The Thing About Neighbors

I was walking into my complex and overheard a conversation inside my downstairs neighbor’s condo. Not strange, except she lives alone. I paused in my curiosity. Yes, I’m nosy. “You don’t appreciate anything I do for you.” I imagined her little dogs lined up on the couch being lectured. It’s like she was playing school, but she wasn’t a child. Medication needed?

Young

One of my young guy neighbors was trying to hide his motorcycle inside since management was trying to impound it. He didn’t like parking it out front with the cars and as he stated it, “they are on my ass.” So up the stairs, he struggled and shoved until it was inside the condo. I wonder how his girlfriend felt about the chunk of metal in the living room?

Old

We have an older gentleman, one of the few condo owners who live here, besides me, who is working to clean the grounds. He is a well-dressed fellow, dress shirt, suspenders, and slacks. I’ll see him sometimes in the morning getting into his Mustang GT. I’ve never asked where he goes. Is he still working at his age? I’m not sure even how old he is. In the evenings and weekends, he’s picking up leaves and trash.

All

Neighbors remind me of the story Stone soup. At first glance my neighbors are annoying and I don’t know why I stay at this place. But I’m the stone, the rock in the middle of all this pot of water. They bring the flavor. The painter, a dog trainer, a nurse, and many more good people live here. If I get to know people their lives become more than static, more than the ugly boom, boom bass that disturbs me. Neighbors are people living their life. I have to re-frame it sometimes, understand the annoyance and let it go.

Something to read:

Does the Dog Walk You?

Walking a dog is supposed to be good for your health. What they don’t say is what type of dog. I had a dog, a 100 pound German Shepherd dog, that was difficult to walk. She pulled at her leash until she was hoarse. I’d listen to her wheeze and cough like she was a smoker, but it didn’t stop her. In my mind it didn’t make any sense. Why would she keep pulling so hard if it caused pain?

Ha! But don’t I do the same. This last week was a busy one, and the week before and so on. For approximately 2 months my office has been working overtime, catching up. Orders need entered and claims must be sent. You know how it is. We pull ourselves up and stop whining. And once the adrenaline kicks in we’re immortal. We can clean the closet, run a race, groom the dog, wash the car, mow the lawn, give blood, and feed the family. Right? Then it stops.

I realize I was like Crystal, my big lap dog of a German Shepherd, who didn’t know when to slow down. When your body and mind finally realized it’s exhausted, it starts shutting down. Some of us get headaches, others get the flu. As much as I’d like to preempt this, I also realize that I’m task driven and if it’s there, I will do. Just like my dog. I will pull at the leash and wheeze and choke the whole way. The best I can do at this moment is allow myself to crash. Ease up on the pressure I apply and like a fellow blogger put so perfectly, The Virtues of Lowering Expectations, 

When we expect ourselves to do everything  “to the very best of our abilities,” where do we think we’ll get more of the time, energy and focus necessary to be ABLE to  do everything equally well and at the top of our game?

  • Some of us will shut down in overwhelm, then beat ourselves up for our inability to activate, which makes things worse.
  • Some of us have discovered how to transform expectation pressure into a brain-stimulating adrenalin rush that allows us to slip into a getting things done perfectly state of hyperfocus that is just as disabling.

We wear ourselves down to a nub long before we realize we haven’t been functioning very well, so not much of anything was actually accomplished.

Finally exhausted, we slip into depressive ruminations when we can’t “make ourselves” keep up that pace.

There’s a book I read years ago called Three Black Skirts. Basically, it’s organization for young women. Keeping balance, it stated, was necessary for being healthy. I used to think that if I was going to do anything, I’d have to do it forever, such as writing 1000 words a day. I realize now that if something is more pressing, such as working overtime, then it’s okay to let up on other things. Balance is the key. I’m not abandoning an activity, I’m merely postponing or minimizing. Less wheezing. Less pulling at the leash. More at ease with life.