Learn to Love Where You Live by Staying Loyal

Today’s post is the tenth and final one in a series of posts over the past few weeks, taking a “deeper dive” into the concepts at the heart of Melody Warnick’s book, This is Where You Belong

Here is Warnick’s list of ten placement behaviors that she developed on the journey to “Love where you live.”

  1. Walk more
  2. Buy local
  3. Get to know your 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

The trouble with place attachment is that to fall in love with a place is to risk losing it and grieving for it.

Melody Warnick

Author Melody Warnick believes that home is nothing more or less than the place where you feel at home and choose to stake yourself – and maybe not in that order. When we decide to plant roots, often the feeling of at-homeness follows.

The problem is that your town, wherever it is, will in all likelihood fall apart some day.

Warnick believes that what locals do next, after the disaster, is a key measure of how place attached we really are. How loyal will we be when things go wrong?

Warnick’s “Love Where You Live” experiments were used to test her hypothesis that actively seeking the good things in her town, investing her time and energy, and immersing herself in her surroundings would make her feel more like she belonged. For the most part, they had.

What she had never tested, and could not, was whether she had the mettle to make it through a crisis.

In her research of other places’ disasters or crises, she discovered the paradox of resilience: while anticipating Bad Things can make you feel antisocial, the aftermath of the actual event tends to increase social capital. The newfound ties developed during the crisis have the added benefit of making residents feel more rooted just at the moment they’re waffling between fight and flight.

Here are a few ideas from Warnick on Staying Loyal:

  • Create an emergency contact list for your neighbors. You’ll be one another’s first line of defense in case of disaster, with the added benefit that now you have their numbers to invite them to your Sunday Night Dinner.
  • Read about your town’s history so you’ll have a better sense of what it’s been through. Even small towns tend to carry local history books in their library.
  • Make your own personal resilience plan. Identify the most common shocks in your region – earthquakes, floods, wildfires – and figure out what you need to deal with them. You’ll feel less stressed if you know what to do when a Bad Thing happens.

I can’t emphasize this enough: If you like the idea of loving where you live, of being a better neighbor, or anything remotely connected, you MUST check out the work of Melody Warnick. Follow her on social media. Buy the book. Sign up for the newsletter on her website. Peruse the website for other articles she has written. It’s all PURE GOLD.