The Neighbor Challenge

Now that I’m a blogger about community, I am much more aware of my community-related experiences – or sometimes lack thereof. I’ve combed through all areas of my life, looking for stories to share or ways to enhance my everyday routine to make it more community-oriented.

It’s been a bit of a struggle!

After reading Rebecca’s post a few weeks ago, I was reminded of a similar experience and a call to action.

My husband and I have been getting quotes (lots of quotes) to have our paver patio redone. Over the summer, we’ve met with no less than ten landscapers! Most have been very nice and informative, some have been more like used car salesmen.

One of the used car salesman-type was not-so-subtly listing all the other jobs he did in the neighborhood and mentioned he did a raised bed for our neighbors two doors down. “What are their names?” he asked. I stared at him blankly. I have no idea.

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Farewell to Facebook?

I had a light bulb moment the other day.

I have been considering saying “farewell” to Facebook for quite some time, but I wasn’t really sure why I was feeling unhappy with it. After reading a blog post that someone shared on, wait for it…… yep, Facebook, I realized the problem: it is not a reflection of real life and it’s having a negative impact on my self-esteem.

In the past, I have been one of the biggest supporters of Facebook: “You can connect with old friends! You stay up-to-date with dear friends who live far away! Everyone can look at photos of my cute kid! I can see photos of everyone else’s cute kids! It’s so much easier to distribute information to large groups of people!” All of those things were, and mostly still are true, but before you stop reading because you still like Facebook, hear what I have to say. Or better yet, read the blog post and decide for yourself.

Part of my frustration with Facebook is the superficial nature of the community. I know everyone uses it for different reasons and shares different levels of information, but I hope we can agree that it’s largely posts and photos of only the positive aspects of people’s lives. For example, I might post a photo of my daughter having a blast at Hersheypark (an amusement park in the town that chocolate built, if you’re not familiar). But what you didn’t see was her having a meltdown in the water park because she’d rather ride the other rides or me wanting to tear my hair out because I can’t believe she’s not having fun surrounded by millions of square feet of pure pleasure!

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Community = Comfort

There’s no denying it: I’m a homebody. In high school, my friends would say, “I can’t wait to get out of here!” or “I’m leaving and never coming back to this town!” and I just couldn’t identify with that.

Of course, I had the urge to spread my wings and be independent, but I loved my little corner of Central Pennsylvania!

College took me away for a few years, and I found myself in an entirely new community, but that’s a post for another day. Even when I got a teaching job near my college and about 45 minutes away from my hometown, I still moved back. The long commute gave me a chance to savor my coffee in the morning and chat with relatives on the drive home. (On a hands-free cell phone, of course!)

The point is this: I was comfortable in my familiar surroundings. My job and other aspects of my life forced me out of my comfort zone, but living in an area with which I was acquainted gave me such a sense of peace and belonging.

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