Welcome back to the show. I’m so happy that you’re here. You made it! Live Free Creative, Episode 37 coming at you right now. Today’s episode is all about loving where you live. This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart because I have lived a lot of places.
I grew up in one house and then when I was about eight-years-old, we moved a mile down the road, maybe even less than a mile down the road. And then I lived in that house until I went away to college and after that my life turned upside down. And I have lived in dozens of different places, cities, homes, apartments, all of the above in the last 18 years of my life. So the first 18 years I lived within a mile of one home. And my last 18 years, I have lived nowhere for more than four years at a time, and in some cases I’ve moved within months of living somewhere.
So I feel really deeply about forming a bond with where you live, and loving where you live when you’re there. Because whether you like it or not, that is where you are.
In today’s episode, I hope to share some practical tips–as well as some maybe changes of perspective–that will help you if you’re having a challenging time loving where you currently live, or if you’re getting ready to move and you really love where you live now, but you don’t know if you believe that there will be hope to love the next place that you are quite as much.
If you’re not moving and you’re not planning on moving and you love where you live right now, but there are other areas of your life that you don’t love quite so much, some of the advice, and the tips, and the ideas that I share in today’s show about loving where you live will also be applicable to other areas of your life. Loving your job, loving your family situation, loving your weight. All of these things that we experience as our current circumstances are things that we get to choose to love. And I really, really believe that. So I hope that in today’s show that you get some inspiration and some hope that where you are right now is exactly where you should be.
Segment: Odd Jobs
I want to start off today’s episode with a segment that I like to call odd jobs. So this odd job is one of those that Dave and I look back on. This is the job Dave and I got to do together, which was really fun. And we look back on it and think that was so fun and so wild. How did we end up in that particular job?
Del Sol Store Managers, Puerto Rico
The job was that we were store managers for the Del Sol t-shirt shop in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. How cool is that? If you’re not familiar with Del Sol, it is a Utah based company that sells UV color changing gear: t-shirts, nail polish, frisbees, and all sorts of things have this cool technology that changes in the UV light. Similar to the Hypercolor® heat changing tee shirts and things of the 80’s, except this relies on the UV light itself, so you don’t get like sweaty armpit coloration like you did with the Hypercolor®.
Anyone else know what I’m talking about?
Dave had a friend, and he and his wife took a job doing Del Sol in Mexico. They ended up spending like over a year living in Mexico, having their expenses paid by the company, and then also getting a paycheck. We were newly married and thought that this sounded like an incredible way to spend the first summer of our marriage. So we applied and were accepted to be employees, and we were matched with Puerto Rico.
A Working Second Honeymoon
So this was just a really fun opportunity to have basically a working second honeymoon. I finished my first year of nursing school and we moved to Puerto Rico sometime in the spring. I’m thinking it was around May and when we got there we thought we were supposed to be employees, just general employees of this store. And we found that the store didn’t really have a manager.
The woman who owned the store was spending time in Alaska during the summer where she owned a different store, and there were local employees who came into work. No real oversight. There was no one creating a schedule. There was no clear open and close times. The inventory was totally off. It just wasn’t exactly what we had expected.
And so naturally we stepped into this role not knowing what else to do. I thought, gosh, someone needs to be running this store properly. And so we sort of assumed the managerial role without necessarily being assigned to that task because we needed some structure to know what we were supposed to do within a week or so. And we communicated this back to Del Sol. So it was sort of an internship situation where we were provided with housing, we got a transportation stipend, and then we were paid on top of that.
So beauty of this was that we were able to come home at the end of the summer internship with money in the bank having lived on this beautiful island for four months. So we had direct contact with the area manager, and we explained the situation when we arrived and they said, great, why don’t you go ahead and you know, do what you need to do for the store to perform. So we just sort of did it.
