finding a more authentic, playful life --- finding your story

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lessons From a Neighbor

I have the most generous neighbors.
It's kinda crazy. They're seriously amazingly generous with me. I moved into this building about 9 months ago and they live across the hall. We share a fire escape. That's all.  We're very different. I'm in the arts. They're very much not. But from the get-go, they have offered their friendship and have been completely kind and giving in many ways.

Don't get me wrong. I have many generous friends. And my mom is always ridiculously generous with me. I know generosity, but these guys are barely friends and certainly not family. They're just neighbors, yet they give and give.

For example, lately Jackie has been going to the cheap fruit store and randomly buying me fruit! She comes home with fresh blueberries, strawberries, peaches and more. She texts me: "I have fruit for you when you're home!" I of course try to offer her money, but she refuses. She offers to take me to Target and then shares her discount. "It's 15%. Let me buy your things. You can just pay me back whenever." Practically every time, they cook, they offer me dinner. "We have plenty. Join us!" Recently, she offered my cucumbers, Febreeze and a new lock for my storage unit.

Nothing is ever required or expected in return---honestly. Try as I may. They want nothing in return. Now of course I have given them treats and thanks and jams and whatnots, but their generosity seems to continually surpass mine.

And their generosity isn't just specific to me, I have found.

At one of our aforementioned trips to Target, we had a cart full of wares and approached the checkout line at exactly the same time as another customer. Actually, I am pretty sure we were there first. So I smiled and moved in front of the other customer, trying to assume my place in the line. At the same time, Jackie, said to the lady "Oh no, you can go! Please." At first, I was annoyed. As I said, we were there first! And as a general rule, I am in a hurry. But then, I paused. I realized how little it mattered in the grand scheme of things. Jackie didn't care if we had to wait five more minutes. She was generous with her time and her place in the line. I was not.

It made me think.

How generous am I? Am I as generous as Jackie? One definition of generosity is "the quality or fact of being plentiful or large". I try to live from abundance and plenty. I believe there is plenty for all of us. But do I honestly share that abundance with others? Or am I frugal? As I said, it made me think.

Improv asks us to listen and receive, to take and build, to share. I do it on stage. How much do I do it on life? How generous am I?

Being their neighbor has been a lesson in generosity and a lesson in receiving. A lesson I am grateful for. It's made me try to live more intentionally generously. How about you?

As a special treat: here's a My Little Pony song called "Generosity"

Yes. My Little Pony. 

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