# The daily commute is a double-edged sword. Three and a half to four hours of my day (depending on the shift and, therefore, the route I have to take) spent just getting from home to work and back again.

Walking to and from stations, transfers and frequent uncomfortably crowded spells on the underground. Over half of the journey is the train ride between home and London.

There are occasions when it all seems such a waste of time and money, such a burden just to get to work and back. Four hours a day is a massive chunk of your existence; it can be tiring both physically and mentally, especially when busy. I stick my earbuds in and try to isolate myself from the noise and commotion around me as best I can, resenting that I'm here.

Still, while the walking and tube rides are generally not conducive, the train journey of over an hour each way can be an opportunity. It is a time when there is nothing for me to do except sit tight (sometimes stand) and get to the destination, no expectations. It is free time to use exactly as I want, whether that's reading, writing (as I am with this) or an attempt at meditation - it's difficult but possible.

Sometimes I'll just watch the world pass by outside and think, let my mind wander seeing where it ends up.

It's often difficult after a long busy day in the office or a bad night's sleep, but I need to see that free time as a gift, some small consolation for having to make the trip and use it accordingly, purposefully, mindfully.

It's something I need to get better at.

  1. johnjohnston says: #
    I did a 4 hour commute for a while, train, bus walk. I split the time between laptop on the train and podcasts on the bus and walking so didn't mind too much. Now I am on 2 x 40-60 minute drives. Switching from Radio 4 on the journey to work to Radio 3 made a difference. I have no knowledge of classical music at all but it seem to encourage creative thinking as opposed to depressing thoughts.