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bliss.  noun.  supreme happiness; utter joy or contentment  (

Bliss.  It’s not a concept I’ve given much thought to as it’s always seemed to be a state that one created and, being mostly a happy person, I never felt the need.  Recently though I was startled with a peace of mind that I recognized immediately as Bliss.

It’s so noticeable when it catches you by surprise.  The surprise was twofold:  that my environment was so lovely in that moment, and that I hadn’t realized how awful my previous environment had become.

I won’t go into details but last Spring I was quite excited to move back to the city where I had raised my children, where I still had some dear friends, where I could look forward to the familiarities that time creates.  I was even back in the same ‘hood.

Summer was pretty nice.  I was walking distance to the ocean and my dog and I were out on our morning walk before much of the neighbourhood was awake.  My grandson was thrilled to visit whenever he wanted and loved cruising in my fun car with the all the windows open.

I had a suite in a house and my neighbours were noisy but it was Summer and there is no schedule in Summer – I remembered that much.

Then Fall came, and with it the westcoast rain that can last for weeks.  The upstairs noise did not abate and I struggled to concentrate and get back at my business.  Music was cranked at odd hours throughout the day so I was unable to plan a work schedule, but it was hard to complain about music during the middle of the day.

Evenings were another matter and when the noise went late I did message up for a reprieve.  My requests were the undoing of any neighbourliness.  My headphones became an article of clothing, the decibels increased.

My daughter and I perused the classifieds for new accommodation.  I didn’t want to move for the mere sake of moving, I wanted a place I could hope for long-term in.  A few days after Christmas, my daughter noticed a listing that might suit. Interestingly, my computer would not recognize any of the messaging info.  My daughter sent me the email address her computer acknowledged.

I’ll cut the long story short: within three weeks I had moved.  I love this part of the neighbourhood even more than my previous one, my dog has a lovely big back yard fully fenced, and the expenses are less than I had been paying.  My new in-house neighbours are three young men, which was a gamble, but they are delightful.

So about Bliss.

My first Friday in my new home I had a really productive day.  This was noticeable in itself as I am struggling to refocus into full days of work-mode.  Feeling accomplished, I poured myself a glass of wine and opened the Solitaire program on my computer.

That’s when it hit me. Bliss.  The silence was like a vacuum.  The peace was palpable.  I had not realized how tightly wound up I had become in my previous lodging.  I won’t even call it home.  Bliss was my state without even looking for a word.

You see, I had struggled to get any work done prior to moving, but when 4 p.m. on a Friday came, the weekend was inflicted on me whether I was ready or not.

My new young neighbours will never know how fortuitous it is that their schedules leave me alone in the house until after 8 p.m. on a Friday.  My weekdays are noticeably more productive too.  As working students, they are out a fair bit, but they seem to be good friends as any noise I hear is jovial and/or silly.  I raised three children – jovial and silly are fine by me. 

I’d love to hear from you.  Have you noticed how neighbours can affect your peace of mind, even your happiness levels?  In both directions.  Have you ever had “a neighbour from hell”?

It was a major decision for me to decide to relinquish home ownership, and last Fall I questioned my sanity in so doing.  Now, and especially after the series of Winter storms we’ve just had, I remember that it was completely the right decision!

Tell me about your favourite, or your least favourite, neighbours.