“As we all attempt to navigate the variations brought by housing, land development, life choices, and what can feel like relentless change, let’s remember for every opinion expressed there is an opposite, and just as valid, opposite opinion and life experience.”
Twenty-one years ago, when my husband and I decided to move to North Carolina to be close to his family that were already here, it represented a huge change for us — some might say it was a “leap of faith.” We left behind all my family: my Mom, multiple siblings, nieces and nephews, long-time friends, co-workers, the place where our children grew up, and a way of life that we were perfectly happy with. Before moving, we visited North Carolina many times, staying in a nearby city, then day-traveling to find a place to settle. Thanks to good friends from our former state who had already moved here, we got to know Salisbury and we have been happy beyond expectations to be residents of this city. So, that part of a life change was all good. But that change also brought about much initial loneliness and realization that, though we thought we were prepared for this cultural change, we were very naïve. I admit there were many times we asked ourselves if we made the right decision. Change is hard work!
As I approach the end of my seventh decade, I have been thinking more than usual about change. Recently, the changes taking place in Rowan County are evident on almost every road, street and community. Houses torn down to make way for developments. Just last week, while delivering Meals On Wheels, I missed a turn because my landmark, a perfectly lovely little brick house, was no longer there to mark my path.
Empty lots are no longer empty, with it seems, a new house going up on every corner. Huge warehouses built, or being built, where farms used to be. One can bemoan the loss of a lifestyle that farms represent, or the wildlife being displaced (if they are lucky enough to move before the bulldozer comes), the loss of one’s former home and all the stories it represents (that was once my Grandmother’s house. I spent many days and nights in her company. That’s where I learned to sew a button).
But of course, there is another side to this story. There are people and families waiting to have their forever home where they can create their stories. There are and will be newer and better paying jobs for those in Rowan County and beyond. Who can deny people a chance for a place to live and a decent job?
The influx of people from other states and other parts of the world to North Carolina presents changes many never imagined or wished for. For others, this influx represents an exciting time of new cultures, new ideas, new growth, adventure and opportunity.
The yin and yang of life. As we all attempt to navigate the variations brought by housing, land development, life choices and what can feel like relentless change, let’s remember for every opinion expressed there is an opposite, and just as valid, opposite opinion and life experience.
That “leap of faith” that turned out so well for our family is my reminder to slow down and take time to be less judgmental and express more kindness. Maybe, no matter whether you are on the yin side or the adjoining and opposite yang, we can still be good neighbors.
“Dear Neighbor” authors are united in a belief that civility and passion can coexist. We believe curiosity and conversation make us a better community.