When Your Morning Commute Is Backward

August 13, 2012 · 3 comments

Most mornings I wake up and roll over to my computer, still in my pajamas. Within minutes I’m working on my projects: creating a new digital course or brainstorming ways to promote my newest guide or editing blog posts for client Brazen Careerist. I so love this work that I like to get started first thing and take my gym break later.

Ever feel like you should make a u-turn?

Ever feel like you should make a u-turn?

But on mornings when I’ve stayed at my boyfriend’s place, I get to join the morning commute. He lives in a business district, so all I have to do is step outside onto the street and I’m swept into a current of people on their way to work. Participating in a (short) daily commute is something I miss now that I work from home; I love being part of the heartbeat of the city, helping D.C. start its day.

Except when I joined the morning pedestrian traffic last week, I realized I wasn’t really doing a commute. My walk was more like an anti-commute.

I live just outside the city, so going from the BF’s house to mine means moving against the flow of people, walking in the direction most commuters come from.

But my anti-commute is about more than reverse rush-hour. Most of the people I pass are on their way to their jobs in government, at law or lobbying firms, or with non-profit organizations, while I’m going home to work for myself, to create awesomeness as Innovator-in-Chief of my own business.

They’re trodding along in pant suits and heels, while I’m about to slip on my most comfortable pair of sweats.

They often look tired and not-so-excited about the day, while I’m already brainstorming on my next project. (Wondering how the heck I actually make money? This post explains.)

It’s easy to forget how much I like this workstyle (can I copyright that term?) when I spend every minute of every day in it, hopping from one coffee shop to another, taking walks in the middle of the day, and shifting my workday into the evening so I can go to mid-morning spin class. It’s like when you take time out from your life in the developed world to visit a country where most people are poor — and realize just how lucky you are.

My anti-commute reminds me just how good I have it, that even when I’m working hard and long, I’m building and selling something I’ve created, something I’ve proud of.

And that makes me feel like maybe my commute isn’t the one that’s backwards. Maybe all those other commuters are walking in the wrong direction, while I move forward.

Of course, everyone’s forward is different than their neighbor’s, which means my backward could be your forward, and vise versa. If you’re truly happy going with the flow, and if that current is helping you get where you want to be, then by all means, go full speed in that direction.

But if you’re following the commuter’s path just because everyone else is, maybe it’s time to turn around.

When was the last time you went against the flow?

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bobbi Klein August 14, 2012 at 9:47 am

What a great article Alexis! I work from home too as president of Splendore marketing firm, and numerous times when I go to the gym in the morning people always ask where are you going to work when I am in casual attire. I tell them home or the coffee shop. I love this lifestyle and always am going against the flow.
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Alexis Grant August 14, 2012 at 9:51 am

So great to hear from others who are living against the grain!

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Carrie Smith August 14, 2012 at 9:48 am

This is funny, because I do the backwards commute everyday too (although I never thought about it like that before). I work in a very remote office in the middle of no-where Texas. So every morning I’m driving against long lines of traffic coming into the big city. I grew up living out in the country, so I guess it’s no surprise I enjoy working out here too. Guess I was going against the grain and didn’t even realize it! Thanks for the “ah-ha” moment. :)
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