Post 5 of 21 Daily Blog Challenge: Silver Linings

October 11, 2013

I was driving home from dinner tonight. I had family in from out of state and met them in another town about 60 miles away. Cruising along the highway tonight reminded me of the daily commute I used to have. No, it wasn’t 60 miles, but it still took about 50-65 minutes most days.

This is a significant chunk of time. Time spent sitting in traffic. I could have focused on how long it took, how crappy the drivers were, or the never-ending construction. I could have been annoyed and irritated, thinking of all the things that commute was robbing me of. And I think I would have arrived home on those days in a pretty rotten mood.

Knowing that I really couldn’t change or affect the traffic, I decide to use the drive home to call loved ones. Some days I’d spend the whole drive home talking to my father-in-law. Other days I’d talk to my grandma or my mom or a close friend. I’d get to hear their voices – the excitement if something good happened, or the flatness in their tone if something was bothering them. I got to connect with them.

These days I have about a 10-15 minute commute. I never call anyone on my way home because I’d have to wait until I pass the regional airport (where I always drop calls), and then it hardly seems enough time to have a decent conversation, so I figure I’ll call when I’m home. But I hit the door, and there are dogs to feed and walk, projects around the house to do, dinner to make, etc. I never call anyone anymore. I don’t hear my friend’s voices. I zip through Facebook, to stay up to date, but not really connected.

I drove that hour-long commute for about four years. If we average 22 working days a month, that’s over 1,000 hours just spent driving home during that period of time. I don’t remember all the traffic jams. I don’t remember hating it, or being terribly irritated by it – maybe on occasion, but it’s not what stands out to me. What I remember, what is ingrained in my memory, is having an HOUR A DAY to just talk to people in my life I care about.

I’m not ready to trade my teensy commute for the one I used to have, but it struck me how situations can definitely be about HOW we perceive them, how we choose to respond. It’s the cliche, “LIfe gives you lemons, make lemonade.” We have the power to make the most of any given situation and I think we forget that. So this is my little nudge, my little whisper to you, “find the silver lining in a current situation that’s less than ideal for you right now.” None of these things last forever. One day it will change, so do what you can to find the bright side.

– Mikita

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