Good Neighboring

“BEACH SANDS”, overall 5’x5′, wood covered with sand from Florida beaches


I feel weird saying I actually have little experience being a neighbor.

Where I grew up in suburban Detroit there were huge lawns separating all of us.

We waved in recognition but that was about it.

In later years my proclivity toward privacy and space had me in various apartments and houses with the anonymity of urban life or the luxury of space in the country.

I love where I live now perhaps more than any other address.

A good deal of that comes from learning how to be a good neighbor.

I have to. I want to.

It is challenging. It is a joy.

We are 30 + folks living here together. Very together.

This is a senior housing development dedicated to those in need. We have spectacular landscaping, high ceilings, good tile floors and a garden patio out back.

The architects were foxy folks who understood the leanings toward isolation in the over-50 set and proceeded to use the parking lot as a sort of plaza. Pretty much everything said or done out there is known to all as each of our living spaces front the buildings.

This can be good and not-so-good.

Tolerance is really the numero uno virtue here. Some people I jive with and others I have never spoken to.

Each neighbor I know is a character (like me!). We are all a little set in our ways with age on us.

These good people have tolerated my dogs incessant and alienating barking as well as my own reserve in taking part in much of anything since I’ve been here for various reasons.

They must have some rich stories about me which likely have been spun before.

There is immense kindness to be found. And decided indifference.

We have varying aesthetics which challenges the artist/minimalist in me but so it goes.. We are a group of people living fairly intimately together and have to make it work.

I relax my control issues and begin to recognize our little enclave represents the microcosm of the macrocosm;

If I start behaving like my needs and desires are all that matter I am no better than the multitude of conflicts being waged in the world.

Living well closely together demands a hyper-vigilance born of some recognition that my neighbor is my brother..I watch out for him/ affected if something goes wrong..share happiness in their successes. I enjoy their beingness and try to tell them so.

I am learning these things.

We all must guard against our own self-importance.

That works for one. But not for two or the multitude.


3 Responses to “Good Neighboring”

  1. Apt # 8 on September 25th, 2014

    Very well stated and quite true Cathy, all of your neighbors are “in need”:
    some physical, some psychic, some both!
    With age (and infirmities) comes facing the realities of a long life, so, truthfully, who isn’t “in need”? Most all of us come from self – perceived more desirable places in our youthful lives!
    We are all where we are by the choices we have made.
    Cheers, dear neighbor!

  2. Jane on September 26th, 2014

    Always good to be reminded about what the Dalai Lama calls : “excessive self cherishment”… not a good thing. I

    I love the line that says: “If I start behaving like my needs and desires are all that matter I am no better than the multitude of conflicts being waged in the world.”

    Thanks, Cathy.

  3. KK on September 30th, 2014

    Behind every closed door, in every building where people live, there is a story.

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