When you look out your front window, what do you see? If you look out your window and see your neighbor across the street’s garage door, you are like many Americans. The manic growth of the subdivision has put us in closer and closer contact and yet further from each other. We drive into our neighborhoods, pull into our driveways, open our garage doors and disappear from each other and the world. We snuggle into our Walmart furnished spaces and manage our friend’s list and watch TV shows that purport to be about reality. What are some ways to get free from the cocoon we build for ourselves and experience real, world changing, life?
The cost of isolation
The dangers of isolating ourselves are many and debilitating. The more you separate yourself, the more self-feeding it becomes, creating a vicious circle of loneliness and self-loathing fighting with frustration and disgust with others. Isolation causes serious health issues through overeating or undereating, resulting in significant weight gain or loss. The changes in diet and nutrition put the body through severe hardship and cause serious problems in the self-image of the individual.
Break out of the box
Short of blowing out your windows and leaping out into the harsh world of your ‘hood, maybe baby steps are in order. First off blowing out your windows can get expensive to repair, so that’s probably not a good direction. Maybe it’s as simple as looking for ways to interact with others in safe environments and situations. One of the keys is you have to be willing to be the one who reaches out. Be the one to say hello and start the connection process. The hardest step is the first one, after that, they just get easier and easier!
Hit the highway
Sometimes you’ve just got to get out of Dodge! Pack up the minivan with traveling food and hit the road. Put away that smartphone, pick a direction and drive. As you are driving keep an eye out for historic stops as you go, investigate the culture of the area you live in, meet the people of the towns around you. Ask questions about what you need to see while you are in towns you drive through. Sometimes the best kind of travel you can do is the simplest! These little local trips can help you understand where you live in new and exciting ways. You just have to have the gumption to be the one who takes the first step.
Be willing to seek the unknown
Take the road less traveled. Why? Because you never know what you’ll find on the drive. Whether it is a view or an experience, taking the unknown road will at least fuel your sense of adventure. While on the road, stop and appreciate the views, investigate the surroundings and look for the interesting. Sometimes that road will take you to a dead end, other times it will lead you into some of the most amazing experiences or lead you to sights you never knew of. Either way, you’ll be better off for trying, for getting up off your couch, out of your house and neighborhood and into the great wide open.