Cuba after Sandy. Pic from The Telegraph

By now we all now of the devastation Sandy left on the East Coast and Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other islands in the Caribbean as well. As a result, New York’s Public Transit was a complete and utter mess. The 1st few days after the storm, there was no transit except for a few limited buses. Gradually, bus service was restored as was limited train service. However, no trains where running between Manhattan and Brooklyn as a result of the East River flooding and the area around 34th Street having no power. To compensate, MTA offered free shuttle buses between Manhattan and Brooklyn, from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 54th and Lexington Ave, and from Jay St. – Metro Tech to 54th and Lexington as well.

It sounds nice and simple, and it did flow well. MTA did the best they could with what they had. However, many New Yorkers rely of public transportation therefore they depended on those shuttle buses. Granted there were other modes of transportation; drive if you have gas and 2 other people in the car, bike it (which I need to seriously start considering) or stand at the bridge and try to be the 2nd or 3rd person in the car to cross the bridge (I’m not joking, Bloomberg made it a temporary restriction). There were also dollar vans charging $5 and $10 to get across (if you’re ballin’ like that). Still, for thousands or NY residents like myself who didn’t want to spend $20 round trip, or jump in a strangers car, or have a stranger jump in their car, free shuttle buses where the only option. And they where a time-consuming option.

Here’s what my trip looked like:

  • Catch the bus from home to Atlantic/Barclays Center
  • Catch the Shuttle bus from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 42nd and Lexington
  • Walk to Times Square
  • Catch the 2 train to 125th Street

Sounds relatively simple right? Let me add the time to it.

  • Catch the bus from home to Atlantic/Barclays Center (1 hour)
  • Catch the Shuttle bus from Atlantic/Barclays Center to 42nd and Lexington (If you lucked out like I did, 45 mins, if not, 2 1/2 hours)
  • Walk to Times Square (10 mins)
  • Catch the 2 train to 125th Street (40 mins because it ran local)

That was going TO work. Coming BACK? Make that shuttle bus trip 3 hours.

And there you have it. My Thursday commute came to a grand total of 8 hours of travel for 4 hours of work (I work part-time).

I spoke with my Director and he agreed to let me work from home (or the library in my case) because the travel time in correlation to my work time made it useless. Friday came. I get to the library, get on the PC and an hour later they all go offline. So guess who ended up making that journey to work?

While I was calling my Director to let him know I was coming in after all. I had an epiphany. Actually, I saw a picture on Instagram of a person smiling after traveling 5 hours to get to work. Then it hit me…..

If you love what you do, then having to travel 5 hours will may be a small inconvenience, but you’ll gladly do it because you are invested in what you do and are fulfilling your goals and/or ambition. You do what you love and nothing will stop you from doing it.

How many of us have jobs that we need in order to get by? Because we have bills? I know I do. I don’t hate my job. I actually like it, but I know this isn’t what I truly want to do. As a result, while I was making my treck to Harlem, I made the decision that I need to do what I love. But how am I going to achieve that goal? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Sit down and write out what you want. 
I am a visual person. I comprehend things and remember things better when I see it. So writing what I want helps me visualize my goals. Make a list of everything you want. Don’t worry about organizing it. Just get it out your brain and on to paper. You want to own a car? Write it. You want to start you own business? Write it. You want to go back to school? Write it. You’ll be surprised how much comes out your head once you get those juices flowing.

2. Re-read your goals, define, organize and assign due dates.
Once you’ve gotten all your goals out your head, begin to organize them by what’s more important to you and what can be accomplished quicker. For example, let’s say your list looked like this:

  • Get financially stable
  • Start working out
  • Apply for grad school

Short and sweet. Once you’ve gone back over your goals, defined, organized and assigned due dates, your new list may look like this:

1. Start working out
– Join my local gym
– Begin working out 3 times a week minimum
Join gym by: November 21, 2012

2. Get financially stable
– Re-do my budget
– Identify which expenses can be eliminated
– Pay $100 on credit card monthly
– Save $100 monthly
Have credit card paid off by: April 2013

3. Apply for Grad School
– Research 2-3 schools that offer my program of interest
– Contact admissions office for more information
– Research Scholarships and grants
– Contact possible references
Completed Application by: May 2013 for 2013 – 2014 School year.
– Begin classes September 2013

This is just a basic example. You can be more thorough if you like. I actually recommend it. Be specific about your goals and when you want them done so you can focus and work on them. You can make this into a Honey-Do list. I also recommend making a vision board. Whatever you create, make sure you place somewhere that is readily visible i.e. the fridge, your bedroom door, the apartment/house door.

My vision board. I’ll probably re-do if for the New Year.

3. Put your plan into action!
This may be the most difficult part. We may say we’re going to do something yet not follow through. I’ve fallen victim to that pesky trait known as procrastination. That’s why it’s important to post your goals. It serves as a constant reminder to yourself that you’ve made a commitment to yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a really good friend or family member who can act as a stakeholder. This person can join you in creating a plan of their own and you all can hold each other accountable. You may have similar goals (i.e. working out) that you all can accomplish together.

We’re nearing the end of 2012 so this is a perfect time to start figuring out how you’re going to do what you love. Good luck on those plans!!!