Speaking of challenges

Not too long ago, I was having coffee with a friend and we were talking about habits — I’m very much a creature of habit. Right down to the way I drive to and from work. And she said “drive home a different way every day.”

And that stuck. But I didn’t really put it into practice until they closed the underpass I drive under each day to avoid the train. The underpass was going to be closed for about a month and the nearest underpass aside from that one is really out of my way. So I told myself now was as good time to take that challenge and go home a different way each day.

My creature of habit nature resisted, but frankly, I had no choice. The construction workers might not appreciate it if I mowed down the barriers with my car and drove under the bridge anyway. No, that’s not a very good idea at all.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve actually enjoyed driving home a different way each night after work. I’ve discovered so many things from which tracks are best avoided because they are in disrepair to charming neighborhoods, charming people, charming animals — and I’ve waited for a lot of trains. Trains have taught me patience these past few weeks. The houses, people and animals have taught me to step outside my habits.

I want to pick one challenge a week for myself…in the previous post, I wrote this week is a no radio in my car challenge. Next week I plan on spending the work week with no personal social media (since I’m the social media manager where I work, I’d probably better not neglect that for a week).

The week after that? No idea. But it’ll come to me.


A week without radio challenge

Saturday when driving home from a busy 24 hours with family, my radio began to annoy me. I couldn’t find a station I liked so I turned it off. And I drove home in silence. And I never have my radio off when I’m in the car alone — I do when I’m driving with someone — it’s common courtesy for me .And I found out I loved the silence. Just my thoughts, the road noise and no noisy radio. I’m finding the world is a very noisy place — as in environmental noise.

So this morning as I pulled out of my driveway I started to turn the radio on…and I decided not to. And now it’s turned into a week-long challenge of just listening — and with my windows down on the way to work, I heard a lot:

* I didn’t realize there were so many crickets.

* My car is very noisy and likely needs a tune-up.

* The mechanical crossing arms at the railroad tracks makes a whirring noise when they are listing (after I sat and waited for two trains).

* I could hear two men talking as they pulled in front of me to turn.

And I was generally more alert, more in tune with my driving.

My goal is to make it to the weekend without radio. I may just find out a lot of stuff about the world around me from the view of my car.

I think next week’s challenge will be a week without social media.