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Being Neighborly

Today was one of those tough, lonely days. Even when the day starts out slowly, I usually have tennis in the afternoon, which helps me to feel productive. But no tennis tonight because of the rain. So it was hard to will myself to wake up after a long nap when there was nothing to look forward to but errands.

I did finally manage to bribe myself to get up with kettle corn. (I ate all of it, so I’ll have to think of something else for tomorrow.) And I talked myself into walking to the mailbox to get some steps. I ran into some of my neighbors, who chastised me in a friendly way for not being social. Which made me feel like a terrible person, of course.

I mentioned in a previous blog that I don’t socialize with my neighbors as much as they would like me to. In addition to not being retired, playing tennis almost every day, and not having much in common with senior citizens, the truth is, I’ve never been very neighborly. I think it’s because I hate small talk. I avoid it at all costs.

To make matters worse, when I am home alone I am usually sleeping because it’s so unbearable to be awake when I have nothing to look forward to. I thought about telling my neighbors that. How I’m often too depressed to overcome my aversion to making small talk to be neighborly. That leaving the house to check my mail was a big step for me. But that seemed like TMI.

I know they genuinely want to get to know me and want me to feel welcomed, but I wanted to cry after talking to them. I felt like this was just one more thing I should be doing that I was failing at. Right up there with regulating my sleep cycle, adhering to my GERD diet, and getting 10,000 steps. I hate it that my inner critic turns everything into an opportunity to fail.

So I’m blogging about this incident to diminish my inner critic’s power to make me feel bad about myself. I’m doing the best I can do. There will always be more that I could be doing. I can only focus on my goals for today. I made it to my dentist appointment. I freaking walked to Kroger, which is a huge accomplishment (but sadly, only got me about 3,000 steps). And I am writing this blog post.

And I talked to my neighbors when I got my mail. Which wasn’t even on my list. So there!

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

6 responses »

  1. I feel the same way. The neighbors I socialize with number 3 out of 40. The 3 are the fun neighbors. You don't have to feel bad about it. I only feel guilty not seeing enough of my relatives.

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  2. Hahaha! Kudos!!! It takes a lot of will power and motivation to get stuff done when you're feeling such way. I'm the exact same way. I try to keep my mind busy when I'm home alone doing nothing because I truly can't bare it. And to be honest, people that don't know what it's like most of the time and they usually expect a lot from others. It sometimes seems like nothing is enough. But you're doing the best you can, and that's all anyone can ask, really.

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  3. Thanks Gina. That makes me feel better because you seem pretty social with your neighbors.

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  4. Thanks Esmerelda! I thought I was doing a pretty good job, too..

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  5. Oh Christy, I actually envy you for being able to write this. (There! Add it to your list of accomplishments!) Seriously, I have been wanting to write on the same topic for WEEKS. But I just can't figure out how to do it without my neighbors knowing about it. (I know at least one of them reads my blog). You see, they're all friends. I'm surrounded by uber friendly women and I'm just not the same. Like you, I HATE small talk and would really just rather stay in than go out. I've received numerous invitations to 'hang out' but I just can't bring myself to go. They're not bad / awful people. I just really don't feel like it and would do everything to avoid the extra effort and stress of trying to blend in, figure out what to say, be comfortable and all that bullsh*t I feel am too old for. So for whatever it's worth, you're not alone and I do understand what you mean. Every little step counts and I hope you see that. *hugs*

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  6. Wow! Thanks, Joy! It makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one. I knew it was a good idea to blog about it! Luckily my neighbors are too old to follow blogs!

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