I’m a big proponent of staying in the loop, being informed, and being knowledgeable about what’s going on in the world. Lately, though, it feels like the more I know, the more helpless I feel—and that’s not a great feeling. Turn off the news, and I feel like I’m not engaged. Turn it back on and I feel like I’ve lost the reason to engage in the first place.
I know I’m not alone. And, honestly, that’s the best part. It’s comforting to know there are lots of people like me who have this persistent desire to make a difference, even on a very small scale (even if we’re a bit overwhelmed at the moment). Because the truth is we may feel helpless, but we seldom are. We just need to remind ourselves every once in a while.
If the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, plant your feet on your street and make a difference where you can. Because you can. Here are five small ways to celebrate #ThisIsMyLocal right in your neighborhood.
1. Set a neighbor’s paper on their doorstep if you’re out on a walk and notice it’s been flung out of reach.
2. Write a thank you note to the last person who did something nice for you. If you’re not the snail mail type, post (and tag!) the sentiment on Facebook.
3. Smile when you when drive down the street. Wave at the people you know. Roll down your window and shout a compliment to a neighbor as she gets the mail. It may seem silly, but these little things can add up in big ways.
4. Sit on your front porch. When was the last time you sat on your front steps and watched the world go by? Your front porch can give you a dose of perspective (and some much needed fresh air).
5. Host a block party. Fall is a great time for potlucks and tailgating, and block parties make the most of the weather and your neighborhood. I know this isn’t a “small” thing, but it can be if enough people pitch in. I’ve been to some parties that include bicycle decorating contests and wine tasting, and I’ve been to some that are a laid back assembly of blankets, lawn chairs, and pretty stellar hot dogs. And both were awesome.
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