I can smell my neighbor’s cologne from my kitchen sink as he cruises by in his benz.
My kids ask me, “whats that banging?” every time the the professional jiu jitsu fighting bachelors next door do their weekly meal prep.
I have made eye contact with at least two of my neighbors through our windows while wearing nothing but bra and undies.
When my kids throw fits in the middle of the night, it’s waking the neighbors, not my own family, that I worry most about.
The culdesac in front of our house is a popular hub for mobile car detailing services. The hum of vacuums and pressure washers is our daily background noise.
Each condo is stacked right next to the other, and in some cases one on top of the other. We all live right up in each other’s business. I have no outdoor space to claim as my own. Sometimes it feels disappointing and like we’re gypping our kids out of a backyard experience, not to mention ourselves. My dreams of sipping rose in the afternoon while my kids run naked in the sprinklers seem to be out of reach.
The grass is always greener. Especially when you have none.
Isaac and I bought our condo eight years ago, when we were all sure prices would not go any lower and we would make a pretty penny when we sold it two years later. We made zero pretty pennies because we didn’t even have the option to sell. Real estate… bubble… blah blah blah. Anyways, for the past five years we have dreamed and schemed for a single family house, with a yard and grass. We have come close to pulling the trigger a few times, but we find the costs, both opportunity and financial, too high.
The whole living situation has been an “opportunity” for us to choose our perspective. Isaac and I take turns leading the charge on this – somedays I am ready to take a sledgehammer to the concrete jungle that is our neighborhood and Isaac reminds me that our beachy backyard is a short mile away. Other times, we join forces to gripe about the surprising cost of condo living. “Seriously! If it wasn’t for that damned Special Assessment we could finally take our second honeymoon to Tahiti!” And when Isaac complains about our lack of outdoor space, I chime in with, “but we have a jacuzzi!” To which he says, “you don’t like jacuzzis.” And I reply, “Oh, true.”
It’s been a constant exercise to maintain perspective and not get caught up in wanting something different.
Because, wanting something different for too long breeds discontentment. And discontentment distracts us from the blessings we encounter daily. So, instead of logging our gripes, we choose to count our blessings. Let’s go ahead and name a few:
- Having a public yard (a.k.a. alley) means we get to interact with our neighbors on the daily. I really enjoy the casual chit chat every afternoon/evening.
- My kids can stand on our patio and play the role of neighborhood greeter as the people come and go. I’m glad they know and like the people who live around them.
- I cannot send my kids outside to play, which means all of us get out of the house more. Not that this is always convenient or desirable when it comes to getting household stuff done. But, then again, it’s a pretty good excuse to not having everything ship shape on the home front.
- Its a short walk, jog, ride to the beach and we take full advantage.
- The layout of our two bedroom is functional and spacious. And no one has broken a single bone on our multiple flights of stairs.
- My handyman of a husband has fixed our place up quite nicely. It feels like a wonderful little home inside.
And finally, this condo is filled with more love and joy than I could have ever hoped for. Who needs grass when I have that?
The truth is, we choose our focus. It doesn’t have to be the grass. May we set our sights on the good, abundant, meaningful blessings we encounter everyday.