Driving Zen

Each day I think about a life lesson I have learned and share it with you, in case you don’t have any of your own every day…


My drive to work is about an hour and twenty minutes through rush-hour traffic almost the entire way. There is this one period, though, where I take a little-used section of freeway for seven minutes.

It is the best part of my morning most days. As I come up over the bridge from the bumper-to-bumper navigation war, I can see Tampa Bay below and the sun just popping up over the horizon. The salty morning air has not been overcome by industry and car exhaust yet, the breeze is light. Since there is almost never more than 4 to 6 other cars on this stretch of road with me, I pause my podcasts and drop all the windows and just enjoy the morning cruise for that seven minutes. It is truly a moment of bliss.


Except the last few weeks, for some reason, the traffic has picked up considerably on my morning moment of zen. There is so much traffic I am no longer able to use cruise control and move at 70 mph down that stretch of road any longer. It is not yet as stressful as the bumper-to-bumper traffic but it is easily three times as busy as it was just a couple months ago.

I am not sure if the traffic increase is seasonal (school’s back in), or due to construction re-routing, or just from more and more people moving to the area–probably a little of each of those–but I know one thing:

Sadly, nothing lasts forever.

I don’t want to end today’s lesson on a depressing note, so I will point out the obviously positive spin on this story, as well.

Happily, nothing lasts forever.

Not even bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. The way work is done is transforming. Companies are increasingly becoming aware that where and when work happens no longer matters, creating shifts and flexibility in traffic patterns. Driverless cars are on the way. Public transportation is on the rise, as is healthy transportation such as bicycling and walking where it makes sense. Technology is catching up too–use of roundabouts and other traffic managing systems are helping relieve the stress and stupidity of driving.

Those are all great things… and the sooner they arrive and proliferate, the better.