Pam, my across-the-street-neighbor, called in the morning to ask if I would like her to bring us dinner. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that I can’t remember a time I hesitated less before saying yes to a dinner offer. I have been waiting a year to be neighbors with these guys, and I didn’t even know the deal came with lasagna, salad, lemonade, beer, and chocolate. (I could have guessed though. Pam has a habit of offering the shirt off her back. She lent me her bike for the triathlon and the entire training season.)
When evening came, I cleared off the table and put down a tablecloth – a domestic oasis in the midst of boxes and paper and tape and bubble wrap – and when we set the table with all the food, I suddenly felt like I live in the neighborhood. I’m still pinching myself. After 14 months of waiting, I really live here, with these giant rooms and light streaming in the windows and a dishwasher and a giant closet and broken screens and lots of stairs and no silverware drawer and fig trees out back and my garden across the street in the back of my across-the-street-neighbors’ yard.
The lesson for me here is that I don’t always have to create my own experiences of pure selfish enjoyment – they can be a gift, and my only job is to accept them.
(I also think my job is to offer these gifts to others, and I hope to stay good at doing that for my friends and family, but a few days into a year of finding that space for myself, I am happy to focus on the lesson Pam brought over for dinner.)