours, use that time. Use that time to connect to the parts of you you forgot about a long time ago. Use that time to listen to things that make you feel happy and help you to grow. Use that time to sit in silence and just experience the being human. But don’t resent that time. Don’t hate the traffic or the honking or the heat or the snow.
Don’t ever take the time you get for granted. You are never too busy to invest into making your life better.
A commute is a gift
Like so many of the gifts we are given, it can be easy to ignore. But if you don’t ignore it — if you see it as potentially one of the best opportunities that you could have been given, who knows, a commute might just change your life. Mine did.