According to Newsweek, more than 3.4 million people have a daily commute that is longer than 90 minutes. Insane. I know it’s insane because I used to do it – Los Angeles to Orange County — and I went nuts. My whole life was organized around getting up at 4am to beat traffic and getting to sleep in time to get up the next morning.

I took the job because it was much better than any offer I had in LA, but I didn’t want to lose the life I had in LA. The thing is, I didn’t have a life anyway with my commute. I left that job after a little less than a year. To be honest, the job was great and enabled me to land future jobs in Los Angeles, near my home.

But what blows my mind is the people who think an extreme commute is a long-term solution. It’s not. Your life starts rotting away. Your friends and family don’t see you, you have no personal time that is not in the car, and perhaps most importantly, there’s no time for sex.

Take this last point seriously. David Blanchflower, professor of economics, found that the most important factor in one’s happiness is not money, it’s sex. And the two are not related, according to him. On top of that he found that the thing people do that makes them the most unhappy is…drumroll…the commute.

So stop rationalizing that a long commute will get you something you need. And stop living in denial about the true cost of those hours spent in the car: It’s your happiness, and good money or a big house in the suburbs will not improve things.

7 replies
  1. helix_r
    helix_r says:

    You’re absolutely right, Penelope. Thanks for saying it. More people need to say it: extreme commuting is crazy!

    For a while, I had myself convinced that it was “normal” to need an hour to “decompress” after my 90+ minute drive from DC to Baltimore. It most certainly is not normal. It sucks.

    In addition to the stress, unhappiness and slow withering of quality of life, long commutes also increase one’s exposure to car accidents. I’ve gone past horrifying accidents way too often. It always made me wonder when my “number” would be called!

  2. matchmaker
    matchmaker says:

    I can't believe you're in Seoul. I've been keeping my friends fattened up with recipes from your blog for a couple years now.

    If you're interested in seeing how Western-style baked goods have been claiming a space in Korea, check out some of the department store food courts (usually in the basement), such as Hyundae Department Store or Sinsegye. Likewise, Hongdae (the neighborhood in front of Hongik University) has a whole warren of side streets filled with cafes and bakeries.

    You should also look for han-jung-shik, if you haven't already. That's the equivalent to a multi-course formal dinner, and it will introduce you to many, many different banchan (side dishes).

  3. nike shoes hosting
    nike shoes hosting says:

    The thing is, I didn’t have a life anyway with my commute. I left that job after a little less than a year. To be honest, the job was great and enabled me to land future jobs in Los Angeles, near my home.

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