For years in Cincinnati, I drove a minimum of 50 minutes to work, one way. And that was if I left before 7AM and I got lucky. On a bad day, I would spend an hour just going door to door between work and home. When you add up all that time, it's mind boggling to realize that in three and a half years, I spent 150+ hours sitting in my car, drinking coffee, cursing the idiot drivers that plagued me on a daily basis.
When we moved to Fayetteville, everyone insisted that we had to live on the east side so that I would be close to work. Driving more than five minutes to work was universally discussed as a hardship. That's right - 5 minutes. So when we bought a house on the west side, a whole TEN minutes from the office, there was some sympathetic head shaking and a few quizzical looks.
Of course, here's the thing - resigned to an hourish commute for as long as I'd been doing it, ten minutes was shocking. Not even long enough to finish my coffee, much less catch a full hour of Mike & Mike. Over the last 23 months, I've come to appreciate that a commute that lasts less time than a Sportscenter commercial break is the single biggest reason that I have an incredible balance in my life right now. I've been given the gift of two more hours in every day, and I do my best to make the most of them.
Today, though, I voluntarily returned to a long commute - a whopping 30 minutes. Not so that I could sit on I-540 and listen to morning radio drivel; no, I opted for a longer commute because for the first time in my life, I rode my bike to work today.
Think about it - I live close enough to ride my bicycle to the office. And it only took me 30 minutes. And I took the bike trail almost the entire way. When I transpose that idea onto my life in Cincinnati, it's laughable in the best Webster-sense of the word.
I hope to make the bike commute a semi-regular occurrence now that the weather is improving. But no matter my mode of transportation, I love Arkansas because it gave me time back. And that, truly, is life changing.