I recently moved to New York City, and now instead of the bus, I ride the subway to get to work. I’ve written before about the start to your day, but as my commuting habits have changed, I experience and witness new behaviors and interactions, all that make me think quite a bit.
Typically the subways are very crowded in the morning. Crowded like, you’re literally shoulder to shoulder with others, crammed into a tight subway car at 8:30 in the morning. This isn’t the most comfortable way to start the day by any means.
That being said, it amazes me that so many people get so incredibly angry and frustrated, when the day has just begun.
Yes, there’s not much room for personal space or breathing room, but this is something that almost all 8 million people in NYC experience. Each individual commute is no different than the millions that are happening at the same time as you.
So when someone gets bumped into, or someone shoves their way onto the subway to cram themselves in, it can create a lot of tension, frustration, and even yelling. Presumably not long after we’ve all just woken up.
Now I’m not saying that these people should push their way into the subway car, or keep their backpacks and purses on while on the train, but confrontation, arguments, and self-mutterings only add to the stresses and frustrations of the daily commute.
It’s important to remember that the way to make change is by doing it with a smile.
Not many people are morning people, but your own lack of sleep, personal dealings, and moods shouldn’t be pressed onto others if they aren’t acting in accordance to your will.
We’re all living together in a very crowded city, anger and argument will only lead to an even more frustrated, anxiety filled commute.
So even if everything is going well in your commute, take your headphones off once in a while and get out of your own little world. Smile and chuckle to the person next to you as you both cram closer and closer together as more people fill the subway car.
Half of the reason why we continue hate our commute is because we ourselves take no action to make it better.
And if no one else is going to do it, you should.
Recognize that everyone on that subway, train, bus ride or walk is in the same position as you. You’re no different than the person who’s jammed up against you. So meet them with a smile instead of an eye-roll and sigh. Say hello instead of turning your music up louder.
Because while the city is so dense and crowded, disgruntled morning commutes could not bring people any farther apart and into their own world.
Start the day off with a smile to a stranger, and you just might set the tone for the whole rest of your day for each of you.