I’ve heard people say that you can’t love someone else until you have learned to love yourself. I may have even used that as an excuse when breaking up with people in the past because it’s better than the “it’s me, not you” tactic, but it remains a true statement.
With that in mind I have been thinking about one of my favorite aspects of driving, the “Me” time it provides. We all know the feeling of having a hell of a day but we get a small respite from the world in our steel cocoon. It used to provide me some time to think about my life and reflect on the days happenings. I thought I enjoyed the solitude that a commute gave me…….
Then I realized (as did everyone in my phone) that my cell phone still makes/receives calls, email and texts in the car. My tranquil commutes became riddled with stress as I refused to answer my phone, emails and texts not only because it’s illegal and dangerous but to attempt to preserve my internal combustion sanctuary. Needless to say the innocence of my commute was shattered forever.
Ironically, one of my biggest CarFree concerns was how I was going to make/receive calls during my rides. I was concerned about all the “important” calls I would miss as I peddled away. I had obviously forgotten the level of mental acuity that some good exercise gives you. A good 10 minute bike commute to start the day does wonders for my motivation, awareness, and general mental sharpness. On a bike for those 10 minutes, especially in the city, you must be 100% in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing which jump-start your mind for the day. By 7 am I’m running at mid day pace and productivity while most people are still trying to clear the mental fog from the night before.
To my main point, this mental kickstart is a not comfortable at first. We are a social animal and it is really weird to do things alone that we are accustomed to do with others such as vacation or eat at a restaurant, if you have ever done either you know what I’m talking about. Once you get through the awkward, anxious general uneasiness and embrace the solo time you may find yourself enjoying and learning from it.
When I’m on my bike, I’m 100% solo. Disconnected from everything and everyone because I can’t use my phone and my mind is only connected to the task at hand and I feel more connected to the world while independent of it at the same time. It is amazing the random thoughts that pop into my head from a deeper place when I get a minute or two at a red light. They come at me clear as day and are gone in an instant just like an inspirational dream that has you wake up with a huge smile on your face.
Basically, I feel better because I ride my bike!