There is a significant move under way for people to be increasingly present in their neighborhoods, and I think that's really good. When we are present, when we holistically inhabit a neighborhood, we begin to truly know our neighborhood--and our neighbors--and we become known. And when we know and are known, we've got a much better shot at actually helping to bring life as it was meant to be lived back to our neighborhoods.
But there's a cost to presence; a cost that sometimes causes us to compromise our commitment to truly inhabit a neighborhood. For me in my neighborhood, the cost of presence means I get a good cup of coffee around the corner instead of a great cup of coffee two neighborhoods over. It means I get an okay haircut down the street instead of a really nice haircut by the stylist across town. It means I pay a little more for a sandwich or a pizza instead of regularly driving out of the neighborhood to grab cheaper, more diverse food. It means I buy more groceries at the local store and farmers market and a little less at the big box store down the road. It means I pay a little more to the guy selling flowers down at the corner stand than ordering them online.
All those things cost something, but they are all an investment in my neighborhood. When I think of it that way--that it's an investment in my neighborhood and a down payment on life as it was meant to be lived, it motivates me to make those small sacrifices to be more present and inhabit my neighborhood.