Before we moved to Bloomington, every place we lived had an end-date. We may not have known exactly when it was, but we knew we weren't committed for the long haul. Even when I tried not to let it, that knowledge led to a one-foot-in, one-foot-out mentality. For the first time, I don't feel that way; ten years from now, we fully expect to still be here.
I recently finished reading Melody Warnick's book This is Where You Belong and loved it. I was already feeling positive about our decision to move to Bloomington, but reading the book further solidified my love for this town.
The premise of the book is that there are things we can do to make ourselves more "place-attached" to where we live. I am a firm believer that I can be happy anywhere, though I do think certain environments are more conducive to happiness than others. One of the main reasons we left Austin is that it felt too big; we knew that a smaller town would be a better fit for our family.
The book inspired me to take direct actions to facilitate putting down roots. I subscribed to the local paper, bought season tickets to a local theater company, and turned in a request to the City to fix an intersection that does not detect cyclists.
One of the questions she asks herself throughout the book is "What would someone who loves (insert the name of your town here) do?" I have been asking myself the same question with great results like introducing myself to people at the farmers' market stands we frequent, stopping in and say hello to the folks at the Bloomington Bike Project, and supporting a local bike shop instead of purchasing something online. As things start to get easier I can see that in the not-too-distant future I will have even more time and bandwidth to serve on boards, volunteer, and generally be involved in the community.
Warnick's book encourages readers to change where they live for the better, but perhaps more importantly, to change the way they think about where they live. When I picked it up I expected it to be a fluffy, light read. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is one of those books that I will be thinking about for years to come.