“Every military spouse needs to read this. Today.”
That’s what I thought just a few pages in to “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live,” a new book about figuring out how to make your new-to-you hometown truly, well, home.
Over the summer my family and I moved from Tennessee to Alaska. Talk about a change. And while I am dead set on loving where we live, I won’t lie to you – it’s been hard. The constant mid-summer Alaska daylight was a much bigger adjustment than I thought it would be. I’ve lived places with cooler temps before and loved them – but the sudden drop from 95 and humid every day to 60 and cloudy was a big shock to my system. And then there were the friends like family who I left behind with all of my pet volunteer projects and passions. Every social media post from our previous duty station was like a stabbing reminder that they were still together and I am far, far away.
I love books that are presented as step-by-step projects. And “This Is Where You Belong” fit right into that mold. Those sorts of books give me a how-to guide for life, and I appreciate that. Plus I’m a sucker for a good life experiment.
They say your attitude can make all the difference, and this book looks to take that to heart by giving the reader actionable steps for learning to love where they live. Author Melody Warnick walks the reader through her attempts to love a new home town she’s not exactly over the moon for – and gives instructions on how they can follow her path, too. She calls the whole thing her “love where you live experiment.”
And while none of the steps are exactly rocket science, they are all practical reminders for a time in your life where you’re too overwhelmed with all the new to even know where to start. Tasks like “walk somewhere,” “buy local” and “do something fun,” all with studies and facts to back them up, help you connect with the place you live and build a bond that makes you simply like it more.
Warnick categorizes people into two broad categories – “movers,” or people who move a lot whether by choice or force (like military families), and “stayers.” The goal of her tasks is to make “movers” into people who at least want to be “stayers” – or who like where they live enough to stay if they could.
So how does this apply to military families? We’ve all been there or at least talked to someone who absolutely hates their duty station. Sometimes it’s just hard to find things to love about the place you’re forced to live. Warnicks steps can help the haters because lovers … or at least toleraters (if that’s a word).
Check out the book today!