Day in the Life: Commuting

[One of the occasional series of posts about my typical day.]

Once I’m out the door, I usually hop in the car and drive a bit before parking 2-5 blocks from the nearby transit center.  I walk to the transit center and take a bus to work.

Why?  The bus builds walking into my day.  Usually it’s pleasant to be walking outside and enjoying the sky and trees and air.  I like having time alone with my thoughts or my iPod or both.

There are also days that I really don’t want to walk, where I’m sore and cold and tired and don’t wanna.  If I’m “out for a walk”, this is when I turn around and go home.  But if I’m on my way to or from work, I feel I’m committed.  Building a walk into my daily commute means that I do it more consistently.

(Do I have friends and family I can call if I miss the last bus or get sick?  Yes. Heck, when I started this, it was challenging enough that I would only do the walk+bus one way, and I gradually worked up to walking more.  But I asking for a ride just because my inner 4-yr-old is saying “don’t wanna”?  Uh…no.  :)

I have found that even on those “don’t wanna” days, having walked feels good. Even if I wake up feeling sore or tired, I arrive at work feeling more awake and relaxed.  I’m much less stressed if I bus home than if I drive.   I also find that my walking speed is increasing.

Does this add more time to my commute?  Yes. The time spent on the actual buses is about the same as if drove, only I get to read.  The walking is additional, but less time than going to a gym. Waiting for the bus? That can get old, and is sometimes long. In the mornings I usually walk or stretch while waiting. At night I’ve been doing balance practice (standing on one foot or a yoga pose) while waiting.

Oh, and for grins, one of my “walking” iPod playlists:

  • Lady Vagabond, Tricky Pixie
  • Code Monkey, Jonathan Coulton
  • Perils of Poly, Gaia Consort
  • No Surrender, Bruce Springsteen
  • Follow Me Down, Seanan McGuire
  • I Feel Fantastic, Jonathan Coulton
  • Don’t Stop, Fleetwood Mac
  • Walking in Memphis, Marc Cohn
  • Mississippi, Dixie Chicks
  • Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own, U2

….which is one way of putting my musical tastes into a nutshell.  :)

2010 update: This is now out of date. Changes to the bus schedules means I don’t get much of a walk. Also my workload increased, so cutting my commute down saves a great deal of time.

2011 update: I am now taking transit to my new job, which provides a minimum 1/2 mile walking each day.




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10 responses to “Day in the Life: Commuting”

  1. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    Great post. I have been exercising all my life & do it every day & in fact always have to fight the urge to fall back into excessive, compulsive exercise, but you are so right that when you first start walking each time, your body is going to say, “don’t wanna”. I have CP & arthritis & am usually in some degree of discomfort or pain & some days those first five or ten minutes are torture. Many days it gets easier & less painful as I walk, some days it does not, but I keep walking &, as you say, once I have walked, I am VERY glad that I have walked. I usually feel better physically & I always feel better emotionally & psychologically to know that I got in my exercise today.

  2. […] a great post about doing what you can and working movement into your day from Living at ~400 Lbs.  She changed her commute to get herself walking more. 1Don’t be a fucking idiot. Leave a […]

  3. living400lbs Avatar

    Thanks, Patsy. I am at the point where I don’t have the “don’t wannas” every day. But when I started I sure did! I find stretching in the morning helps negate the “don’t wannas” too. (Well, and in winter, it helps if I get out there before it start raining – which my work schedule usually requires :)

    Something I remember from Postcards from the Edge is the main character musing that she didn’t like working out, but she liked having worked out, and the only way to have worked out is to go ;)

  4. Andrea Capere Avatar

    I love your blog!

    I just wanted to let you know I made of the the member’s of Gaia Consort her latte pretty regularly when I worked as a barista. They are fantastic. Small world, huh?

  5. living400lbs Avatar

    Thanks, Andrea. Yes, Chris & Sue (& Larry & Sunnie & so on) rock! :)

  6. Noel Avatar

    Thanks, Patsy. I am at the point where I don’t have the “don’t wannas” every day.

    You’re one up on me. I get ’em just about every day.

    Like today… Must…Go…Swim…

  7. living400lbs Avatar

    You’re one up on me. I get ‘em just about every day.

    Oh, the morning ones will increase once we get into November and it’s raining daily … suddenly driving “just once” makes so much more sense. :) I mostly tend to get them after work, especially when it gets dark at 4pm. That’s part of why phrasing the question as, “Do I walk to the bus stop or do I stay here all night” works for me!

  8. Patsy Nevins Avatar
    Patsy Nevins

    No, it isn’t daily. Since I have walked virtually every day for the past fifty years or so, it couldn’t be daily. But I do find the first 5-10 minutes the hardest usually, unless I try to walk too long & get overtired, & I am constitutionally incapable of spending an entire day without exercise; it is as foreign to me as walking on the moon.
    I do have a lot of trouble in the winter with snow & ice, but get out every day I possibly can. On the ones when it is just TOO icy, I walk up & down the stairs 6 or 8 times & spend 45 minutes to an hour walking from room to room.

  9. Ginger Avatar

    *squee* Seanan McGuire!

    …sorry, I just love her – real sweetheart, amazingly talented writer and musician.

    On the commuting front… I used to have the most horrific and ridiculous commute – three hours, give or take, each way, unless I left work late and then I had to shell out an extra $15 to take the train and an extra $15 for a cab home. It was two busses, a pretty long subway ride, and about half an hour of walking.

    I was living on Long Island and working in Manhattan. Not ideal, but I was VERY in shape by the time I quit that job, and I’d gotten a lot of my reading done.

  10. […]  Riding the bus to my new job means I’m walking daily again, at least on weekdays. Funny how walking even a 1/2 mile or so […]

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