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Sunday, November 14, 2010

A community with UNlike-minded people

By Eilleen
Consumption Rebellion

Hello everyone!

Readers of my personal blog will know that its been a very busy few months here for me. I'm at the final stages of closing a major chapter in my life and starting a new one. I'll be moving soon!

And as with any endings and beginnings, I can't help but reflect over the good and the bad of the last 15+ years.

One of the things I'm going to miss is my neighbourhood. For outsiders, this may seem very strange. At first glance, my neighbourhood seems to be an eclectic mix of very UNlike-minded people. We all lead very different lives and have very different outlooks. I am the only person in my community who is committed to ethical to consumption and simple living.

And yet, I do belong and am supported by this community. Let me share with you an example of what happened only a few days ago...

One day, after work, I decided to mow my lawn...but my lawnmower wouldn't start. My neighbour noticed and came round. With a bit of tinkering he figured out what was wrong and it finally started.

...so I started to mow my lawn. And 5 mins later, I hear another noise of another lawnmower...the neighbour who helped me start mine has gotten his lawn mower out and was mowing the other end of my lawn (I have a VERY big front lawn).

And with 2 mowers going we finish the yard in record time...and we notice that our other neighbours' lawns were also unmown....

So we took both our mowers across the road and we mowed their lawns. And when we finished that in record time, we then took it to the next house and mowed the front lawn there too. And while we were doing that, his wife came round and got my kids weeding parts of mine and her gardens so I can continue mowing other people's lawns.

Then it got dark, so we trudged back to my place and enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine.

The next day, I come home from work and I noticed that another garden bed of mine had been weeded...the neighbours who's lawns we mowed finished the job of weeding our gardens for us.

My front lawn nicely mowed and weeded.

And that's my community...they may not believe in simple living or ethical consumption - indeed, we often (good-naturedly) clash on these topics (and others including religion, politics and most contentious of all...home and garden decor :P).

However, I have since learned how far a bit of kindness, generosity, tolerance and a sense of humour can go in building a community with people who are very different from me. They may not live the same kind of life as I do, but they still help me live that life.

So as I prepare to leave this community, I can only hold on to those same community building values and hope that my new neighbourhood will one day, also be my community.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend.

6 comments:

rhonda jean said...

Eilleen, that is a beautiful post. I was smiling as I read it. What a great neighbourhood, and you're right, we don't have to believe the same things or share the same values to get along and help each other.

I have to say too that you're a valued member of this co-op community and I'm thankful you're here with us. Good luck with your move.

jay said...

A good gesture is a good gesture no matter what you believe in or what your interests are.

I also love my neighborhood.
I recently got to know a very shy neighbor by mowing his over-grown front lawn. He brought a box of donuts as thanks and over the last few months we have become quite friendly.

Best of luck with the transition.. its definitely hard to uproot yourself but I know you'll do just fine.

Ilene said...

I would miss that neighborhood, too.

But sometimes I think a neighborhood is what you make it. And I have a feeling that the neighborhood you move into will improve with your presence. Caring for one's neighbors is contageous! Hugs, Ilene

simplifyingthesimplelife said...

What a great story! Thanks for the post. I also live in a place with UNlike minded folks, a neighborhood that looks differently than the place we expected to live. But, it's always important to remember we have more that unites us than divides us. We just tend to dwell on the differences. Best of luck with your busy times!
-Lisa

Tree Huggin Momma said...

I would love to find a community like yours. I use a push reel mower and I often mow both my neighbors lawns when I am out mowing my lawns, they repay me by calling the NET Office on my for having "weeds" (I had beautiful native wildflowers growing in my side bed) and for having hay stored in front of the house (the hay is for prepping more lawn to be converted to beds, and is organic, but I had to take it in the spring as they didn't want to store it, got a good deal though). Not once did either of them offer to help me weed, nor ask what I was planning on doing with my Hay.
Neighborhoods and Communities are a dying art... but those of us committed to reviving them certainly can. Imagine the neighbors shock when I mow her lawn after she has called a complaint in on me and I say, that's ok, I get that not everyone understands my way of doing things, maybe next time you want to aks me what I am doing first :)

And Sow My Garden Grows said...

Great uplifting post. Good luck and best to you on your move.