Desk jobs have a tendency to make you feel fat. Well, actually, they have a tendency to make you fat, which in turn makes you feel fat. It’s a vicious cycle. Recently, however, I decided to put an end to all this fatness business and be all hip and trendy with a “standing desk”. I basically obtained a small table, coerced the maintenance man at my office building to saw the legs off to about 6 inches, stuck it on top of my desk, placed my computer on top of it and VOILA! Hello standing desk, goodbye love handles! (results still pending…)
In the midst of this stop-being-fat project, I also determined that I could burn a few extra calories by biking to work instead of driving. I have the luxury of living less than three miles from my office and across the street from the main bike path, no less. The only excuse I had for driving to work was that I didn’t actually own a bike; once I solved that problem, I was ready to hit the road.
The first day of biking was incredible, albeit somewhat surprising. It felt wonderful to let my hair fly in the breeze and have the sun kiss my shoulders as I weaved through the quiet neighborhoods, over foot bridges, and past the horse riding ring. What I wasn’t expecting was to be the sweaty girl huffing and puffing along on a squeaky old beach cruiser as the other cyclists whizzed past in their sleek spandex suits. I’d mentally raise my fist and shake it defiantly at their backs as I silently cursed them and their stupid helmets (as I clearly did not need a helmet at my speed) and then forge onward.
Nevertheless, the journey gave me a chance to really look around and take in my surroundings, and I realized what a beautiful few miles lay between my home and my office. It occurred to me that every morning when I step in my car I simply put myself on auto pilot and turn on the tunnel vision; there are many things along the way that I’ve never even noticed before.
So now, whether I bike or drive to work, I make a conscious effort to be more aware and appreciative of my surroundings. If you have to commute to work, whether it’s a 5 minute or 50 minute journey via car, bike, bus, or train, why not take a look around? Surely there is something new to see; think of the things you enjoy along the way, and I guarantee it will put you in a better mood for the rest of the day. I know that I am lucky to live in Santa Barbara where just about everything is scenic. But even if you’re in LA on the 405, I bet you can find something to make you smile… it may be a challenge, but I dare you to try.
Here are the things I appreciate on my way to and from work:
1) The organic produce store: Right next to this tractor is a little shack that sells organic produce grown in the fields throughout Goleta. If I can’t make it to Farmer’s Market, I love how easy it is to pop in on my way home and pick up some fresh, organic, locally grown strawberries or whatever else I may need. It also creates such a small town feeling that it reminds me of home and my country roots.
2) The mountains: Santa Barbara is famous for its scenic waterfront, but the dynamic setting wouldn’t be complete without the mountains jutting up behind the town. They are a beautiful, dramatic, and comforting presence all at once.
3) The pumpkin patch/Lane Farms: Fall is obviously my favorite season to pass by the Lane Farms field because it becomes a patch brimming with bright orange pumpkins, bordered by a corn field they’ve transformed into a maze. I love watching the adorable kids run around picking their pumpkins and reminiscing in my own memories from that patch.
4) The horse ring: Sometimes the sound of horses whinnying floats through my bedroom window from the horseback riding ring across the street. Again, it reminds me of home.
5) The high school: It may sound strange, but I love passing by the high school and seeing the students chatting, studying, or practicing marching band, if only to remind myself of how glad I am to be done with that phase of life.
6) The foliage and gardens: Santa Barbara is home to a wealth of lush plants and everywhere I look fruit tree branches are weighted down with oranges, lemons, and avocados; bougainvillea is draped across fences; eucalyptus trees rise high above the bike path and rose bushes adorn front paths.
7) The bus stops: I don’t mean to sound like a creeper, but I really enjoy people watching. While I wait at a stoplight, sometimes it’s fun to peek out at the people waiting for the bus and try to guess where they’re headed and what their story is.
What things about your commute to work do you appreciate? Have you seen something new that you’ve never noticed before?
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