Finding a Place That Feels Right

Dear Mr. Keillor,

I am hoping you will respond and that it will put my soul at ease. I have been in school/training for 15 years since graduating from high school and since finishing my studies over a year ago, I have moved twice in the hopes that I will find the place where I belong. Now I am back at home with my parents and soon will be moving to a small town a few hours away and in my mind I am afraid it won’t do either. How do I find where I belong or the place that feels right?

Diane of Colorado

I’m not an expert on relocation, Diane, since I live a few miles from where I went to college and a few more miles from where I grew up. I do think that work is the best reason to relocate and that if you find work you are meant to do in a workplace where you can roost comfortably, then you can endure harsh climate, bad traffic, losing teams, and lousy politics. Some people move in search of a moderate climate but they’re older — some move to be closer to family — some because they’re wanted by the cops — but I think that good work is the steadying factor. If you have that, then you can make friends, make a life for yourself, plant a garden, get a dog, join a choir, buy a barbecue and learn to broil steaks, and all the rest of it. Good luck.

  • Zerlindatar

    Dear Diane, I love the advice you’ve been given so far, especially the dog and the steaks. A cat and grilled veggies would work too. The first thing that came to my mind was the old saw “Bloom where you are planted”. I have lived six places in my 70 years (not counting college) and each time I sort of figured it would be the last one and made myself a home, got involved, etc. Each move was because of jobs and I always thought I could be happy to stay where I landed forever. I have lived in Texas, Georgia, back to Texas and for the last 35 years have been in California (where I would have never expected to land). Good luck Diane!

  • Tonto

    I too am having the same problem. I have a job that pays well, but that’s all I have, I have no social life or much of anything else in life . No one seems to want to know a 40 something single man. Most everyone over 20 is married and has a family. All I have is a job that wears me out. I too have thought of moving to where I might have more of a life, but have no idea where to go.

    • Dee

      Those assumptions are real downers. Projecting that attitude keeps people at bay. Find events in your community that are of interest to you to participate in or volunteer. As someone said to me “Get out of yourself.”

  • Joker573

    Dear Diane,
    Some years ago I listened to a speaker or a tape and heard the words “wherever you go is where you are.” I believe following that saw points me in one direction, inward. I must be able to find what makes me comfortable and happy inside and take it with me wherever I go. The old saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence will make me a nomad incapable of putting down roots any where. I hope you are able to find work that in some way pleases you and is satisfying based on your training and personality. Finding things that are available to do and are pleasing to me is a personal journey I will live all my life. It’s the train ride not the train station that is of importance.

  • Hilary

    Finding A Place A that Feels Right

    Sense of Self
    and Sense of Place:
    What we Do
    to keep our pace.

    *post to host 8/4/14
    “How do I find where I belong or the place that feels right?”

  • Slacker

    Diane….Putting down roots involves making friends, and becoming part of a community. Once you start that process, you will have a true home. Good luck!!

  • waynecoghlan

    You don’t find your home…. you create it!

  • Frank

    Try teaching English to Japanese school kids for a year or Japan.

  • Patricia Stewart

    I have lived in several different states. What has always helped me is making my own “family” where ever I was. Finding people with similar interests, or who were interesting was a lot of fun. Hope you are able to find what you are looking for.

  • Chris Reed

    Diane, there is feeling as if you don`t belong in a certain geographical location (too many strip malls and/or rednecks)–or whatever general ugliness that you see daily and it hurts. Move. But if it`s an existential disconnect with location, time to get into yourself, find out
    what makes you happy : ) Good luck!

  • Susan Gawarecki

    Well, I’ll offer some practical advice–use the online databases about the attributes of states, cities, and regions. Do you have allergies? If so, don’t relocate to states that are moist and full of pollen-producing plants. Do you have a political preference? Choose a place where the majority matches it, lest you consider your neighbors dolts (or worse). Do you long for high culture (symphonies, art openings, etc.)? Choose a city with these attributes. Do you want opportunities for continuing education or free lectures? Choose a college town. Do you want to own horses, llamas, goats, chickens or other livestock? Choose a rural area with low cost of living. Consider your climate preferences. Consider your religious affiliation and opportunities to practice it. Maybe your ethnic background and food preferences matter to you. The type of recreation you prefer may enter in–if you like whitewater rafting, don’t choose a flat state; if you love the beach, live within a few hours of the coast. Jobs are important, but unless you are in a highly specialized field, there are opportunities everywhere. Write down and rank what is important in your life, then go to the Internet and list the various places that rate high for your priorities. A pattern should begin to emerge, at least with respect to a region of the country and the type of living situation that appeals to you. It’s an important decision and deserves some concentrated effort on your part if you want to end up somewhere with a high likelihood of enjoying your new surroundings.

  • Slacker