Noisy Neighbors

Wait, was that my downstairs neighbor pounding on my door? Full disclosure: the last thud shook the floor. Nothing is intentional with kids. They didn’t mean to fall out of a lawn chair in my sparsely furnished third-floor apartment. But it happened.

When I open my apartment door post-thud, an irate older man with tattooed arms hurled complaints about how loud we were. When I apologized for the loud chair thud, he snorted about those thuds “every five minutes and shaking dishes” Um, okay… Sorry?

Did accosting me make him feel better? He was the victim, right? Me and my two kiddos robbed him of his peace. The peace he was entitled to in a second-floor apartment on a Sunday afternoon. So I took some breaths and checked the petty bitch. Today, I would not intentionally stomp or rat on my neighbors for breaking the smoking rules. Instead, I took an opportunity to remind my kids the following:

  • No one can rob you of your peace, but you can give it away when you focus on inconsequential frustrations. Where you focus your attention matters. Don’t be the one counting every stomp .
  • Also, manage your exceptions and know what’s within your control. You are not responsible for other people’s feeling, frustrations, or pain. That’s all them, not you.
  • We get to chose how we should up in the world and don’t be the angry neighbor. However, have compassions for the angry neighbor

I also had a choice. I could focus on how an irate neighbor disturbed my family’s peace and left my kids afraid of walking around in mommy’s new apartment. But, f*CK, if I’m going to give some random stranger that much power.

Instead, I choose to be grateful to spend time with my children in my apartment. Still, I welcome the invitation from the universe on how not to handle conflict and the reminder of how people waste their lives and deplete their energy by fixating on inconsequential small things. Issues unworthy of time, attention. The problems that distract them from real shit in their lives. Angry neighbor shit.

PS — If you’ve followed my journey, the apartment thing might be a leap. I’ve chosen not to publish anything about this change out of respect for my family.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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