Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Strategy to reduce Commuting Difficulty


A Photo from the Backyard of the author's home.
A horror of modern life is the time, pollution, risks, expense, fatigue and stress caused by commuting to work everyday. This is a major factor leading to a reduced quality of life for very many humans in the modern world. In a much older satirical article in this blog -seven steps to unhappiness - this was mentioned as one of the seven contributing causes of unhappiness amongst modern humans.

A day has twenty four hours. On the average if we take away eight hours for work and eight hours for sleeping one is left with eight hours for other things. Of this half or four hours on the average may go for essential work such as  meals, shopping, cleaning, bathing etc necessary to maintain life. Just four hours of free time is left. Imagine if two hours of this is lost in commuting, an hour each way, fifty percent of time in a day is lost that could have been spent on making life happier and better. Not just this, more time is lost because every hour spent driving on road reduces one’s energy, life and health by a tiny bit that adds up to a substantial amount over a year. When one considers one’s spiritual/emotional state, just as green surroundings, forests, lakes and mountains are a boon for it, a crowded highway drive kills it sooner that one may realize.

Yet, in spite of all this, there is little choice for many. For some avoiding this commuting may mean settling for an insect like home in a large city instead of a greener spacious home in the suburbs. This author has described apartment complexes as insect homes in an earlier post because like beehives there are places above, below, to the left and right of your own. For others eliminating much commuting may mean staying away from family or loved ones. My own daughter who is presently a medical practitioner in the US is facing precisely such a dilemma.

However, there are some strategies that can reduce this pain. A person with a busy job in a city and a large home an hour away could consider renting a studio or a compact two room apartment or rooms in a city. Assuming a five day work week, let us say he or she drives to work on Monday morning sleeps at his city apartment on Monday and Tuesday night then drives back to the suburban home on Wednesday evening. The drive back and sleepover in the city is on Thursday. Driving back on Friday evening after work one gets to spend the weekend at home and more important gets to sleep for four nights out of seven in the suburban home. No doubt this strategy is only for such persons who can afford the luxury of a reasonable suburban home and a car to drive to work everyday. There are very many others who do this commuting by public transportation. For these others a major rethink and planning is called for and they may begin by going back to the older article on seven steps to unhappiness

With this strategy, ten hours of commuting is reduced to four and one gets back a major portion of one’s life. What about the additional expense? That would vary from place to place. Some savings will occur on driving expense and health bills as well as some other things like eating out, hurried shopping at the corner store etc. Overall, the additional expense may not be substantial and a small price for the entire joy one can find in return. Most important for those with young children it means that you get to spend more time with them, an opportunity that comes only for a few years in every life. What about those mothers with an infant child and a grandma or nanny that looks after the child during work hours? Just take them to the city apartment with you, they might just love the change as a lovely outing  while the hubby can enjoy golf or a beer with friends three evenings a week and enjoy a dinner from the fridge, unless he decides to do the same with an apartment in another city. The precise mechanics will vary from person to person but do think about it in case you are in this situation.

A friend and fellow blogger Keiko Amano just sent me this link that describes the results of several studies on how destructive modern commuting has been to human happiness. it is here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/nov/01/secrets-worlds-happiest-cities-commute-property-prices

1 comment:

ashok said...

The article on the linked post describes that those who commute more divorce more - not unexpected at all giving the stress such persons have to contend with.