5 Life Lessons From Commuting

#TUBELIFE is tough sometimes.

I’m aware that this sounds like a very bizarre topic. It is, but there is a lot of to be learnt from taking the London Underground pretty much everyday. I currently work right in the middle of central London, and it’s an absolute tourist trap. I spend a minimum of two hours every day on London’s public transport network, so I’ve developed many tactics for speed walking through crowds, dodging tourists and giving people the ghost when they drag their enormous suitcase on my already jammed 9am tube train. These are just facts of life, and there’s something about the world’s oldest underground system that teaches you a lot about life.

You have to learn to let the stupid shit go

Stupid shit happens all the time, and I always fall for it. I’m always getting frustrated and overwhelmed at all the little annoying things that happen in my day: whether it’s late trains, cold tea or no parking spaces at the gym, I’m annoyed about it. Commuting everyday makes sure that I have the misfortune to suffer that dumb shit that happens all the time. At least twice a day something happens – trains stop at red signals, passengers try and bash through the closing doors or people eat gross-smelling food right next to me – but I’m learning to block it out. Just like in life, you’ve got to learn to let the mishaps and misfortunes go, and remember there will always be another train alone in a minute.

Move Along

You gotta keep moving. There’s nothing worse than someone stopping right in front of you in the middle of the tunnel on the underground, and it’s the same with life. If you don’t keep moving, your growth will falter and you’ll find yourself stuck amidst a swarm of unknown faces moving towards their future. You don’t want that. You have to keep putting one foot in front of the other, swing your bag over your shoulder and power up the stairs. Get into the groove of your flow and weave your way around the people that form boulders in your life.

Sometimes The Hard Way Is The Only Way

Sometimes the only way up is the hard way. The long slog up the Marylebone staircase – all 120-ish steps of it –  when the escalator is broken or being blocked by the 3000 people queueing up to stand on it is actually quite the challenge, but you emerge at the top, thighs burning, heart pounding, in all your exhausted glory. You’ve got the go the long, hard way to your goal sometimes, and while it sucks, it’s actually more rewarding. 

You Can’t Avoid The Idiots

There will always be people that bring their suitcase big enough to fit a full grown man inside on a jam-packed rush hour tube train and that dawdle down the platform while everyone else is rushing to get to work, but these idiots are everywhere. They’re just a fact of life. They’ll step on your heels and stop right in front of you, but you just have to step aside, give an eye roll that they can’t see and journey on.

Pick Your Battles

Not every tube battle can be fought, otherwise I would never leave the confines of Oxford Circus station for the skirmishes and tussles that I would get myself into. Sometimes you have to say when someone is doing something antisocial or irritating – like not moving down inside the carriage when there are people trying to get on board – but sometimes you also have to not say anything, give them a good glare and settle back down into your podcast.

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