I’ve got a one-hour commute to New York City. Don’t worry; there’s no “poor me” necessary. Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transit (back in 2008), and so far, I have only taken 20. To be honest, I don’t have it half bad.
I’m living at my grandmother’s who treats me as if I were the Queen of England, something I can’t appreciate enough especially after living on my own for months traveling. Not many people can say their ride home from the train station arrives in perfect time each day to bring them to a home, not just a house, surrounded in sweet smelling grass and clean crisp air. Not many can say they come home to their bed made; their clothes cleaned; and fall asleep to the light hum of Teen Mom on the television from the room down the hall.
Even with all of these luxuries at home, the commute to New York City could be hell. I could focus on the dog poop that I stepped in on my first day as I got off the train. I could let the creepy guy in the corner staring at me give me a scare that lingers the entire day. I could listen to the arguments of the couples on the street, the baby crying, the lady’s voice screaming on the phone so loud I’m scared her lungs will end up on the floor. I could let myself be paranoid as there are so many noises pouring out from the ground (subway), creeping up behind me (people just walking to close), or voices from the sky (people in their apartments five floors above). I’ve learned a whole new meaning of the line Alicia Keys sings: “even if it ain’t all it seems I’ve got a pocket full of dreams…” My pocket too is full of dreams; unfortunately, it is empty of cash, a common result of commuting.
If you head into your commute thinking to yourself that your pockets will forever be empty, the train will always be late, the person sitting next to you will reek of body odor and you will show up to work in pit stains because it is 5,000 degrees (blame global warming), then you’ll never get to see the good things that come with commuting. Although they can see few and far between, there are some positives that come out of commuting.
On the days those problems don’t happen, you will feel like a million bucks. The bad just helps you appreciate that nice conversation you had with a stranger on the train, that boy’s smile as you make funny faces at a him while you’re waiting for your train home to get a track number, and the witness of a moment of raw and sweet human nature like a mother kissing the top of her daughter’s head or a boyfriend holding his girl for just one second longer. When you’re finished with a long day, you’ll appreciate that the train that will bring you home has air-conditioning and leather (looking) seats instead of the old clunker that brought you to the city in the morning.
Lesson learned: “Don’t take the bad annoyances to heart, just hold the sweet little things close.”
Okay, so if you’re a guy, you might think you just got advice from My Little Pony herself. What I mean to say is that you can let yourself get pissed and curse and complain on the phone like I hear that thin, blond woman doing everyday I get out of Penn Station (I feel so bad for the person on the other end of that). Instead, let it go.
Like Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting, “it’s not your fault. Look at me son; it’s not your fault.”
Like The Lion King, “When the world turns your back on you, you turn your back on the world, right? WRONG.” When it comes to stupid problems in your day, Hakuna matata.
Like Liz’s come-what-may philosophy in Gilmore Girls:
LUKE: How can you be so calm about this? You’re so calm.
LIZ: Because I got my new come-what-may philosophy.
LUKE: Your what?
LIZ: My philosophy. It’s about accepting what comes your way, whatever it is. If a bus is heading right at you, let it come. If a piece of space junk comes hurtling down at you, let it come.
LUKE: Or you step out of the way.
LIZ: You know, that’s probably better, and when I said what I said now, it felt wrong.
Don’t let yourself get hit with space junk, but relax and let the little stuff go.