My challenge is on days where work is particularly shit-encrusted I have to both push that out and transform into "Daddy" on my commute home (my commute, mind you, with every stupid person who should never have been given a license in the first place).
I hear you loud and clear, SciFi. Most evenings, I spend 30-35 minutes in the car driving across the San Fernando Valley from my office to my house. I depend on that time to clear my head and get myself into daddy mode. Every so often, my commute gets congested like a nose during flu season and it takes me considerably longer to get to and from work. This is a lot of time to spend in the car, especially if you have a “shit-encrusted day.”
In my query for reader requests, I was asked what I listened to on my commute. I love music. There is nothing better than blasting some great music in the car, singing top notch in the audio cocoon that is the cab of your automobile. But the problem is when I listen to music my brain is still churning. Thoughts about work and the day creep into my head. I replay bad moments over and over. I worry about a project or plan for an upcoming meeting. These are the demons that will prevent me from being a good dad and husband when I'm off the clock.
This is why I don't often listen to music on my commute. I listen to podcasts. Words. Stories. News. Anything that forces my brain to process the ideas it's hearing and keeps it too busy to focus on anything else.
There are hundreds of podcasts out there and I have one for just about every mood I'm in. I find them to be nice, bite-sized pieces of radio, just the right length to finish in a drive or two. Here are a few of my favorites:
- This American Life – The granddaddy of modern public radio. I only jumped on this bandwagon a few years ago. Don’t know what kept me so long.
- Radio Lab – This American Life’s nerdy cousin. It’s a slickly edited, science geek-y show that covers science, music and so much more. You will learn things that will blow your mind and force you to rethink some things. (My favorite fun fact from the show: the amount of time you spend with your eyelids closed due to a blink while watching a typical movie is 15 minutes.)
- I Love Movies – Stoner comedian Doug Benson invites a few fellow comedians on stage to talk about movies. Sometimes they actually get around to talking about movies.
- The Moth – Stories told live in front of audiences by people from all walks of life. Some are riveting. Some are hilarious. All are true.
- SModcast – Director Kevin Smith (who is the king of all fanboys) and his buddy, Scott Mosier, sit around and talk about stupid shit for an hour. Sometimes it’s gross and sometimes it’s misinformed. But it’s always really funny. It reminds me of sitting around bullshitting with my friends.
If you have trouble letting go at the end of the day, try listening to words instead of music. Maybe they too will help.