Something new to me is the peace that comes from the solitude found during a morning commute.
Before kids, I would wake at the last possible minute before dashing through my morning routine and flying out the door and down the road to work.
Four years as a SAHM meant no silence in the car, never a true chance to let my thoughts flow and truly listen to what my body and mind were telling me.
Sure, there were times when I could do some introspection, which lead to one of my best posts of all time.
Sure, I could listen to my audiobooks while the kids entertained themselves in the backseat.
Yes, there were chances to talk with other adults on the phone while I drove.
But to truly seek yourself every morning takes either discipline or forced solitude. Like my morning commute.
Eight Weeks of Intensive Therapy
I have been at my “new” job for a little over two months. Since we live in the middle of nowhere, I have a minimum of 35 minutes in the car each morning.
I’ve been training myself to select the day’s outfit and pack my lunch the night before plus set my alarm to give me plenty of time to bathe, dress, paint and coif, eat, and possibly care for a small child that woke too soon. Most mornings, I am beyond blessed to get out the door without the kids waking and seeing me off.
Any parent who has walked away from a crying child with the guilt of “I’m putting my paycheck before you, little one” knows what it means to leave before they’re even awake.
I take my time because I’ve gifted myself that time. I climb into my little four-door, four-cylinder car, pull out of the driveway, and get my mind into the zone. No music or audio books. No rush where I have anger or panic to focus on. No one in the car to watch me as I silently run through a gamut of emotions because I’m mentally pulling apart the past few years of my life.
Or, some days, my whole life.
I spend roughly 30 minutes every morning picking through my experiences, thoughts, and emotions like I’m untangling a knot of metal chains that have rusted together.
I practice deep breathing and different levels of prayer and meditation.
I am working on picking myself back up, one mile at a time.
One day, taking a long lunch away from my desk and picking up a dear friend from her nearby work, I confessed to her what I had been doing. It was pouring rain and we had a slightly rushed lunch in a loud, packed Panera. As we sat in her work’s parking lot, I told her that I had been working through some of my issues during my morning commutes.
She nodded emphatically. She said she knew what I was talking about, knew how critical that alone time is for her in her busy life. She agreed with me that vehicular therapy is underrated.
That is why I’m sharing it with you. You need to know this. You, who get up in the morning (or evening) to go to work, to spend time away from family and home and friends and an ever-growing to-do list; you, who find yourself wound up and bent out of shape before you make it to your lunch break; you, who wonders what more is there to life or if there’s something wrong with you or why can’t I find the perfect job, perfect car, perfect friend, perfect lover.
You, my dear reader, need to know what a blessing your commute time is. This is your chance to truly be by yourself and look narrow and deep or wide and shallow at your life, your behaviors, your future.
Embrace your vehicular therapy time.
I’m working through a year’s worth of grief. I’m working through a lifetime of pain cause by my mother and almost a decade of issues with my mother-in-law. I’m working through the drama and bullshit that came about after a lying liar lied about me…and was believed. I’m working through long-term goals and what my hang ups are. I’m working through marital issues, mommy guilt, crises in faith, and so much more.
I recommend you do the same.
Because I feel more on the level now than I have in a very long time, even though to an outsider it may look like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.
Personally, I will tell everyone I encounter about the joys and blessings that come from 30 minutes of silent introspection at least 5 days a week.