Boston commuteYou’re thinking I’m crazy, because what is there to like about getting up early and jumping on a train everyday? It can be dirty, germy, and crowded. And the T during the summer months? Well, you kind of have to be there. So what is there to like about my Boston commute? Well, LOTS!

Some of my favorite childhood memories are of hopping on the Green Line in Brookline Village with my grandmother, heading off for an adventure. I can remember her pulling out an old change purse and counting out one token and $0.15 for our trip into town. Shopping, museums, “The Nutcracker.” You name it, we did it. Now as an adult, I get the same butterflies during my morning commute.

After living in Vermont for 12 years, city life was something I craved. When my husband and I moved our family to Massachusetts three years ago, there was no question in my mind that Boston was where I wanted to work. Living 33 miles outside of the city and having to commute was nothing new for me — I lived 30 miles outside of Burlington, VT, and had to drive at least 30 minutes to reach many things.

The difference between there and here? The MBTA.

Sure, it has its faults, and the winter months present challenges and unpredictability. But my travel time is my ME time. It’s the time when I can write, read, listen to music, unwind, and think. I’m reading more books than ever, I never have to drive in poor weather conditions, and my carbon footprint has been drastically reduced.

Taking the T often means getting in a good walk, too — and I couldn’t love walking through Boston more! Weather and temperature permitting, my typical route is from Back Bay to Beacon Hill. I could take the T (and during certain times of year, I do), but why would I when I have access to the Public Garden and the cobblestone sidewalks of Charles Street? There is something to be said for taking a city stroll — it puts me in the perfect state of mind for tackling a crazy day or for relieving stress at the end of one. I love that I can leave the chaos of my work world behind because I am too busy admiring the beautiful swans and willows or window shopping on Newbury. It feels like a luxury to arrive at home refreshed, inspired, and ready to spend the evening with my family.

All that said, things don’t always go as planned, and even my sunny disposition can be crushed by a weather delay or switch problem. Commuting does have some downsides. Taking a train at 5:35 a.m. in the winter is not ideal. Waiting around in the evenings because the commuter runs on a less frequent schedule can be maddening. I am also at the mercy of not only the commuter rail schedule, but the T as well. Two to three minutes can make all the difference in the world, and missing a train by one minute at the end of the day is kind of a nightmare. I have been late to work, stuck on the track, and stuck in Boston.

These experiences, however, are the exception and not the rule. Over the course of my commuter years I have become better about preparing myself so that even if there is an unexpected bump I have snacks, water, my laptop, and my phone at the ready. I can catch up on the news, pay bills, answer emails, watch movie trailers, text with friends, even sleep! The other day I checked in with two different family members, paid a bill, and set up a play date. By the time I made it home, I felt like I had accomplished a few things and could actually be present.

I would absolutely love to be closer to the city, but I also fear that I would lose this precious time that, as a working mom, I desperately need. I choose to look at all the wonderful things my commute affords me and to appreciate the experiences I longed for in my previous life as a country girl.

Take a look at your day and your commute, and see how you, too, can make the most of your time. Maybe your bus ride allows you to finish a cup of coffee without your ever-helpful toddler sticking their hand in it. Maybe you release your stress by singing Taylor Swift at the top of your lungs in the cozy comfort of your warm car. Wherever it is, find that silver lining or positive attribute to your daily grind, grab it, and exploit it. You’ll be amazed at how it can enhance your life!