This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live by Melody Warnick
3 words: personal, informative, domestic
“What if a place becomes the right place only by our choosing to love it?” (p. 15)
I’m super lucky, because I’ve loved my town since I first laid eyes on it. In many ways, it chose me first.
But ever since then, I’ve chosen it over and over again, and I feel rooted here. But when I read this book, I realized that my roots aren’t nearly as deep as they could be.
And I liked the book so much, I didn’t even mind the discovery that I still had a lot of work to do.
This book is a wonderfully pleasant mash-up of personal narrative and handbook.
As the book begins, Warnick and her family are on the verge of moving to Blacksburg, Virginia, after several moves in their recent past. And she’s decided to love where she lives.
So she does the research, and then she walks the walk.
It’s rather Happiness Project-esque, and coming from me, that’s a huge compliment.
Warnick is a cheerful guide through the ways a person can become more attached and more fond of her community. I liked hanging out with her in these pages.
And I was impressed by the work she did to connect herself to her new city.
Though occasionally I longed for introvert-friendly variations on some of the steps. I just gotta tell you: There ain’t no way I’m inviting everyone on my block to my home for dinner anytime soon.
But many of the tips are easy and fun.
For example: “Find a place in your town to become a regular. Clues: Google the name of your town with ‘hidden gem,’ ‘local,’ ‘secret,’ ‘neighborhood,’ or ‘undiscovered.’” (p. 179)
And this one: “Read about your town’s history so you have a better sense of what it’s been through.” (p. 243)
Each chapter concludes with a “Love Your City Checklist,” and while some of the stuff I’m not doin’, I was glad to have some items to put on the to-do list.
And I learned that my house has a Walk Score of 70 — very walkable. (I already knew this: I can walk to the DQ and the library, so basically I’m all set.)
And I walked the walk a little bit, too… literally.
I walked (walking is one of the ways to love your city) to a locally owned cafe (buying local: that’s another way) that’s a few blocks from my house, and I sat in the shade and looked at the sunshine on the old buildings, and I ate wonderful food and I read my book.
This is what it looked like, and it was heaven.
So this book offers tips for people who already love where they live — you can always take it up a notch — but especially for those who don’t feel particularly connected to their town.
So, good people… What do you love most about where you live?