Feeling at home

Mom bought me this book called This Is Where You Belong: Finding Home Wherever You Are, and it’s about someone who moves a lot and her attempts to feel at home in those places, either to make the stay more pleasant or to find that place that feels like home so the moving can stop.

I can’t help but feel Mom is trying to tell me something.  🙂

Anyway, early on, the author makes a list of things one should do to be active about feeling at home in the place you are, and as I read down the list, I was able to check off 8 out of the 10 things.

  1. Walk more.
  2. Buy local.
  3. Get to know my neighbors.
  4. Do fun stuff.
  5. Explore nature.
  6. Volunteer.
  7. Eat local.
  8. Become more political.
  9. Create something new.
  10. Stay loyal through hard times.

I did those things in Eugene, and I started many of them the first week we were there.  Those things were not enough to make me feel like Eugene was the place for me.  I did at least half of those things in Annapolis – again, not enough to make me feel like Annapolis was the place.  So either I’m difficult and really picky (possible, but I don’t think I’m that special) or those things aren’t enough.

I think it’s just about time spent in the same place.  We were ready to leave Ashburn for several years before we finally did, but it felt like home.  It still feels like home, sometimes, but it ought to after 10 years.  I don’t think having a place feel like home and feeling like you don’t belong there are mutually exclusive.

I spent most of the book disagreeing with the author and wondering why she was dumbing down the written version of herself.  Maybe it was supposed to make her relatable, but I found it irritating.  Those “insights” are obvious.

At the beginning, she talks about being excited to move to a new place right up until she gets there and then almost immediately feeling like it’s wrong.  I don’t feel that way – I keep the excitement of the new place for quite some time, I think, and I gotta say, I’m feeling pretty good about Providence.  Of course, I felt pretty good about Eugene, too, but I don’t think I ever really thought Eugene was going to be it.  For me, Eugene was always a fun experiment, but I didn’t expect to want to stay there (Eugene, or Oregon, or the west coast in general).  Maybe that’s why I didn’t, at least partially, but I don’t know.

I can understand the author’s urge to write this book, but I haven’t had any sleepless nights worrying about whether I’ll ever find THE PLACE.  I’m confident I can be happy in any place (and I’m certainly not miserable in the places we go or have been), but for now, I’m not ready to settle down.  That does not make me unhappy.


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