Thanks for all the support! Today was definitely better. I still felt a bit cranky, but not as intensely so. This morning, I took goodies to the soup kitchen, then worked most of the rest of the morning. I intended to leave the grocery gift card at the bus stop, but that didn't pan out (I wound up racing to catch it, after buying a planned gift for tomorrow). This afternoon, after more work and no spontaneous opportunities, I decided to give a pay-ahead ice cream cone. The new owner of the shop seems to have as much fun as the old ones did, deciding who to give the free cone to.
Late-late afternoon, I was sitting by the water and noticed a woman taking a photo of her daughter and infant granddaughter; then the daughter took a picture of grandma and the baby. So I approached and asked if they'd like one all together. Which they did.
When I got on the bus again, I mentioned to the driver that the posted schedule at the stop was actually for a different stop, going the other direction. If I didn't take that bus so often (and if the buses ran more frequently than every 70 minutes), I probably wouldn't have noticed. I suppose that was a gift to future bus riders?
In terms of the neighbour situation... that's why I was at the water so late. I just didn't want to come home and have someone outside - which is a terrible feeling. And the man is here for three more weeks, so I was thinking, "I can't do this for three more weeks." All day, I rehearsed the ideal way to approach them - together, so neither would feel I was talking behind the other's back, and phrased in perfect alignment with my NVC ("compassionate communication") training. I had it memorized, but I wasn't sure when I'd bring it up. Then my neighbour called me, to mention an issue that comes up periodically with my cat. (Read: I'm not a perfect neighbour, either. We're both pretty good, but neither of us is flawless.) She asked if I was down by the water, and I said, "Yesssss..." in this long, drawn-out, I-don't-know-whether-to-say-anything voice. Totally losing every thread of the delicate, compassionate conversation I'd meticulously planned, I went into this totally apologetic, hesitant, questioning voice and said, "I have kind of a touchy issue..." Nutshell: We worked it out that he'll be off the deck by a certain time each afternoon. I was appalled at my sudden retreat into this subservient, quivering, apologetic person (who is this?), and I felt ten kinds of awkward after the conversation - but also relieved that the situation had been resolved.
Dawn posted a comment on last night's blog, and in responding to her, I articulated something new about why it's so important to me to show all of me, and not just the totally generous, giving, selfless part of me (which is there, but it's just a part). Unlike "real-world" relationships, online ones are based on text - our words that indicate, but don't wholly reveal, who we are. So it's easy to get a picture of someone as being quite different than they are in reality, depending on what words they (or we) use. I so value the connections in this community. It's more than a Challenge now; it's an integral part of my life. And I want to connect authentically with people here. The key being authentically. Which means, I want to know that your support is based on knowing me as honestly as I can convey in words, not just on your idea of me. (And not everyone will like "all of me," and that's okay, too. I believe our commonalities are more important than our differences.)
Plus - and this point I have made before - if I only show the shiny, happy me, then others might have an unrealistic expectation of themselves. ("Something must be wrong with me. Other people are happy and loving ALL THE TIME!") The way I see it, the goal in this life is to be a good person and to do your best at any given time. So that's my goal, and some days, my best is better than other days.
I do know that I'm a better person because of this community, and I appreciate it and you immensely. Hope you all had great Fridays. Have a wonderful weekend - Cheers!