I get up, get ready, get in a car, drive to the train station, look for parking, get on a train for an hour and a half, arrive at Penn Station, get another train, walk five minutes, and start my work day.
Is this killing me?
Before you go and post that comment telling me to move closer, you need to see that I'm not the only person doing this.
This is the train station I commute from.
This place is huge and yet it's full almost every single day.
Just this past fall they had to rip out an entire section of trees to make more space for parking and it's still not always enough.
According to US census data, the average American commute is nearly 30 minutes one way, a number that's been on the rise for the last few decades.
In general, people are choosing to commute further and farther than ever before.
And those long grueling hours in cars, on trains, or buses can take a toll on a person's health.
Especially when we all hate it so very, very, much.
If you commute or you've been on the internet at all, you've seen the articles and maybe you've read the studies.
Commuting has been linked to higher rates of obesity, stress, anxiety, depression, higher blood pressure, higher rates of divorce, neck and back problems, shorter lifespans, and you get the point.
Commuting long distances just isn't good for you.
But a lot of it comes down to how you do it.
For example, a Canadian study of commuters in Montreal found that people who walk, bike, or hop on a train had a higher life satisfaction than those with comparable commute times on other types of transit.
In another study, British researchers found that people who drive to work instead of using public transportation are more likely to be obese.
Sitting in a car all day really adds the negative effects of an inactive lifestyle.
You're sitting for hours on it and when all is said and done, it's really hard to find the time or the motivation to exercise. And that's not it.
Research has shown that driving alone in particular can make you more miserable.
You're alone with your thoughts for hours, often in frustrating situations, so it's not really surprising that this is the disaster for both your mental and physical health.
Yet according to a 2010 report, this is exactly how 80% of Americans commute to work every single day.
Now by comparison, those who take public transportation are slightly healthier and slightly more satisfied with life.
Yet we tend to be more negative about our experience overall.
Public transit commuters often resent the timetables.
If I don't leave work at 6 o'clock on the dot, I won't catch the 6:21.
if I don't catch the 6:21 I have to get on the 6:53, and that's the difference between me getting home at 8:00 p.m. and me getting home at 8:45.
Throw in things like transfers, delays, cancellations, and you have a really solid foundation for a very stressful, very annoying commute.
Basically none of this is looking good for my mortality.
Then why do so many of us do it?
Commuting has been viewed as a source of stress, but in fact it gives people a break.
It's sometimes the only hour of the day that individuals have alone, to be by themselves to think, to listen to music.
Meaning my commute isn't technically dead space in my day.
I catch up on reading, I listen to podcasts, I take advantage of the alone time, but I can also get work done when I need to.
The change in communications has made commuting an extension of the workday or an opportunity for the individual to do things they couldn't otherwise do.
It's not just a way to go from point A to point B.
In other cases, where people live in the gig economy,
and so, having a home that is accessible to transportation is far more important than having a home which is next to your workplace.
If you're not gonna have a lifetime job, let's have a lifetime home.
So is my commute actually killing me?
Well it's certainly not the best way to spend so much of my time and it is exhausting, but you can make the most of it.
And there's something to be said about coming home at the end of it all.