Retirement, Darlene-Style - Livin' the Good Life
Apr. 16th, 2015
11:55 am - Retirement, Darlene-Style
When I was raising my kids, my primary job was to focus on them, to protect them, provide for them, educate them, and enjoy them. That I did, big time. Now that I'm retired, I'm starting to see a new job. While all the younger people are working outside their homes or are at home attending to their children, someone needs to pay attention to the neighborhood. Is it a safe place for everyone to live? Can my grandchild roam the neighborhood safely? To know the answers to those questions, I need to know my neighbors. Our neighborhood has changed since I was raising my children. People have come and gone. I really didn't have the energy or interest to pay attention to the neighbors when I was younger. The neighborhood seemed safe enough. My kids came and went freely. But, now, I'm not so sure. There have been break-ins lately. There was serious illegal drug activity going on daily in the house next door. So many people are not at home during the day because they work outside their homes. Those who are at home are either tending to their children and homes, or are elderly and holed up.
I think that those of us who are older, but able-bodied and sound of mind, need to keep an eye on the neighborhood, make friends with the neighbors, and care about the neighborhood as if it was made up of extended family. That's what keeps it friendly and safe. It's not "the neighbors next door", it's "John and Mary with their kids Jack and Bobby. John works at Stater Bros. and Mary works at the coffee shop. Their oldest son is autistic and they are frequently taking him to therapy. Their younger son loves baseball." If I knew those kinds of things about all my neighbors, the neighborhood would seem safer. Plus, it's interesting to get to know people who are different from me. It expands my capacity to love and care. There are a very diverse bunch of people living in this desert. And a lot of "characters"! I want to get to know them. And, for the most part, I find that people are good, if I take the trouble to get to know them. I want people to know that I am approachable. That I am safe and that I care about their kids. That I would call them if I thought something was wrong.
Last night, I went to a community meeting that was being held by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). Everyone was up in arms about the BLM possibly restricting their road accesses or allowing off-road vehicles on their properties or tearing up their neighborhoods. There was a lot of tension in the room. I wondered, who are these people? I don't know most of them. I was really surprised when MOST of the people who spoke their minds were MINERS. Really? Are there still miners here in this desert? I knew there were miners in the first part of the 1900s. But, now? Turns out, yes. 100s of them! To hear their concerns was an eye-opener for me. It expanded my consciousness. They had valid fears. So, this is my job. To expand my tunnel vision beyond my family and my immediate friends and to see the world around me. I met two new people yesterday. People who I would not normally know if I didn't extend myself. This is going to be fun!