I try to take the train into the city whenever possible to avoid trying to find parking and then paying an insane amount to leave my car for x hours. (when I find myself with no option but to drive in, or if I’m in the city pretty late, I use SpotHero to make parking less of a burden).
These past few weeks, I’ve taken a bunch of different train stops and lines into the city to the point that I don’t even know what the schedule is anymore. On top of that, there are some weird cases where parking is free after a certain time in this or that lot, and parking lots are filling up more these days than not.
Two years ago, I could easily park at Downers Grove around 8:30AM and find a spot without any issues.
As of a year ago? You basically have to be there by 8AM and that includes deck 5 that has many signs saying how the deck is off limits for commuters till after 8AM.
So a year ago, I started parking at Fairview and could easily get a parking spot even at 10AM.
Now? You need to arrive shortly after 8AM. In fact, there are a few people I’ve seen at the Fairview stop that used to be the late arrivals to Downers Grove.
So if I can’t make it to Fairview, there’s Westmont, which for now has some parking available, but I’m curious if the trend continues, how it will change things.
At any rate, today was pretty unsual. I knew I wouldn’t make it to Fairview in time to find a spot, and so I left my house with more than enough time to drive the speed limit and even drive as eco friendly as possible.
My hope was that I would arrive at the train stop pretty relaxed versus my typical morning involving rushing to the train stop taking whatever shortcuts I can to make the train on time.
I ended up arriving at the Westmont train stop 20 minutes before the free parking kicks in. So I started to drive around. I timed how long it took to drive to Downers Grove, then Fairview, then Westmont, then back to Fairview, then back and forth. It was surprising how many times I could go back and forth in 20 minutes.
Not only this, but I was starting to get anxious. I was trying to restrain myself from speeding. I was even driving around 10 miles per hour on side streets (nobody else was on the road) and driving slower actually left me very anxious. I was continuously looking for other drivers that might get annoyed. Trying to look at my fuel economy to get it as high as possible.
I basically made a game of driving around the train station and brought the exact sort of anxiety that I was trying to avoid by planning to leave my house at a certain time.
I am not sure if there’s a solution as my anxiety stems from two extremes:
The feeling that I’m not getting enough done / meeting expectations
The feeling that I have too much on my plate and cannot meet expectations
Trying to balance between these two extremes is iffy at best and the difference between them can be a handful of minutes.
Lesson of the day:
Every minute counts. Don’t take a spare minute for granted.