For seven years I commuted 42 miles from Northfield to Saint Paul. I was fortunate to have a cruise control commute giving me close to an hour of uninterrupted time to let my consciousness wander settling where it might. My most productive wandering was when I didn’t have an agenda and allowed my thoughts to go where they were most needed. Setting aside that kind of time daily helped me sort out conflicts, plan upcoming events, and imagine new possibilities.
Moving to Saint Paul took away my commute and my built-in, dedicated think time. My days too easily become filled, with little room for the quiet, empty spaces I had come to appreciate in my commute. In turn, I am left with a feeling of a sort of internal emptiness brought on by the busyness of the work world. Ok, it is not enough to make me move out of town so I could spend time in the car – a profoundly bad Idea. It does make me think, though, of my need to find other ways to inhabit my quiet spaces.
I walked to work today. Takes me the same amount of time it did to drive, but blessed with better side effects. By the time I got to work this morning, I was energized with clarity of vision and bold new ideas. This morning’s walk was particularly useful in planning out next semester’s class and sorting out priorities in my upcoming day. Getting into my office I quickly made notes to myself of the new ideas lest I forget.
My goal is to walk two days a week. I have no doubt I would greatly benefit from this commitment in so many parts of my life – physically, emotionally, professionally, and personally. Sounds like a new year’s resolution sort of thing. Wish me luck.