I don’t always stay right on top of catch-phrases. Somehow I missed NIMBY until not long ago, though it was first used in 1980 (!). It encapsulates the concept of opposing development, even development of worthwhile projects, unless it is happening somewhere else, thus Not In My Back Yard. Examples abound. Everything from nursing homes to bike paths to power plants to sports stadiums to cell phone masts – all of which are indispensable and/or desirable in today’s world – are certainly best located in somebody else’s back yard.
The property I can see from my own happens to be surrounded by land that is under conservation easement. When I look in any direction, all I see is woods and mountains. I didn’t have anything to do with this but am the grateful beneficiary of someone else’s efforts to protect the natural area within my view. This morning as I stand on my back deck, this is what I see. It wouldn’t be everyone’s idea of a peaceful and lovely February morning, but it fits mine.
What is it about us humans, though, that can be on the one hand so very content with what we have and on the other intensely desire what we don’t? I’m talking about what could be called YIMBY (YES! In My Back Yard). Here’s the thing: As much as I (on the one hand) love, love, love where I live, and as exceedingly grateful as I (on the other hand) am to have the time and resources to travel and visit my beloved Rise, Eppie, Ellie, Nelson, Piper and Zoe in their homes now and then, I wish they were, yes, in my back yard, more often. I wish they didn’t live SDFA (So Damn Far Away). I wish getting to them and my own grown children didn’t involve SLAROP (Security Lines And Rides On Planes) or ELTIC (Exceedingly Long Trips In Cars). I wish they were CETHOFAT (Close Enough To Have Over For Afternoon Tea).
I wish for a lot, I know. We do what we can and I try (really I do!) to see the upsides of being APRA (A Plane Ride Away). Last week in Boise we made a snowman…
… and enjoyed outstanding croissants from JanJou Patisserie (those on the left have chocolate chips in them!)…
…and in Seattle watched colorful fish at the aquarium…
…and saw a painted lady in the street.
All of this, and many more special and wonderful moments happened last week: Nelson (16 months) danced in front of the TV as Dick van Dyke danced with the penguins in Mary Poppins and tried to add Cheerios to the meatloaf mixture. Piper (2 1/2 years) killed us all during a round of her new Memory game and sat angelically through her first stage play. Ellie (3 1/2 years) made chocolate chip cookies with me, enjoyed her first reading of One Morning In Maine (thank you, Robert McCloskey) and made us all play dead! Zoe (5 months) studied and taste-tested her first crust of bread before throwing it to Zadie, happily waiting below (how do dogs know that when there are little children in the picture, food will fall from the table?). All of this builds the gigantic and fabulous memory bank that is unique to me. I like being In Their Back Yard, I do. I just also like Mine. Theirs and Mine are just so far apart, and the occasions so infrequent. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so conflicted about something, and day to day I’m working out how to manage it all – the feelings, the logistics, the upsides, the downsides. This seems to be the best we can do in most any situation – try to figure it out day to day, try to make each day the best it can be.
Tomorrow will be a lovely day! Rise and Eppie are here for a visit (first time in six months, super exciting for me) and we are going to enjoy the sun in my back yard, visit the silly chickens, play with Coco, read about Edward Tulane and see what’s coming up in the garden. Maybe we’ll bake cupcakes, or do puzzles, or play games, or make something pretty, or… it really doesn’t matter, does it? Spending precious days together is what matters. Life is short. We are so blessed. Never forget that.
4 thoughts on “A Twist on NIMBY”
I love seeing you spending time with your grandchildren. How wonderful for all of you!
I find acronyms annoying, esp in the field of behavioral health. For instance, there’s this method called “cognitive behavior therapy,” or CBT. Sometimes it’s AKA “cognitive-behavioral therapy,” but originally it was “Cognitive Therapy.” You can see that the name even without using acronyms is unstable. But anyway, therapies are usually called by acronyms (CBT, CPT, DBT, REBT, etc ad nauseam). These are unattractively technical sounding, IMO. I want to slap something more poetic on them, but in vain.
I really enjoy reading your posts. Thank you.
Thank you, Rob. I struggled with this one, writing about a genuine and pretty continual conflict. It felt much more soul-bearing than writing about chickens!
Regarding acronyms, for a long time I remember thinking CT scans had something to do with cats! 🙂
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YIMBY! So clever, Patricia! Have a beautiful time, together doing all those fun things. Hats off for all the trips you make to visit those family members far away and those nearer, but still too far away.