Unintentionally Blank

Phil Nash on the Internet, Web Standards and Accessibility

Commuting - Not A Way Of Life

Oct 15, 2006

by Phil Nash

There is something soul destroying about the daily routine of a commuter; waking up at 6:15am every morning, getting on a train at 7:16, arriving in London at 8:30, squeezing onto an underground train and clocking in at work by just after 9. Nearly 3 hours to get from bed to desk, but the worst is yet to come. Leaving work at 5, squeezing back onto the tube, catching the 17:58 train (which you have to board 20 minutes before it's departure time, just in order to get a seat) and arriving home around 20 past 7. 4 hours of travel a day, for 7 hours of work. I always believed that commuting would be hell and wasn't the way I was going to spend my free time during my working life. I was right, but at least I know the truth from my own experience now.

Reality Bites

Of course, it was much easier to say that when I was a student, waking up in the early afternoon and half studying, half drinking my way through the rest of the day. When reality comes, it hits hard. My high and mighty moral position, where I planned to get a job doing what I enjoyed, so that waking up each morning would be a pleasure, has fallen by the wayside somewhat. When university ends, being loaned money by the Government ends too and your parents turn out to be less willing to support you once you've received the qualifications you set out to achieve 3 years ago, but continue to live the decadent lifestyle of a carefree student.

Commuting in London

So I needed money, I applied for a job working with computers that seemed to need a graduate with experience in both maths and computing. It seemed ideal. I got the job and gave in to the idea of commuting for a while. Everything I ever said about long journeys to London and the slog of a days work followed by the lengthy trip home again was right and, while I'm happy to be making my own money at last (roll on pay day), I need to make a change.

I knew this already, being 22 and living at home still is slightly wrong, but now I have the power. I'm not going to resign myself to long hours spent staring out of a train window or storming my way through the current bestsellers chart whilst listening to mp3s. I'm not the most efficient person in the world, but I know when I am wasting too much time. Now I have realised this, I will not be settling for second best, or even third or perhaps fourth best in this case.

Take Your Life Into Your Own Hands

There is no way I can stay at home any more, I have a job, an income, my own life and my own choices to make. I just wanted to say this because I don't believe that anyone should settle for second best. I don't have my ideal job or living situation yet, but where I am at the moment is one step on the ladder to my goal. There is no point in taking that one step, then cruising because it is easy. That won't leave you happy (and currently it leaves me with 3 hours of free time a day to 4 hours on public transport).

Whatever you are doing with your life now, enjoy it, but if you want more, go for it with everything you've got. You won't regret it. You're much more likely to get a lot more out of life!

I'll let you know when I'm on the next step of the ladder and ready to push for better again.

Unintentionally Blank is Phil Nash's thoughts on web development from 2006-2008. Any code or opinions may be out of date.