In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Wasted time

I saw an ad for Maclean’s magazine the other day. The magazine cover in the ad sported the headline, “We now spend the equivalent of 32 working days a year stuck in traffic.”

I thought to myself, “Goodness, that’s crazy. I don’t believe it!” My next thought was, “Where’s my iPad?” For the calculator, of course.

20110113_macleansMy daily commute time varies with the seasons but I’d say the average time is 25 – 30 minutes, each way. Let’s say an even 30 minutes, for convenience. That’s an hour a day. Five hours a week. Multiplying 5 by 52 is 260 hours a year! Applying some division, that’s 32½ working days a year. Looking at it another way, that’s almost 11 whole days.

If I could cut my commute in half, I’d gain 5½ full days of free time, every year. Frankly, I’ve had this very much on my mind because I mis-remembered my division and thought I was spending 32½ full days commuting, but happily, that’s not the case.

But still, 11 days?

I don’t consider it a complete waste, however. I listen to CBC Radio One so I get my local and international news while I drive. Given their programming, I suspect that I get a lot more local news than most people. It still irks me though. I’d much prefer to do the things I want to do, and not make the best of what I must do.

It hasn’t yet come to the point that I’m considering relocating over it. It might be different if my company owned the office in which I work. They’ve moved once already. They may move again and because of where I work in relation to where I live, it is very unlikely that another move will make my commute longer. In the meantime, I can take solace in the fact that I’m not among the 25% of Canadians who spend more than 90 minutes a day going to and from work.

The Maclean’s article is called “Stuck in Traffic.” It’s interesting and there are compelling aspects to the solution it proposes.


iPhone case made of awesome


VW diesel report: 2010


  1. Shawn

    I too saw the article. sure does justify driving a nice vehicle. I sure don’t want to spend that many days in a wreck.

  2. Kathleen Masse

    I suspect Southern California, Land of the Car, has it even worse. Even though the highways are very good here, the sheer volume (and in my opinion) poor driving skills, make commuting not only longer than necessary, but dangerous. When we do get the occasional rainfall, there are inevitably several crashes. We have at least one friend who commutes over an hour in these conditions every day. Let’s hope that Fortune truly favours the brave.

    • Rick

      Surprisingly, not! From the article, “A Toronto Board of Trade report earlier this year looked at commuting times in 19 major European and North American cities. Toronto’s ranking? Dead last: worse than New York or London, worse than Los Angeles.” It also reports the average Toronto commute time in 2005 as nearly 80 minutes. Having driven through Toronto on weekdays, I’m not entirely surprised.

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