Why My Neighbors Annoy Me

— Several years before it's crystal clear

Shoebox living

After four years, I finally figured out why my neighbors bother me.

Within the past years, I've moved to different apartments. However, each time, I'd get annoyed with my neighbors.

I always held the belief that you see yourself wherever you go.

How is it possible, that wherever I went I had annoying neighbors? Piecing things together I realized, it's me. There's something I'm carrying, some lens I look through that ensures a negative experience.

The apartment I live in now, when I first moved in, everything was fine. I knew in those early days that there'll be a day when I'd get start getting annoyed. After settling in, I found myself focusing my attention on annoyances.

Our upstairs neighbor stomps on the floor, our neighbor across plays the piano at 3 am, a neighbor on the side likes to talk so loud with their windows open and our neighbors below smoke cigarettes whenever our windows are open.

How is my internal world related to the external?

My sister came to visit me. She never writes or contacts me and I only found out she was visiting when I randomly checked my gmail, which I hardly use.

We have similar interests so it's difficult to watch her go through life events I've gone through. She's 4 years younger and my memory of being at her age is so fresh. I want so badly to get her to understand things that I didn't get.

One of the things I saw similar to my past was her style of liberalism. While my sister supports legalizing marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs, she was restricting my mom from taking photos. My mom takes way too many photos, but she's free to take photos. In a free world, people should be able to do as they please.

Going along with contemporary liberal thought, my sister told my mom it is 'more meaningful' to experience life in the present, not behind the lens. 'You should like this because it is right.' Only certain things should be enjoyed. This hypocritical view of the world was one that I had.

This was just one critical view I honed in on. But after a few days, I realized, she has a lot of good that I don't have. I don't focus on her good because I'm so focused on seeing what I understand.

And what I understand are the things I'm most critical of in myself. The annoyances are just reflections.

I found out why my neighbors bother me.

I have stomped on the floor knowing that people below will be annoyed. I have talked loud knowing it might bother others. I have played music late at night understanding it'll wake others. I've blown smoke in other people's faces.

It's not that the people who are currently doing so are aware. It's that they project a version of me that I haven't forgiven. I remember the self-centered inconsideration, feeling entitled, getting my way at others' expense. I project these negative feelings on my sister and my neighbors. What's annoying is the belief that they're getting their way at my expense, similar to what I had done to others.

I thought about all this last night with the window open. I could hear the neighbors talk, but as I started understanding how my self loathing was proportionate to the annoyance, I became less and less annoyed.

I'm the one annoying myself. I can stop any time.



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