This is were you belong - by Aditi Patil

This is Where You Belong

“Where is home” has been a question that I have struggled with for the last 5 years. You know that feeling, when you land in your city after traveling somewhere? And as you make your way towards your home, you say to yourself, “So glad to be home”. That was my goal. To live in a place and feel that way.

I wrote an article about it last year in the Post Crescent as well. You can read it here. In this article, I argued and espoused that home is a place within you. I truly believed it and still do.

I thought I had made peace with that question. Writing that article was therapeutic. Until I moved again to Seattle last year. This move literally and figuratively unsettled me. If home was within me, why didn’t it feel like it? Everything around me was unfamiliar, including my feelings within. So, for the last one year, I have been grappling with feeling at home. Even after one year into this move, I told my husband, “This doesn’t feel like home”. Having moved many times before, this was my usual tipping point for feeling “at home”.

My quest for an answer led me to look at articles, and books that might answer my question, or help calm the storm within. That’s when I stumbled upon the book; This is where you belong- Finding home wherever you are.

The title immediately attracted me. I was heading off to New Jersey for the thanksgiving break with my family. The long flight from the West Coast to the East Coast seemed like the perfect time to read this book.

The book chronicles the personal journey of the author and her family. But what astounded me, was some of the facts and observations she mentions in her book.

  • 12% of Americans move every year.
  • According to a survey 2/3rds of college educated millennial say they’d pick the city where they want to live first, then find the job to get them there. To many , place matters more than a paycheck.
  • The average American will move 11 times in their life.

The book explores “place attachment” and has a simple self-analysis questionnaire to help you determine you you feel about where you live.

Ultimately the author set out to answer the question, ” Was it possible to feel attached to a place without living there for a long time ( 3-5 years )? Was it possible to feel attached to a new place NOW?

What I loved about the book was her suggestion of simple Love where you live practices she suggests to help you form place attachment. Her 10 practices are

  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.

Her hypothesis was, following these practices would help her put down roots. I loved the simplicity of the practices, and could tick off quite a few that I was already doing. But clearly, I had room to do more.

The rest of the book follows her journey to doing each of these practices, and the results that followed. I won’t give the rest away!

Reading this book was therapeutic in many ways, and I ultimately left with three insights about home, belonging and life.

  1. #home is within you. While that is true, It also matters how you feel about your external environment. For me, staying within meant that I didn’t take the time to discover my new place and home.
  2. #belonging is created by reaching out and holding on tightly to people who welcome you with their heart. I have met my fair share of folks who were cold to me, and yet I have held on tightly to the ones that have embraced me warmly and made me feel like I belong.
  3. #life, in general, is about finding your place in the world. We are always seeking to understand who we are, and where we are. We could apply the love where you live practices and make them love your life practices!

I finished this book well before I flew back into Seattle after the thanksgiving break. We got into our Uber at the airport, and made the familiar trip back to our home in Sammamish. I overheard my son say ” It’s so good to be back home”. I looked around, at the beauty and familiarity around and to my surprise found myself saying, “Yes it is indeed”

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