52 Weeks of Neighboring - Week 39

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Neighboring Tip of the Week - Invite a neighbor to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Cincinnati-based rock band WALK THE MOON, made popular by their 2014 single “Shut Up and Dance”, released a song on their newest album called “One Foot”. WTM has stated that the song not only speaks of the uncertain future of the band but also of the uncertain future of our society. The song’s pre-chorus is as follows:

“Oh, through the wilderness
How come even together there can be loneliness?
Oh, our heart's a mess
But it's our only defense to brave the wilderness”

The lyrics are beautiful but also tragic, right? Truly, how can it be that in a world of more than 7.7 billion people such a concept as “loneliness” can even exist? And that isn’t all. Not only does loneliness exist - it thrives. According to a 2016 study by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Osteopathic Association, a survey of “more than 2,000 American adults found 72 percent report having felt a sense of loneliness, with nearly a third (31 percent) experiencing loneliness at least once a week.” Just picture these statistics upon your street; a third of your neighbors say they are lonely on a weekly basis. Is this not heartbreaking?

At the Neighboring Movement, we’re not fans of loneliness; we think it is a parasite that is slowly feeding upon humanity. There seem to be countless factors that contribute to the disease, among them living alone, getting older, struggling with disabilities, not getting out-and-about, and certain forms of technology. Why do we present all of this? We certainly do not aim to depress you. We actually aim for quite the opposite - to encourage you! There is hope; we can care for each other!

In light of this, our proposal for this second week of November is this: Invite a neighbor to your Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t make anything forced. Simply invite them to eat with you. If they say no, ask if you can deliver a plate to them. If they say no again, don’t worry! You can always invite a different neighbor! A couple years ago, we experienced a beautiful unfolding of this experiment in our SoCe neighborhood. We invited a woman who lived alone on our block to Thanksgiving dinner, but she said no, so we asked if we could make a plate and bring it over to her. She agreed. When we showed up at her door with a heaping plate, she was brought to tears, exclaiming she hadn’t had a Thanksgiving meal for something like ten years. Let’s commit to eradicating loneliness.

Happy neighboring!