I’m pursuing the personal blogging experience again, it appears. Lots of inspiration to respond to my callings for community service, as of late. It’s interesting that I treat it like a punishment in order to motivate myself to carry out an action. I often instill guilt within me to push through the excuses and reasons why lazing at home sounds like a better option. But I can always recollect a time when sitting home to play The Sims or a DVD was the default, whenever activities were not planned for me or friends were unavailable.
A couple ways I have combated a life of malaise merely distract from my own personal obligations. Whether they help to improve my quality of life is another matter. Rather than clean my house, work on rebuilding a stone wall behind my home, organize papers or CDs in scattered orientation, call a creditor, or even walk to the grocery store, I do the following:
- Pick up trash along sidewalks and curblines, in my own neighborhood or along stairways or alleys elsewhere. It feels like I am fulfilling an societal obligation that has not been met since the last caring soul moved on to greener pastures. And that’s just a horrible ending to any story, so I insert myself into those last pages of the book–the ones that are often left strangely blank in many hardcover editions. We all know that no urban tragedies ending with abandonment or demolition get published. If I’m wrong, please send me a link so I can exhaust my apologies. It really isn’t humiliating to pick up someone else’s forgotten mandate, as it seems most of the apathetic believe. On the contrary, it’s the feeling of righting/writing a wrong…a story that’s not right for this world but is told through lore so many times over.
- Engage in conversation to share a balanced and respectable vision plan for the use of neglected areas of our landscape. Yes, it’s a bit selfish and this blog could certainly offset some of those eager outbursts, but I am absolutely guilty of this approach. I am a firm believer in the power of starting a conversation about issues that have not found an audience. Many city residents bicker about things they wish could be better about their neighborhoods, but they often fall upon the ears of a neighbor who is speaking their same language and lacking the same social resources. Often paired with the creation of evidence that neglect *can* be undone, I cite my own proactive measures to–for example–call about a broken streetlamp, report a pending drug deal, email a councilperson, or remove the fast food remains next to a parked car. It’s not an ego boost but I hopeful solicitation for a team effort. I don’t want to be the only one on my block to want safer and cleaner conditions. However, having your cake and eating it too require some compensation in the end, often by paying it forward.
This lease on life has been inexhaustible when assessed in isolation. The consequences of my evasion of personal obligations speak for themselves. You and I realize that it is very difficult to lead a busy life *and* give back to society. I am just not satisfied with waiting for a retirement that may never come to volunteer to pay my debts. It is the original sin that we all carry with us daily. I am not religious but am a pious investor in the measurement and capacity of WORK.
I see WORK as a innumerable unit of measurement of an amalgamation of what made our great neighborhoods, town, villages, and cities. It’s a calling to carry out the legacy of all those who laughed, wept, hurt, or died in the buildings, streets, groomed hedges their neighbors WORKed so hard to build and rebuild. Such an injustice to even turn my nose away from greatness and toward mediocre city life, a street that’s just okay, and a neighborhood walk that invokes fear of the fearful and my own neglect.
I am determined to improve even more of my urban experience. Starting now. And now. And NOW. My seemingly tireless WORK building Spring in Our Steps was matched by many others who didn’t seem to tire out very quickly either. But I do want to be able to use my own personal initiative to continue to inspire me to keep moving forward. So many folks in cities I adore do amazing WORK themselves. But it’s often just so subtlety different from how I am able to measure my own WORK output, like power consumed universally but at different voltage, using different plugs and outlets. I can see their success and triumph, but my path to achieve exactly that can only be with accuracy and not precision. This vessel that is my body rides the rough waters a little differently than theirs. I just need, and we all need, to learn that innate flick of the wrist that makes our WORK ours.
This is happening. Right now. Look forward to more about my personal outings to move on what greatness has awarded our cities, and to build on what we have left to cherish. Let’s romance. And WORK for it. There is a path.