Obviously, people have to work to make a living. Whether it’s working for one’s own business or for a company, people have to somehow get to work from where they live. The nature of a person’s commutes says a lot about people. I personally choose to live within 20 minutes of work. Since I’m living alone and not in my house, I was able to choose to live in an apartment within a certain distance of work and other parts of town where I like to hang out. Family people in which both spouses work often have one person driving further than the other out of necessity. But I’ve noticed that many people will sacrifice a large percent of the time in their lives just to live in a nice house or in a certain part of town where large plots of land are affordable or where it’s cooler.
I find it ironic because the fact that a commute is long takes away from time to enjoy the place that is the reason for the long commute in the first place. Of course there are budgetary concerns such as the price of housing near work and the price of gasoline. Those figure into the equation as well, but people don’t realize that the wear and tear on the vehicle, the gas expense, and the value of the time used to commute can exceed the savings in living far from work. I just don’t understand people who commute 3 hours each way to get to a job. How do they have time to see their family and friends, work out, or partake in a hobby? Time is all you have to make something of your life. If you use a significant portion of it to drive to and from a job, it’s non-value added, except for perhaps getting to enjoy driving your vehicle and some music. Driving is not exactly the safest activity either. Many long commutes involve stop-and-go driving which is annoying, (and bad for your car). Those who commute on trains or buses can at least catch up on sleep or read, but then they have to sit next to strangers and catch the bus or train on somebody else’s schedule. This is not always doable with some white collar jobs that have non-fixed hours.
In the end, it’s all about priorities. Some choose living circumstances over time. With our poor economy and housing market, many people’s hands are tied as they can’t sell their homes to move closer to work. Often school districts and quality of education dictate where they live. When people have the choice though, I don’t think people don’t “run all the numbers” on time and true costs enough when they decide where to live.