I have a terrible track record of being neighborly. In the five years since moving out on my own, I've really only been friendly with one neighbor. It actually makes me a bit sad because having great neighbors is one of the best parts of the communal living experience. People looking after each other, enjoying each other's company, and sharing life together can enhance the lives of everyone involved. Perhaps I'll find that neighborly spirit when Alison and I buy our first home in a few years. Regardless of where we live, we all need to reclaim a strong sense of community in our neighborhoods.
I have in my mind a vision of the perfect neighborhood where we welcome newcomers, help each other in time of need, water someone's plants while they're away on vacation, and grill in the great outdoors together. I hope that one day Alison and I will find a neighborhood where all of those things are true. It seems like these days, we're just a little too focused on our own lives; neighbors are almost the enemy. They play their music too loud, their guests take all of the best parking spots, and they don't keep their lawn properly maintained. We spy on one another, ignore new families and live as ships passing in the night. While this level of apathy towards our neighbors may not be true for everyone, I think it's important for us to reconnect with one another as people. Your neighbors may not be your best friend, but you can be friendly towards one another. They have stories, passions, dreams, families, and so much more, just like you do. You can talk about more than just the weather.
Today, I want to encourage you to be a bit more neighborly. Whether you live in an apartment, townhouse, or a house in the suburbs, be more friendly to those who live around you. Share a smile or a hello. Learn your neighbor's name and, if you’re doing things to avoid them, stop. We all want to live in a friendly, vibrant community and that type of community is only built by people engaging with people in meaningful ways.