Making It Up As We Go
The owner wasn’t there, she didn’t have a lot of oversight and it was really just the most bizarre situation. I had retail experience from having worked at William Sonoma company and I worked at a bakery. So you know, there’s a little bit of experience. I don’t know if Dave had ever worked retail before. He had done some service-based jobs, but we just sort of did what felt right. I’m just loving thinking about this because we were just these young starry eyed newlyweds living on this island, just sort of making it up as we went.
We did count the inventory the way that I had learned to count it at Williams Sonoma, and realized that there was a ton of backstock of things that weren’t selling well and that there were lots of things that we were sold out of that seemed to be desirable items. So we set up an excel spreadsheet. We started to manage the ordering, we set up an employee schedule, we started as an overall company.
There were all sorts of ways that you were incentivized and motivated to do really great with your sales. The company’s target market is cruise ship customers and so we were in a cruise ship port. We would have the cruise ship schedule and a lot of times the store opened depending on when the cruise ships would be in and out of the port. They heavily marketed on the cruise ship as well, so the customers came off the ship looking for the Del Sol store.
We provided the full experience. We created our own sort of games that would happen when there were a lot of people in the store. I would give out free things if there was a long line at the cash register. We started creating some designs that were unique to the Puerto Rico store so they could become sort of collector’s items every single month that we were there.
The sales for that month were double what they had been the year prior in the same month. We won every single award for sales in the region during the time that we were there and the owner at one point called she had was so hands off like she was just letting the store run and she called to talk to us and say, what are you doing that the store is doing so well? And the only answer that we had was that we were actually paying attention and that we had created some sort of system and structure for it.
A Turning Point
It was a really, really interesting situation and a really odd job. One thing that was kind of tricky was that because we had sort of assumed this managerial role, we were working a lot more than we had expected to work. We went assuming that we would have some days off during the week and we ended up mostly opening and closing the store most days at least for the first month while we kind of got a system in place. And then we’re able to start to take ourselves out of the equation more and more, which is really helpful as we transitioned to the next managers of the store.
And to be really honest, although the work was really fun and it was kind of this wild adventure of just making it up as we went, the environment was a little bit tricky. We had been provided an apartment that was on the same street, walking distance from the shop, but we hadn’t gone anywhere else. We rode the bus to get groceries and it was kind of tricky outside of going to work and coming home and then the places that we could walk nearby, we felt a little bit isolated.
There was a turning point when we decided we weren’t going to buy a car. That was silly. We were only there for four months. A car wasn’t provided, but we thought we can buy a scooter. And so we bought a scooter on Craigslist for $600 and that same night we loaded up our backpacks.
Dave drove, I sat on the back with my arms wrapped around his stomach, and we drove three and a half hours on our scooter out to the coast. We slept on the beach. We woke up in the morning, loaded the scooter, and we took the ferry across to one of the two small islands that are off the coast of Puerto Rico.
We Named the Scooter “Moses”
The first island that we went to was called Culebra. We spent the weekend that we were off of work writing our scooter around the island, camping on the beach, swimming in the waves, and just living the life, as soon as we gave ourselves the freedom through that scooter, the transportation. We called it Moses because we talked about how you know he was delivering us from being stuck on the same block that we could walk on.
We rode Moses around the whole island. We rode it out to Vieques, the other island off the coast. We rode it to different beaches all over. We would just cruise around and we discovered so much of what Puerto Rico had to offer during the months that we were there and we absolutely fell in love with the island.
It was such a cool, really odd job, but it was also a really, really wonderful adventure and a really cool experience. I’m so grateful for the chance and we had to do that and for the lessons that we learned in making the most out of what we were given, sort of being handed this odd store with a really different situation than what we had expected and taking ownership in a way that we were able to just it around, really do some good with the store, and the internship itself, and also really love the experience of being there.
Main Topic: Loving Where You Live
Let’s talk about loving where you live. Living in Puerto Rico was one example of really trying to just make the most of what was this temporary situation. Not every day looked the way that we hoped that it would. Some things about it were really tricky and we had to navigate situations that we definitely did not expect. And in the end we loved the area.
