My morning jog was not the same today.
I run. My goal is to run 5 K five days a week. I do this for my body and for my mind. I learned to love jogging.
So, I have been running in our neighborhood ever since we moved here, two years ago. I started by just going out and jogging, exploring the neighborhood and testing the terrain. I wasn’t sure if I would continue running here, because we live in a rural area and the road can be busy with trucks and cars driving at 40 miles per hour speed limit.
I noticed that the route I chose for running was manageable for my running abilities and what was more important – the drivers were friendly and respectful. I was grateful to acknowledge the cars slowing down and moving to the other lane when passing me, even though I would also move to the side of the road. I saw the hands in the vehicles waiving to greet me and I always responded flipping my hand up in the air. I still cannot connect the faces with the trucks and cars, but I know that those are my dear neighbors and I am grateful to them for being so considerate and nice to a jogger on their road.
Last Saturday we had a neighborhood picnic and for the first time, I met many of my neighbors in person. They already knew there is a jogger on the road and now they saw my face and met me as well. We had a great time together. People brought the food and the hosts made sure that everybody had a place to relax and enjoy.
In the morning today, I felt like my neighborhood changed for me. I felt not just welcome, I felt it is my home. I am safe here and I have people here whose well-being depends on me the same as mine depends on them.
When we move to a new place, it can be daunting to make a new acquaintance. I want to encourage you to persevere through that fear and step out of your comfort zone. I challenge you to go out and say hello to your neighbor. These tips might give you an idea.
- Just stop at the neighbor’s house, knock on the door and introduce yourself.
- Go for a walk and wave to your neighbors.
- If you see your neighbor across the fence in the yard, yell “Hello!”.
- Never mind if you receive a dirty look. Ignore. Today’s gloomy day might lead to tomorrow’s wonderful day.
- Offer to help if you can. This might be gratefully accepted.
- Share your plants, if you are a gardener. Ask for gardening tips in the area.
- Ask about the community events and how you can be involved. (picnic, fundraising, garage-sale)
- Smile and be friendly. It’s just a light connection, which might develop into a long and deep friendship.
- Be courteous in every way when you meet your neighbor.
- Commit to the well-being of your neighborhood.
Whatever you are doing to get to know your neighborhood, do it with a light happy heart. People need people even though at times we don’t want to admit this.
Our ultimate goal is to live in a safe world and building safe neighborhoods is a way to go.
Let me know how you connect with your neighbors in the comments below.
Much love for now.