Need a little help to put down roots where you live? Here are 5 tried-and-true strategies.
Moving homes seems almost like a modern pastime: The average American moves 11.7 times in their lifetime, and that number seems to be getting higher now that the pandemic has prompted many people make a move they’d been considering. Still, for many of us, it makes more sense to stay where we are.
Why do we move so much? Part of the reason is a national mythology of progressing to “bigger and better” things:
From Manifest Destiny and the Gold Rush to Okies going west and the growers of the Green Rush, the seeking of distant opportunity, particularly for an immigrant nation, is part of a national mythology as well as a broader American fixation with work.
We act at times like moving homes is a cure-all for whatever ails us. But the truth is, in many cases, it’s better to embrace where we already live. After the initial excitement of a move wears off, we become habituated to the new place.
On top of that, after a move, we often find ourselves lonelier. Moving rips apart our invisible web of social connections, large and small. Frequent moves leave us uprooted and disconnected. It’s hard to start over in new places, again and again.
The one big exception is if you’re moving to a place where your close friends or family already live. Especially if you’ve got kids, living near family is worth a move if the relationships are healthy and happy. Nothing can compare to the companionship of loving grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It’s no surprise that many of my friends moved to live near their parents after they had a child!
As Catholics, we know that any home on earth is temporary: As St. Therese of Lisieux wrote, “The world is thy ship, and not thy home.” But we also know that God is present in any place we live. We know that we can sanctify any home. Wherever we are in the world can become holy ground.
What can you do if you don’t love where you live, but you know that moving isn’t usually worth it? Feeling this way is a sign that it’s time to invest some energy into putting down roots. Whatever effort you spend on building your local social network will be repaid a hundredfold!
Need a little help to love the place you live? Here are 5 tried-and-true strategies to love where you live right now.
1 Explore on foot
Going out for a walk is a chance to interact with your neighbors and local business owners in a relaxed, no-pressure way. It’s a great way to build up casual social connections!
2 Shop and eat local
Shopping at local stores will help you get to know your community better. If you become a regular at a coffee shop or restaurant, you can enjoy local favorite dishes and get to know your neighbors too!
3 Join a parish
Most parishes have opportunities for formation and socialization. Check out the local churches, pick one that seems like a good fit for you, and dive into parish life!
4 Join the library
A library card is a ticket to an endless array of free entertainment and education. And most libraries host interesting events, book clubs, and other activities that are a great way to connect with people in your area.
Serving the people who live in a place might be the very best way to get to know it. Find a way to help out and give back to the community, and you’ll find your roots there growing strong and deep.