For those of you that don’t know me, I am part of that minority within our study body that does not live within the boundaries of the five boroughs of New York City. No my friends, each day I come from the strange and far away land many know as “Jersey”. Needless to say, a large portion of my New York University experience is based on the proverbial commute and all of its fun little idiosyncrasies. As such, in taking part in the annual process of introspection at the beginning of each new year, I’ve decided to make my resolution for 2010 to become a better commuter. Better how? Well, better in the sense that I plan to both deal with the stress of getting into and out of one of the world’s largest cities on a daily basis better and be willing to find a little more joy and fun in the process as a whole.
All of this is based on the simple and obvious principle of patience. It is a virtue after all and it is a must if you are going to achieve what I am vying for. Have you ever found yourself in a crowded subway station trapped behind the guy who likes to just stroll along at his own leisurely pace while you are currently ten minutes late for your exam and still are twenty minutes and two transfers away from being even remotely close to the Kevorkian Center? Yeah, we all have. And if you’re anything like me, you spent an awfully long time hating that guy. But unfortunately, that guy is an inevitability of the public transportation system as we know it, and he’s not walking any faster anytime soon. So there’s really only one option if you don’t want to lose your mind every day, and that’s to just shrug it off and be patient. You will get to where you’re going when you get there, and no sooner. So for me that means leaving a bit sooner, expect to run into that guy sooner or later and then just have a little bit of patience because it’s just not worth getting worked up over.
That said, the other key step to the whole thing, like so many other aspects of life, is having a good sense of humor about everything. Laugh more; it’s that easy and simple. And commuting into the city is no exception. No matter what it is, the A train that likes to take its sweet time getting to West 4th St, the NJ Transit buses that constantly wait to break down until they’re in the middle of the Lincoln Tunnel, or even the guy above who takes his Sunday stroll through the Union Square station at 9am on a Monday morning, you’ve got to be able to stop and realize how funny all of it really is. Yeah, I know, there will be days when you can’t afford to lose a second and you need to be where you are going absolutely as quickly as possible. But most days will not be a matter of life and death and it’s important, more important than many realize, to relax and try to enjoy yourself as much as you can. So why stress out over things that are out of our control, namely the ride to and from school each day? I’ve found that once you’re relaxed in the heat of a commute, looking around at how stressed everyone else seems is often pretty funny. Ok, so maybe my resolution is more about being a patient and upbeat person generally and the commute just provides a useful example. But regardless, I think they are good traits to pursue, and not just for myself, but all of us should strive for those characteristics in the new year that’s upon us. Just a little something to think about.