Friday, 21 August 2015

the people in your neighbourhood

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

One of the pleasantries of life we seem to have lost over the years is getting to know our neighbours. I listened to one of the women at work bemoaning the time she lived in a cul-de-sac and "everybody knew everybody's business". She hated that she was part of a neighbourhood network.

When our children were growing up we lived on a couple of acres in a semi-rural area. All our neighbours were at the same age and stage as us and all our children knew each other and played together and we visited each other's houses regularly for coffee and catch ups. We even had get togethers a couple of times a year so we could all keep in touch. I think living that little bit farther apart (because of the size of our blocks) meant we didn't feel the need to protect our privacy and our "space" as much as you do when you live tooth to jowl in suburbia.

Moving into that dreaded suburbia was an interesting transition. We lived in our house for a couple of years before we got past nodding acquaintance with the people next door. Personally, I blame the distance on our self-opening and closing garage doors. You drive in and press a button and your door opens and then closes behind you - no getting out of the car in the driveway and no chance to catch the eye of the neighbours for a quick hello or a chat. Zip out in the morning and off to work, and zip in when you come home from work - and then you are in your fortress of solitude for the evening.

#midlife blog crestingthehill.com.au

One of the unexpected bonuses of having more time on my hands is that I am getting out and walking around the block in the mornings - my one small claim to doing any exercise! The added bonus is that it has given me the opportunity to connect with my neighbourhood. I chat to anyone and everyone that I come in contact with - if you're watering your lawn or walking your dog then I will say hello and if you are in the mood for a chat then I am the woman for the job!

I've progressed to knowing the names of at least a dozen near neighbours and I'm even on coffee and weekend catch up terms with my closest neighbour (who is a midlifer just like me). I get to pat the other neighbour's dogs, I get (unasked for) advice from another retired neighbour who thinks he has the answer to everything......I'm happy to listen to him because I might gain a bit of knowledge somewhere along the line and it's only a matter of time before he invites me into the backyard to see his model railway set up (yes - exciting stuff I know!)

So, I am becoming the bastion for all things neighbourly - I want to fight the automatic garage door mentality. We may not be up to holding street parties yet, but that's only a matter of time. I just need to talk my introverted husband into starting a Christmas get together and we'll be off and running. I really hope there are others out there fighting the good fight for being part of other people's lives and not too many moving out of their cul-de-sac to escape the friendly people next door. I threatened our neighbour with wearing my underwear on the front lawn if they thought about selling up - a sure fire way to scare off any potential buyers!

22 comments:

  1. Good for you! I admit that I don't know my neighbors that well either, beyond a quick "hello". Love that you're making an effort to go beyond that!

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    1. we are so insulated now days Emma and I think we miss out on human contact more than we realize - thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I wish I had this. I've tried chatting with neighbors and get to a point where I feel like we're moving beyond just a chat, and then they move. I'll just keep trying.

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    1. People can be very transient - our neighbour nearly sold their house and then changed their mind - I was quite relieved at not losing all that "getting to know you" time!

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  3. Bizarrely, in a big city like London, I know all of my neighbours on my street. I'm a chatterbox, so they don't have a choice 😄. For me, being familiar with the people around you makes a location into a neighbourhood.

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    1. Exactly! I love a good chat and I think other people forget how much they enjoy the contact - but once they get past "hi" it's a whole new world!

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  4. Bravo for you at keeping those fences down!
    Estelle

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    1. thanks Estelle - it's actually a blessing in disguise because it works both ways :)

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  5. I loved that post Leanne, good for you for making the effort to get to know people. I bet those neighbors love that you have broken the ice. If the underwear does not work then just play loud music when the buyers come.
    Thanks for cheering us up on Fridays Blog Booster Party #20

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    1. thanks Kathleen - I'll keep the loud music up my sleeve as a backup plan ; )

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  6. So glad you wrote this as a reminder to us all! We shouldn't need reminded but we all get so busy in our lives. It is sad that so many people are lonely and even a simple hello and a smile as you are walking your dog, bringing in your trash cans - whatever - can create such a better day for each other. Nice post!

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    1. that is so true - everyone loves a smile and someone showing some interest in them.

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  7. When my kids were growing up we only had one neighbor because we lived so far out in the country. We would take them camping every weekend to give them a chance to play with other kids. Here we have neighbors on both sides they're nice (one really nice, one nice but in a creepy kinds way). We tend to stay to ourselves.

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    1. when you live on top of other people you have to find the boundaries that you're happy with - creepy neighbours are outside the boundary!

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  8. We moved within the last year and I have passing acquaintance with a couple of neighbors but I would like to know them better. We are thinking about having a meet the neighbors social hour sometime this fall. I grew up with neighbors and I missed them in the years we lived in the country.

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    1. It probably took a couple of years before we got past the "hi" stage with our neighbours and I think a meet and greet speeds that stage up really well - hope you find the time :)

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  9. I was raised in a small town and I loved it! Our cul-de-sac has recently had a 'Everybody Change Places!' and everyone in it, except us, is new. Sigh. Here's to starting over!

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    1. Don't you hate that Diane - there should be a rule that good neighbours aren't allowed to move house!

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  10. Congratulations this post was in the TOP SIX most clicked on Fridays Blog Booster Party #20. Well done. It will be featured on Friday
    Kathleen

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    1. that's lovely news Kathleen - thanks so much for the blog booster parties - I love them :)

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  11. The only reason I knew my neighbors when we had a house was because I was the treasurer for the HOA. Two years after we sold and moved to an apartment, we are just getting to know some of the neighbors here. Definitely not like when I was growing up. Thanks for sharing your post at the #AnythingGoes Link Party.

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  12. I have terrific neightbours and consider it such a wonderful asset - I am very lucky!

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