Long Commutes are Normal Here, Right?

I drive minimum one hour each way to my office on a good day, and an hour AND A HALF on a bad day.  But I’m not the only one.  Some have it worse, and that’s probably what keeps me sane about it all.  I think the Bay area provides a blessing (and a curse) by having this very long corridor of job opportunities … basically from San Francisco 50 miles all the way down to San Jose.  Oh and let’s not forget opportunities in the East Bay, which if you’re unlucky enough could have you crossing two bridges or something.  My current 90 minute commute is sort of my fault because we just bought a house in Marin County, and silly me, I work in San Mateo (those not from around these parts, that’s 34 miles.)  With 7 of those miles being smack dab through the middle of San Francisco on a Boulevard with No Name…er…No Timed Lights.  In case this is sounding too complain-y, let me say I do get to cross the Golden Gate Bridge every day which has allowed for some amazing sunrises, and my favorite part of the evening commute … watching tourists take selfies with that old orange icon.  They’re just so elated to be there it’s kind of infectious for a few moments.

So before I went and added insult to injury, my previous San Francisco address was a 45 – 60 minute commute.  Seriously how have I endured this for 4 years?   (Let’s just say I’ve had a lot of life changing events during that  period, for example, having my two children, and certainly not enough energy to rock the boat. )  But you know, I won’t have this commute forever, so I just see it as a temporary annoyance.
For commuters who drive, there’s another downside to our plight – wasted time.  I’m quite jealous of my husband who gets 45 min on his choice of bus OR ferry and can fire 50 work emails off like nobody’s business. He can get work done. Or he can call his parents and catch up.  Or surf perezhilton.com.  What I’m trying to say is it’s a lot more “useful” free time.

If my years of commuting have taught me anything, it’s how to keep myself entertained and make the most of it.  So here, do let me share:

  • Spotify or Pandora playing in the car – just go ahead and sign up for the paid membership, it’s worth it
    • Pandora also has a Comedy station – you heard that right – guaranteed to wash away all commuting blues.
  • Swell App – It’s like Pandora for Podcasts.  Brilliant!
  • Audio Books, or even the monthly buffet at Audible.com
  • Learn-a-Language Audio Programs.
  • Call your Mom.
  • Check email at stop lights (I know, I know this is really bending that hand’s free law)
  • Book phone calls (Daycare interviews, utility bill questions, booking oil changes, hair appointments, you get the point.)
  • On really horrible traffic days, just pull over and get a coffee.  Getting out of the car does wonders for the psyche.
  • If you can exercise just before, super bonus; Or on a smaller scale just park far away from the entrance.
  • Find your really old music, have college flash backs

One last mention for the commute home: stewing on your day.  There’s been many a time where I talked myself silly about something that ticked me off at work.  Although I might look ridiculous to other drivers (they think I’m on a phone call, right?)  I’ve come to some great realizations while I stew.  And sometimes I’m able to turn lemons into lemonade.  This mulling over time would almost be impossible to have at home; my home, a place that when I need to use the bathroom usually ends up with a child crying on the other side of the door for Mommy.

So I use my powers of positivity to get me through my commute….yes that’s my secret.  That and sometimes a little Daniel Tosh on that comedy station.