When you drive, just drive

Car RadioI was an avid listener of radio on my way to work.  It was a constant companion, background noise, a way to find out about new music.  As soon as my car started, the radio came on as well. And unless I picked up the phone, the radio remained on.  Yet during a recent work commute, I had one of those silly-yet-powerful epiphanies: I can turn the radio off.

This earth-shattering realization occurred to me as I was flipping between my preset stations one morning.   I quickly realized that all the stations had conspired to go to commercials at the exact same time.  After I started trying to decide which set of commercials sucked less, I decided it wasn’t worth it.

So I turned off the radio.  And it was wonderful.

I found it gave me time to think, which I had not realized I was missing.  I was more present while driving, even though it’s the same route I always take.  It removed the small stress of trying to find my favorite song on the radio.  Or at least trying to find a song on the radio.  (Which, between morning talk shows and commercials, can be a feat of strength.)

So I left it off for the remainder of that commute.  And then experimented with it being off on the commute home.  And I found that I felt more content when I arrived at work, and when I arrived home.  The next day, I decided that I would start my car with the radio off and would not turn it on until I thought of it.

Turns out that it takes a long time (often more than half my commute) for me to actively think “I want to listen to the radio.”  Turns out that between driving and thinking about my day, I have a lot on my mind.  Waiting until I think of the radio allows me to settle into my day (and my evening).

Adding not listening to the radio to my choices gives me more space.  It wasn’t a punishment or self-discipline, it was realizing I had one more choice than I thought.

Before I realized I had this choice, if a song came on that I didn’t like, I would search other stations to find a decent song and settle on something.

Now I don’t settle.  If I don’t like a song, I may try a couple other of my favorite stations, but I won’t settle.  I’ll turn the radio off and just drive.

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3 responses to “When you drive, just drive

  1. While finding a song during the morning commute can be quite a feat of strength, what you really need when driving in Boston is great strength of feet!

  2. you need Sirius XM or a head set with Pandora. No commercials and great music along with ability to expand favorite artists!

  3. Pingback: Silence on the Radio | Infused Life

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