Every morning I seemingly race out the door to catch my ever so unreliable train from the station down the street. I enter the uncomfortably warm space and begin my hour commute to work, a slight anxiousness in my chest as I question if mass transit will be on my side for once this morning.
I give props to the people who can read on the train. My brain just is not that awake yet. In fact, as much as I complain about how far I have to travel to reach another Boston location, it's sort of my wake-up routine. My zombie-like self just goes through the motions as I leave, but as I reach each train stop, my brain becomes much more in tune with the day ahead. This time is where I sometimes find my mind wandering all over the place, thinking about things too complex and insightful for any normal 6:30 a.m. commuter's stream of consciousness.
But alas, I feel some of those thoughts were worthy to share, so here we are.
1. A combination of "I'm too tired for this" and "I should have left 5 minutes earlier"Giphy
I swear to you I used to be a punctual person. Now I find myself searching for 5 minutes of extra sleep or time to recharge before I venture out to wherever it might be. This is not limited to work, and although I feel the strong effects of a new routine and 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls, I remember that I am lucky to sleep in a comfortable bed each night. I remember that I am a member of a team that so heavily relies on me to be present and ready to work. Without that rest and my timeliness, I throw off the equilibrium.
2. I wonder what everyone's story is on this train?Giphy
Entering a train filled with complete strangers, I tend to wonder what everyone's backstory is. You see a mom with a stroller, ready to drop
her children off at daycare; you see a student cramming in their last minutes of studying; you see businessmen and women with their briefcases, ready to hop off for a long day behind their desk; you see individuals asking for a little guidance.
You'll see the most interesting clothing combinations, loud talkers, questionable morning breakfast choices, and interesting book selections. You see people who look like you, and those who do not. What are everyone's stories? Where did they come from? What roads have they traveled that brought them to this morning commute? We all have a story, you know.
3. Why are you pushing through this crowded train and yelling at other humans at such an early hour?Giphy
There is nothing worse than a packed train. By no means am I claustrophobic, but I do enjoy my personal space. Some mornings it is a consistent self-coaching session that this train, in due time, will empty as you get closer to work. But what boggles my mind the most are those who are seemingly so absorbed in their little worlds that contemptuous and curt words roll off their tongues, voicing some sense of entitlement to the very car you all consume.
It is a simple kindness principle. We are all trying to get where we need to be going. We all become frustrated as trains take short stops or announce they are out of service status unexpectedly. We all have to reach the door and push through a crowd to exit our stop. It is amazing how far a simple "excuse me," "thank you," or "sorry" can travel, versus those who are angrily screaming "move!". I am a whole lot less inclined to want to move my body in the latter situation.
In short, be kind to strangers, because even if it isn't you in a rush that morning, I'll be my bottom dollar it will be you one day.
4. We are a part of such a bigger picture.Giphy
My favorite Boston train stop view is at Charles/Mass General Hospital. The car slowly emerges from underground and inches across the bridge that separates Cambridge from the spectacular Boston city skyline. The John Hancock and Prudential buildings proudly stand tall, the Citgo sign and Fenway Park stretch towards the end of your view, and an amalgamation of boats course through the waters.
Among those city streets are a bunch of humans embarking on their daily journeys. From a bird's eye view, you would see these microscopic bodies scurrying around, making you realize how you are just one piece of this gigantic world. Zoom out on that view even further and you see multiple cities and towns operating in the same way. Billions of parts across the world that join together to create this ginormous, interconnected whole. Explore, learn, contribute; you are such a part of this place.
Maybe that's a little too much thinking for a morning commute, but that is simply where my mind wanders. To these thoughts about others and how we all connect, somehow. To these little wonders and inquiries of how we all impact each other. These moments where I realize I am lucky to be in the shoes I am in and my commuter complaints pale in comparison to others' situations. Food for thought, but now it is my stop, and I am almost late for work.