I didn’t let your elections kill my happy; I’m a fan of good

Ashley Babbitt

Since the hotly contested elections are now over, everyone can take a deep breath. …Phew. We all survived.

However, I would like to discuss ’30 Seconds’ briefly. I would apologize for the hiatus of ’30 Seconds’ for a day or so, but I’m not going to. There are guidelines for submissions, and I’d be safe in assuming only about 30 percent are ever appropriate. When folks blatantly choose to disregard the posted “rules,” it eats up both my time and yours. When I go to check ’30 Seconds’ and see many with inappropriate language it is discouraging. I understand you folks are passionate – but please – be a little more humane.

This leads me to a speech I heard while in New Hampshire this past weekend. It touched upon the sharing of ideas among neighbors. It hit home.

How often do you go over and visit your neighbor? Or the man or woman four houses down? Just to say hello. Or maybe have a conversation about the weather. Maybe even chat for a bit about a book you’ve just read, or a play you watched, movie you went to … anything. When is the last time you met up with an acquaintance just to share ideas you have about a certain topic? Can you even name the folks on your street?

A lot of local residents were talking about “community” and how the towns should not be divided. But in all reality, we’re all separate entities. We live in the same areas, but we’re so vastly different it’s amazing.

One of my neighbors is a lovely elderly woman. She has apple trees and a garden. She doesn’t like the stray cat that often chills on her porch. Not because she doesn’t like cats, but because she has noticed the cat being a bully. This was great for me to learn. As I have a cat, I wanted to be sure it wasn’t my little guy being a nuisance, and I quickly learned it him. It turns out the cat that gets into her garden is the same little guy that beats up my kitty when he goes out. So now “Operation Find Bully Cat” is underway.

I suppose my point is, I know her and I are not remotely on the same page when it comes to most things, and I totally dig that. I am a 25-year-old free spirit who comes and goes at all hours of the night because that’s always been my style. She’s always been a great neighbor.

You know what I think would be cool? To go introduce yourself to someone you may not know too well. Share some of your thoughts or ideas.

I love to meet new people (even though in all reality I’m a super socially awkward introvert). I enjoy individuals with completely differing opinions than my own. To have a half hour conversation with someone on the total opposite side of the spectrum is fantastic for many reasons. One, it’s fun to hear another “argue” their side of an issue. I’ve always been into that sort of thing. While I may totally and completely disagree, I’ll hear you out before spouting my opinion. And of course, when I say “spouting my opinion,” I mean that in an absolutely respectful, but passionate manner.

I know my sister doesn’t count as a “neighbor” or “acquaintance” but she and I are as far apart on most issues as they come. As the younger sister, I – naturally – think I need to have the last word, and if she’d let me, I’d debate with her for hours on issues including education, taxation, government intervention, and, well … just about anything under the sun. All in good fun of course.

That’s what I’m trying to say. I see folks being “internet bullies” to one another all day long. Most of these submissions don’t make it through for your eyes to see. But I read them and delete them. You can get your point across without being disrespectful.

You can get a lot further – in my opinion – by developing a relationship with your neighbors rather than living in your own little bubble. I’m not suggesting everyone be friends. That’s not how the world works. Maybe there is someone a few houses down who has an interest in some sort of literature that you’re into. What if you introduced yourself, chatted a bit, and realized he (or she) has a book about whatever-it-is that you’ve always wanted to read. That would be really cool. Maybe you have a conversation about politics. Maybe you just leave a note that says, “Just wanted to say hello from down the street. Have a great day!”

I mean really … you just never know.

Perhaps you know some folks in your town that you know are on the “other side of the fence” on a certain issue. It might be a nice idea to meet up for coffee and have a chat.

In my opinion, it’d be nicer to realize there aren’t only two sides – but that’s for a time when I’m not this tired.

It’s been a long few weeks. I refused to let your elections kill my happy.

Now that it’s over I’m sure there will be another week or so of backlash. Bring it. Respectfully.

I do encourage you all, though, to go introduce yourself to a stranger and share some ideas. If not a stranger, someone you haven’t talked to in a while. “Hey, how have you been? Man, how do you feel about this fracking thing?” And then after you hear them out, share some thoughts of your own.

“Gee, this SAFE Act is garbage … what do you think?”

“Wow, I didn’t expect (insert election results of your choice here).”

I encourage each of you to go do something of this sort. It’s not only good for your soul to share ideas, it’s good for the other soul.

And after this 14 hour work day, I’m a fan of good.