Do you know your neighbors? Do you have their phone numbers in case you need them? My answer was no 1 week ago. I mean, I knew them by name and waved hello the infrequent times our paths crossed but ever since my young boys grew up and I wasn't spending all that time watching them outside, I felt like I had retreated behind closed doors and wasn't really a presence on a street that used to be very social.
Well, the welcoming of a new neighbor directly across from us changed all that. It became crystal clear that I had to welcome this single woman, about my age, and several other single women neighbors, about my age, to a holiday-ish gathering at my house so we could re-knit a neighborhood. Food prepped, wine chilled, here's what I learned:
1. Gwen is an artist who was invited to speak at a University in the United Emerites.
2. Patty lost her husband, brother and sister all within 1 year and was just diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and remains grateful
3. Donna adopted 3 stray cats on our street and thwarted the efforts of Florida Power & Light to hack back our beautiful canopy oak trees.
4. Renee used to refinish sailboats, has beautifully relandscaped her yard (my view!), is now a night nurse and has invited her 90 year old mom to move in with her.
What a pleasure it was to get to know these wonderful women! What started out a little stilted ended up with exchanging of numbers, great gossip and hugs. Everyone felt a little more connected and less isolated and I think we all ended up with the comfort and knowledge that we have someone just across our shaded street to reach out to whenever the need is there.
Give yourself the gift of reaching out and inviting someone new into your life. Priceless!