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The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live
If you’re living in the United States, chances are the place you’re currently living in is neither the first nor will it be the last. That’s because Americans, on average, move almost 12 times during their lifetime.
Now, that’s a lot!
And Melody Warnick, the author of “This Is Where You Belong” wasn’t an exception. In fact, she had moved 6 times before deciding that life is not about restlessness, but about serenity. That’s when she resolved to learn to love her sixth home – and make it her final.
Her discoveries will fascinate you.
So, learn them first here, in a neat summary.
Who Should Read “This Is Where You Belong”? And Why?
The Romantics were an interesting bunch. You see, they were too individualistic too settle. And they were probably the first ones in human history to believe that “happiness is where you are not.”
All you wide-eyed dreamers out there seeking happiness by being constantly on-the-move– you are their legacy! And this book is about you! Especially if you’re young and foolish and blame your environment for your misery, hoping to be happier by moving to another place.
About Melody Warnick
Melody Warnick is an American author and freelance journalist. She has written numerous of articles for publications such as “O: The Oprah Magazine,” “Reader’s Digest,” and “Better Homes and Gardens.” “This Is Where You Belong” is her first, and so far, only book.
This Is Where You Belong Summary
Time for yet another paradigm shifter: according to Melody Warnick, contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need to find a hometown, but create one!
Let’s see how that works!
And it’s nice to start with a little brain teaser: if you are constantly on the move, how would you ever find your home? Home is where you stay. Not for years. But, for decades.
It’s called “place attachment” and it’s what makes you say: “Gee but it’s great to be back home!” Remember ever saying this?
Well, neither did Melody Warnick. So, she decided, after the sixth time, she changed cities, that she won’t anymore. It was time for a new strategy: she decided to learn to love the place where she was.
And no, it wasn’t New York or LA. It was Blacksburg, Virginia. Sure, one of the best places in the US to raise your kids, but… yeah, she had to roll up her sleeves a little bit.
And she did!
First of all, she stopped driving around. She wanted to get to know Blacksburg intimately. So, she started riding a bike and walking around. It’s the real stuff: unlike driving, walking and biking last longer and it comes with all sorts of smells and sights. And almost no stress whatsoever.
Next on the agenda: shopping!
But, not big-corporation shopping. Nice, friendly, local-business shopping.
Studies have found out that half of the money spent at local businesses circulate locally. And that’s three times more than the money spent in the big chain store!
Buying locally may be a bit more expensive, but it also means investing locally in the long run. If instead of just $10, $30 of the $60 you spent remain in your hometown, both the infrastructure and the schools will benefit three times more!
And it’s not the only benefit!
A recent study found out that about 80 percent of the residents of Aragón, Spain, enjoyed buying locally because that way they felt more connected to the community. And being connected to your community is one step from calling a place your home.
It’s more than mere words on paper:
Another study discovered that there’s a connection between a tightly knit neighborhood and emotional bliss. People who had good relationships with their neighbors suffered from less stress-related problems than those who never bothered to learn who their neighbors are.
It’s logical if you think about it:
You vent out your anger by sharing it, and who would you share it if not your next-door neighbors?
So, forge relationships! Find you what your neighbors want and how you can become closer to them! See what’s specific about your town – if there are places everybody goes to (like yoga centers, a well-known restaurant, a local park, etc.) – and start visiting them too!
Day by day – you’ll see – you’ll start falling in love with your town!
And then, one day – who knows? – maybe you’ll start calling it your home!
Key Lessons from “This Is Where You Belong”
1. Home Is Where You Make It to Be
2. Your Car Is Not Your Friend: Your Bike and Your Feet Are
3. Forge Communities: Connect with Your Neighbors
Home Is Where You Make It to Be
Don’t be fooled by the flashy title: not every city can be your home! For one, you won’t enjoy your stay any place which is not eco-friendly. That being said, studies have shown that there are few such places!
Just think about it: no matter where you are, there are hundreds and hundreds of people who have been there for years and would like to stay there for decades. Join them: don’t just move around to find a home. create one where you currently are.
Your Car Is Not Your Friend: Your Bike and Your Feet Are
Biking and walking are two activities which will definitely help you get to know your new home intimately. Driving around will bereave you not only from smells and sight, but also from discussions with the people jogging around you or sitting on the benches in the park.
Not to mention: this way you’ll be way healthier!
Forge Communities: Connect with Your Neighbors
Speaking of discussions – have them! No man is an island – said Donne, said Hemingway, said everybody. And a large part of your unhappiness owes to the fact that you are not even trying to connect with your neighbors.
Believe us: you don’t know what you’re missing.
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“This Is Where You Belong” Quotes
Our Critical Review
Well-researched and well-written, Melody Warnick’s “This Is Where You Belong” is a book full of great ideas. Their bottom line is: if you are not happy, it could be, but it is probably not due to the place you’re living in. In fact, moving may only make it worse. Staying, however, requires some work.
And if you do want to work on creating a home somewhere – anywhere! – you should have a look at this book. On the other hand, if you’re happy where you are or you want to live on the road, you probably don’t need this book.