The beginning of March is arguably the busiest time of the year… people are back (albeit reluctantly) at work, school kids are parading around in crisp new uniforms, uni students are frantically flocking to lectures, trains and buses are packing in people like sardines, and roads are clogged like a blocked drain. Yup, March Madness begins!
Or did it indeed start earlier? Frantic February perhaps?
This year I transitioned into a new job where the most practical way for me to commute from Hobsonville to Newmarket, was to use my car. Farewell my daily sail across the Waitemata Harbour!
Even in late January I noticed the traffic flows were heavy in the early morning. If I left anytime after 7(!)am then I would usually have to sit in nose-to-tail traffic for part of the journey.
Having battled traffic many times in the past, I wasn’t surprised by the slowness of the roads. Auckland is a sprawling city and it’s quite usual to have to cross town to get from A to B. Sadly, it is infinitely more convenient to have a car in Auckland, heck, many Aucklanders feel mistrusting of public transport at the best of times.
Urban sprawl has also seen many people move further out to the edges of the city. I for one took that option when it became easier and cheaper to find an affordable home in a newly developed area.
The reality is that thousands and thousands of people have made similar decisions. Auckland truly is a wonderful place to live, but the high costs of living are making people consider where they live, and how they live.
In fact, over the recent Christmas period hundreds of people moved into new homes in the Hobsonville / North West area. You can imagine that many of those people will be using public transport and their own cars to commute. To overcome this, my current strategy is to leave for work a bit earlier. Oh how I love my alarm…
So during this busy crazy time, I encourage you to breathe and to not sweat the small stuff. The traffic is going nowhere (literally) and reacting in an aggressive or angry manner will not make it better. And it definitely won’t make it go any faster.
During my commute I listen to Podcasts and play my favourite tunes. I sometimes use this time to make phone calls, hands-free of course. When I used to catch the ferry I lapped up the opportunity to read books.
Commuting also gives you the time to tap into a different head-space. Quite often I will use the time to reflect on certain things, be it work, or other things I want to pursue.
It’s also provides a great time to reflect and to be grateful for all the good things in your life. As I drive down the North Western, I love looking out to the harbour with the light dancing over the amazing Auckland CBD skyline. In the distance I can also see our marvellous mountains; Rangitoto, Mt Eden, One Tree Hill, Mt Victoria, North Head.
I then begin to think about the people I am grateful for. Family, friends, colleagues, mentors, sources of inspiration. All of sudden this commute doesn’t feel so long and laborious.
In the words of The Eagles…
Take it easy, take it easy
Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
Lighten up while you still can
Don’t even try to understand
Just find a place to make your stand, and take it easy