I woke up bright and early yesterday morning in anticipation of the annual neighborhood yard sale. As a kid this was a day looked forward to second only to the last day of school. I would wake early and pedal around on my bike rummaging through glassware, lamps, and old toys. You know, all the good stuff.
I’ve groused on here about the scarcity of children in the neighborhood. As the kids and I wandered the streets, though, I wondered if was my dour mood that had made me feel that things had turned unfriendly. Maybe I was just waiting for someone else to make the first move. We crossed the street and introduced ourselves to our newest neighbors and found our first treasures of the day.
A few blocks away we laughed with someone over the rain, rejoicing together that the sky had cleared so nicely. “It rained buckets!” I said to one lady, and she dumped water out of old phone she was gifting my son with in agreement. I ran into an old friend from the neighborhood. We met each others kids. When we parted ways I was flooded with memories of him from kindergarten – he was one of the funniest kids I knew.
We quietly pilfered through the unwanted items laid out on tables. Candles never burned, artwork no longer cherished, and mismatched china tell the stories of our pieced together lives. It doesn’t matter what life looks like from the outside, we all get bogged down in the same trappings that eventually we have no room for.
Yard sales are cool because people put all their stuff, the stuff they can’t keep anymore, out for everyone to see. You know that’s a theme in my life. I’m pretty sure it’s a parable.
I love that we left the house yesterday morning with no expectation other than adventure, and even if we had come home empty handed we each would look back on the day fondly. How could we not? We weathered a storm (okay, just a nice spring downpour) with our neighbors then got to smile in the sunshine with them, WHILE we bought their stuff. What’s better than that?
I swear it was one of the best days I’ve had in a really long time. I just loved the whole day. It didn’t bug me that at some point everyone got hot and sweaty, full of complaints. I just smiled and reminded them we wouldn’t die before we got home. I enjoyed the day more because I wasn’t forcing expectations on myself, or my neighbors, about who I should be and what I should be doing.
It felt so good to connect with people I share a zip code with that I feel encouraged to do it again soon. I’m not expecting anything from my neighbors, though, because I get that their lives are just as complicated as mine. Maybe more so.
If life isn’t meeting your expectations, maybe it’s time to lower your expectations. I’m not saying don’t expect the best, but maybe redefine what you think of as the best. Feel free to cry or be pissed off or whatever feeling is getting crammed down inside where there isn’t room and then remember that everyone has stuff they don’t want. Then LET IT GO. You don’t even have to lay it out on a table and sell it.
Take a walk in your neighborhood.
Be the first to smile.
Look up at the sky and revel in how little we know about what lies beyond the big blue dome.
I know you’ll find what you wake up looking for.