Fast forward to your commute home this evening.
Maybe you have the luxury of walking or biking to work. Maybe you take mass transit: the subway or the bus or both. Or maybe you're one of those countless road warriors who spend hours on the highway.
Wherever you are and however you travel, most of us simply aren't present to where we're headed – we're still stuck in the headspace of work, replaying how the day went and analyzing whether we said the right things at the last meeting. Occasionally, we come out of this fog to voice our frustration with the circumstances of our commute: the endless traffic jam, the crowded subway car, the cold, rainy weather. Then, we're right back into the past, self-consumed by our performance.
If you're like me, you stay in this mindset as you walk through the door of your home. Your kids, your partner, your pets, they all become part of your to-do list just to get to the end of the day. That's the goal, right? How can we make it to the couch to watch Netflix for awhile and then head to bed to start it all over again? How fast can I feed my 3-year-old and brush her teeth and put on her pajamas and read her a bedtime story and say goodnight? Life becomes a blur of people to get past – an endless video game that's not very fun.
After way too many unconscious evenings of not being present for my family, I realized I needed to get ready for going home just like I would get ready for a work meeting: I had to prepare. And my commute was the perfect time to do this. Instead of looking at my drive as a necessary evil, I would view it as a gift – as an opportunity to inform my mind and my body how I wanted to be with my family for the rest of the night. How did I want to walk through the door? What energy did I want to give to my wife, my children, my dog? Who was I going to be for my family that made it a joy for me to come home, rather than a drag?
Focusing on my family during my commute has shifted how I interact with them. I feel love on my drives home, where I used to feel anxiety. I feel gratitude, where I used to resentment.
Use your commute tonight as a sacred time to shift your mind from the to-do list of life. I guarantee dinner will taste the best it's ever tasted.