Saturday, December 6, 2008

Americans and their commutes - are we crazy?

Last year, Americans spent 4.2 billion hours sitting in traffic. This according to an IBM ad online in the NY Times today.

I have spent years in the workforce and some of that time commuting. I have learned that quality of life is far more important the older I get.

A commute time of up to one hour is acceptable, but anything longer just cuts into the quality of one's life. I am convinced, and studies will support this - that Americans are happier when their commutes are shorter.

I recall driving to work daily for about two years - I would listen to NPR and found myself yelling at the radio whenever I heard things with which I disagreed. I would then find myself at the office some 40 minutes to one hour later and would have to check my mood, which was inevitably soured by the long drive, the traffic, the accidents and of course, the news stories that made my blood boil.

I now live in Westchester, New York and commute just under one hour - it is just the right amount of time to read a chapter in a book, say hi to regulars and enjoy the day.

Granted, not everyone can work so close to where they live, but it behooves us to try to do so whenever possible, not just for our own sanity, but for the environment and our children.

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