May has been such a busy month. I volunteered to do some pro bono work and presentations in our community as part of my job. Work was already very busy without these added responsibilities and tasks. We ran a garage sale to raise money for our adoption. We were out of town three consecutive weekends to see family for various events, and to attend an all-day class as part of the adoption process with our agency. Jackie's schedule was also packed, as the school year winds down and there are more events taking place, and more pressure to get everything completed with the kids. With the election, I also had a day to work the election, and some additional meetings as part of my membership on a study committee looking at how we run elections in our county. Today, the first weekend we have stayed home this month, I feel like I kind finally exhale a little bit.
But, what really made the month seem so out of whack was facing car trouble for most of the month. Our Fusion, which we had bought used just earlier this year, was having various problems, which ended up including both a speed sensor, and later, transmission issues. I had taken the car in multiple times, had the car looked at, something on it fixed, and it would work fine for a day or two before acting up again. Several trips to the mechanics and back, I got the car back earlier this week, and thus far, have faced no more issues. *crosses fingers* So, hopefully, that adventure is behind us.
All this is a long introduction to, once again, how fortunate Jackie and I are. Despite all these issues, we were able to manage most of the month with only one car, despite our busy schedules and competing obligations. (We had one day where it was very difficult to make it work, and we so very lucky that some good friends were able to lend us a car for that day - again, we are fortunate). It certain took some sacrifice, and some creativity, but we worked it out. This is only possible because we live in a small town where Jackie works, so her drive is only 1 mile. So it was easy for me to take her to work in the morning before I commenced by also short 10 mile commute. I think about this because the first year of our marriage seemed to be defined by travel. I was still in law school, and commuting over an hour one one direction, while Jackie was commuting about 45 minutes in the other direction. Jackie's car at the time actually died during that time, and we had to rent a car for a week before we could arrange to get another car to replace hers.
But what I remember the most is just how much time that took from our lives, especially as compared to now. Jackie spends less than 5 minutes a day commuting now, as compared to 90 minutes a day then. I spend 30 minutes a day going to and from work now, as compared to two and a half hours then. It is amazing how much more time we have now solely because of that - Jackie has 85 more minutes each workday, or approximately 7 hours a week more time. I'm saving almost 2 hours a day, or 10 hours every week just by being closer to my "work" location. That's a lot of time.
When we were looking for a house, we made such an effort to buy in Middlebury, because that was where Jackie worked and she wanted to be in the same school district as her own school. I know that proximity to work was discussed, but never in the context of much that factor would improve our quality of life. And truly, it does improve the quality of life. Having collectively 17 more hours each week than we did during our first year of marriage has so many benefits, from being able to keep up on household tasks and chores for sure, but being able to have more time for each other, and more time to get involved with friends and our community.
As I think about that benefit, it makes me thankful that things worked out for us in this manner. When they talk about real estate, one of the sayings is that they're not making any more land. This is true. But time is also not an endless commodity for us humans. And learning how we can make better use of it, about not to waste it in activities that contribute nothing to our own lives and other lives, has been a great benefit for both of us, I think. Til next time.
"Time is what we want most, but what we use the worst." - William Penn
"You may delay, but time will not." - Benjamin Franklin