I commute to San Francisco from Sonoma County for work and take the ferry. The ferry is a lovely and very civilized way to commute, especially compared to the crowded, dirty NYC subway I travelled on for most of my life. On the ferry, you get a seat 99% of the time, they serve coffee in the mornings and wine in the afternoons and the views are amazing, like the one below:
This past Friday, I boarded the 7:50am ferry and as I was way behind on my email decided to power up my computer and use the 30 minute ferry ride to catch up. I try to end each work day by going through my email but the day before was hectic and I had an appointment after work and didn’t have time so thought I would do my email on the way to work so I could settle into my day easier.
The man sitting across from me on the ferry, however, did not approve. He shook his head at me and said “Just like my daughter, always working.” He then proceeded to lecture me on how I don’t have to reply to emails instantly and that I should relax, get a cup of coffee and enjoy the view or read the paper as he was doing.
I listened for a bit, took a deep breath, and said something along the lines of “While I can appreciate your perspective of only just meeting me and seeing me sit down and instantly put on my computer, it is up to me how I manage my time and when I choose to relax or work.” That put an end to him lecturing me, and he moved on to the woman next to me, to regale her with all of his secrets of life.
What this man didn’t know is that I woke up thirty minutes early that morning so I could mediate (as I do every morning). What he also didn’t know is that I had a conference call at 6:30am that morning and instead of letting it ruin my morning, I opted to do the call while taking a walk to town with my dog which is something we don’t typically get to do during the week and I find very relaxing. He also didn’t know that I chose to open my computer because I wanted to get a head start on my day, not because I felt I had to.
I could go on and on but the point is, it is no one else’s business but ours how we manage our own happiness and time. It is not our job to judge others or to make assumptions on what is motivating them based on their behavior. Good for this guy that he figured out what makes him happy. But guess what? I have my own tools to keep me happy and I do them on my own time and schedule. Sometimes I do relax and even meditate on the ferry and sometimes I work on the ferry and that is no one’s business but my own.