I confess it was never my intention to live in Florida. Yet nearly two decades later, I am still here. Moreover, I live on a relatively rural island a good drive away from the nearest city. I grew up and lived my whole life in the suburbs of Pittsburgh. If there was ever a fish out of water, I’m it.
When I spotted Melody Warnick’s book This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live, i grabbed it off the shelf. Maybe I could find some helpful advice within.
Warnick’s issue was a little different from my own. She had moved multiple times, never feeling at home in any of her locations. When her professor husband got a job in Blacksburg at Virginia Tech, she resolved to find out what leads people to feel attached to their town or city.
Her extensive research led to some practical suggestions. The first is to walk whenever possible to get a sense of place. That one is only marginally doable for me. I can’t really walk to any destinations, just within my immediate neighborhood. Doing that, however, would accomplish another tactic, getting to know my neighbors. In the time we’ve lived here, people have moved away or died, and we’ve never made the acquaintance of their replacements.
Warnick’s other advice includes volunteering and doing something creative. I do those things but in the nearby city, not on the island. Doing activities most other residents find pleasurable won’t work for me. I’ve never fished and never will.
My one gold star is that I do try to patronize local businesses.
Is there hope for me? Like Warnick, should I push myself a bit more? Do you feel at home where you live? Why?