Enjoying ‘the drive’

The drive.

It started in May, as the drive signified transition, the miles between Tiffin and my previous home in Northern Michigan serving as a buffer between my challenging new job and my family.

For six weeks I lived out of a hotel, traveling home on weekends on a trek that alternated between pastoral farmland and concrete jungle. Farmland. Toledo. Farmland. Ann Arbor. Farmland. Flint…and so on and so forth.

Later, when we moved to our new house, the drive was the longest I’d ever had from home to work. It was a 10 minute wind-down through the one-way streets near downtown, past Tiffin University, through downtown, past Heidelberg University and through the agricultural landscape that heads out in all directions from Tiffin. It was a good opportunity to clear my mind from work’s heaviness so that I could be in the moment with my family.

“Have your head where your feet are” is something I try to live by, and the drive helped me achieve that.

A few months later, the drive morphed again as traversing between Tiffin and Findlay (and sometimes Fostoria) and back has become part of my most-every-day routine. Now the drive is longer, but not too long. It has become familiar, auto-programmed. It has allowed me to catch up on things — be it my morning coffee, a phone conversation or just letting my mind relax.

Many people have asked me about the drive and how I feel about it.

Truth be told, I don’t mind it. In a work life that has always bordered on hectic and with me trying to pour myself into my family when not on the clock, road time has always been therapeutic for me. It’s me time. It’s time to cruise, to slow down my world of emails, texts and people popping their heads into my office. Time to take a slow sip, listen to a little music, and allow myself to either prepare for the day, or prepare for the end of the day.

I’ve always loved driving. It’s an activity I look forward to. I’ve got a friend who manages an auto dealership in Michigan, and he clued me into what most certainly my post-retirement gig will be. He employs drivers to pick up and deliver cars from all around — mostly retired people hitting the open road a couple of days a week (often in pretty nice new rides!) No doubt, my retirement will begin with a multiple-week cross-country jaunt with my wife followed by my side gig at the dealership. I can hardly wait.

But in the now, still in my thirties, I will have to settle for daily jaunts across pastoral Northwest Ohio and the occasional longer trek with my family on the weekend. If you see me, feel free to wave, but if I don’t wave back it’s not because I’m being rude. I’m just focused on the moment, catching a brief breather before I jump into a busy work day or a busy household of children.

The drive isn’t as intimidating as you might think it is. For me, it’s rather enjoyable.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, The Courier in Findlay and the Review Times in Fostoria. He can be reached at jspeer@advertiser-tribune.com or jeremyspeer@thecourier.com.