Something occurred to me the other day. And I am not a psychologist or expert in the field of how negativity affects people, especially where they live, so these are merely my opinions and observations.
Stress and it’s impacts on us is widely studied. This article from 2018 was insightful- Stress and our mental health – what is the impact & how can we tackle it?. So was this article- Psychological Stress, Physical Stress, and Emotional Stress, and this one – All the Ways Living in a City Messes With Your Mental Health.
We live in an area that was bucolic and peaceful. Agricultural and equine heritage and traditions. It is now being overrun by development. Every time you turn around, another community is threatened. That is stressful if you are directly affected/impacted, and it can raise your blood pressure just driving by a place where you used to see cows, or horses swishing their tails while they grazed to seeing how it is now just a big pit of scraped earth or budding Tyvec-wrapped communities where everyone is or will be jammed in like lemmings.
And then there are all of the pipeline sites. They are ugly and raw and NOISY. People’s property values are declining, their wells being poisoned by whatever the heck it all is they drill with (there are enough articles in local papers etc about this, right?) And we can’t forget the sinkholes. When I was first coming out to Chester County before I moved here, I used to love when I turned on 352 off of West Chester Pike if I came that way. All of a sudden it was just green with rolling stretches of lawn and trees. Now it is a raped landscape that actually stresses me out just driving by it, so I can’t even imagine how directly affected residents feel.
Or other area stressers like contested sites within municipalities where state agencies like PennDOT are concerned. Take the site of Route 352 (A/K/A N. Chester R or Sproul Rd) and King Road in Malvern. This directly affects residents in East Whiteland and East Goshen.
And here we are at year end and no one knows what is happening for sure at that intersection, and that includes the directly affected residents. Will they face any eminent domain? Will they face a complete loss of certain properties through eminent domain? It’s a big mystery. And I watch email after email by affected residents go by to municipal officials and PennDOT. PennDOT never replies. It is like they are ignoring the residents utterly and completely, which adds to the feelings of stress, dismay and uncertainty.
Is it just me or have any of you noticed how people aren’t putting up their usual Christmas displays in some of these areas targeted by pipelines, development, construction, and PennDOT? This is what I have noticed, and it bums me out to see houses usually bright and cheery at the holidays look dark and sad. But in all fairness, if you were facing any of these things, how cheerful and full of Christmas spirit would you feel?
Life can be hard, that is the reality of life. But for a lot of these people, it shouldn’t be so hard. These folks moved here and bought their homes to raise their families. Their piece of the American Dream. You live right, pay your taxes, are part of your community. And your home is indeed your castle, and for a lot of these people there are quite literally barbarians at the gate.
Elected officials NEED to think about how these scenarios are affecting their constituents. All they have to do is drive by and notice how the longer these negative issues persist, how they affect people. Real people. People who in a lot of cases voted for them. It shows in the little things like gardening and holiday decorations. I think it is criminal to drive by homes where you know the owners were once so house proud and see these changes.
Just some of life’s little observations. Wishing these people peace.