As I crossed the finish line last month having achieved my Eat Play Thaw goal of connecting with one neighbor every month for 12 months – a neighbor I didn’t already know or know very well – I’m now standing at a new starting line asking, “what’s next?”
A year ago I set out to try and do my part to thaw the Seattle Freeze by being intentional with my neighbors. Along the way a big part of the process was warming up my own “frozen behavior” by taking to task my own “stuff” – insecurities, procrastination & attitudes.
I’ve decided I really want to continue with my neighboring quest, once again challenging myself to do one thing each month to connect with people in my neighborhood.
I like having this type of goal. Life is busy and if I don’t have a goal out in front of me, my “stuff” may take over and I’ll find ways to retreat. I think one thing each month to increase connection with my neighbors isn’t too much to ask of myself. Meeting people is awesome, but real connection takes time. If I stop “neighboring” after just one year then really I’m just fulfilling the stereotype of the Seattle Freeze – friendly but aloof. Nope – I’m not stopping there. To quote one of my long-time distant mentors:
“Progress happens when you engage the world with your talents and your love. Just thinking about them without engagement does nothing.” – Dr. Henry Cloud
I’d like to think I’m adding a little positive mojo to the blogosphere. When I started blogging a year ago, I wanted to do something positive and with a little integrity. I investigated a lot of blogs for reference, and while there’s some that I really love: Maria Shriver, Dynamom and Seattle Mama Doc, there’s also a lot that leaves me cold. Today’s blogosphere is ripe with sarcasm and negativity, and sometimes I feel like there’s a contest to see who can riff on someone the loudest because often that’s what seems to get ‘clicks, likes and shares’. Too many mom’s trying to pass themselves off as parenting experts simply because they have a 3 year old, too many political agendas trying to set everyone straight. Too much!
For me the acidic, the difficult, the blue days, the uphill battles and the general crap of life will find me without any effort on my own. So, if I’m going to spend time writing, I want it to be about something hopeful, productive, full of levity and the brighter side of life. I’m no expert; I simply want to write about an honest journey.
I’m pretty sure the world doesn’t need my blog. But it definitely needs people to raise the conversation about our need for meaningful connection. Connection across our streets, connection across political ideologies and connection across the racial divide in our country. Last week another deeply troubled soul acted out in another horrific shooting of innocent lives, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. A church invited a visitor into their friendship circle, only to be betrayed by his agenda of hatred. I watched the details unfold in the news and kept wondering ‘why are so many so filled with hatred? What happens – or doesn’t happen – in a person’s life to bring them to such an act of violence?’
I know it certainly isn’t earth shattering to invite my neighbors to coffee or lunch or dinner (maybe in Seattle it is?). But I think it’s a place to start and it’s something I can do. I’d love to see – over the course of many years – what kind of long-term impact could be achieved in our neighborhoods if we would begin living with more intentional connection with one another.
So here I go, signing up for one more year of doing my part to de-ice the Seattle Freeze. Community, connection, friendship. That’s what I want to continue exploring and writing about. Anyone want to join me on this journey? Anyone have a goal to increase their impact on their community or raise the value of friendship in their lives? There’s lots of room in this online community for anyone ready to take the risk.