We love the people that we worked with. We created this really wonderful experience with intention, because we wanted to love where we were. That is really important.
I think that that’s where this all starts with the desire to love where you live. I know that not everyone feels that way. Sometimes you’re in a situation that you didn’t ask for it and you didn’t expect, whether it’s the actual house that you live in or the apartment that you live in, whether it’s the city that you find yourself in, if things don’t look like you thought that they might at the stage that you’re at right now, sometimes it’s hard to want to like it.
You don’t want to like it. You want something different. Unfortunately, you have what you have today and that’s all that you get today. Can you make different choices or have different situations come? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn’t change today. And if you want to feel good today and love your life right now, then let’s give you some ideas and some tools to help with that. I want to start with the premise and the general acknowledgement or understanding that everywhere is somewhere amazing.
“Everywhere Is Somewhere Amazing”
The place that you are is somewhere that people come by choice because they love it. You might not know those people. You might not know who they are, but I want you to, even if you don’t believe this right now, to just try it on.
“Try on the idea that everywhere is somewhere amazing.”
Whether that’s a tiny apartment or whether it’s an old rundown farmhouse, whether you’re in the Midwest or the East or the South or the North or a different country, or a different planet. No, just kidding. None of you are on a different planet. Unless you are. In which case: Thank you for tuning in from the universe to this. I’m happy that you’re here. I hope that you find something that benefits your extra terrestrial life in some way. Now, everywhere is somewhere amazing.
Tip One: Play Tourist
My first tip comes after we acknowledge and understand that everywhere is some were amazing. We’re just going to assume that for the sake of this show.
I want you to play tourist. Look up where you live as if you didn’t live there. What do people recommend that you do? What is there to see if you were there on vacation? What sites and restaurants and events and parks and activities would you spend your time doing? It’s true that some cities are known for particular things. Some cities cater to different types of personalities or demographics, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something for you.
“There is definitely something for you where you are, but it’s your job to find it.”
So my first tip is to play tourist in your own town. Begin with a simple Google search or a hashtag search. Find out what people where you live are doing, and choose a couple things that you could do that you have never done before where you are.
Last summer, I was in Salt Lake, which is where I grew up. I love Salt Lake.
Side Note: I’m going to sound like a broken record because every single story I tell during this show, I’m going to tell you about a place that I live in. I’m going to tell you about why I loved it, because I have lived a lot of places and spoiler alert, I have really, really loved all of them and that’s from the sincerest and truest part of myself. But that doesn’t come without work and it definitely doesn’t come without intention.
A Picnic on Antelope Island
So last summer I was in Salt Lake. I was visiting family. I was having a great time and I decided that I wanted to go visit Antelope Island, which is the island that’s in the middle of the Great Salt Lake. It’s somewhere that I had been a few times growing up and I had been a few times with my kids in the last 10 years since. And I just think it’s a really kind of random cool place.
It’s a beautiful drive out there. You drive on this little strip. It’s not like a bridge, it’s a land bridge out to the island and there’s the salt flats out there. The lake reflects the mountains and there are herds of Bison on the island. There’s lots of really cool wildlife. And there’s a little nature center.
It smells a little bit. This salt water itself is kind of smelly. People do come and swim in it. I would not. There’s lots of flies right along the coast as you like run along the water’s edge, like clouds of these little mayflies go up. And you know, that’s not everyone’s jam to be running through clouds of flies.
But when I like to go, I like to take a picnic and stay a little bit back from the water’s edge where the flies aren’t quite so bad and enjoy what there is to, to be seen.
My Utah Friend Had Never Been There
I invited a friend who lived in Utah, but didn’t grow up there. She lived nearby and she was so excited. She said, I have never been there. She’s lived there for most of her adult life and had never been there. And this is a person who likes to go out and who likes to experience and adventure and try new things and, and go new places.
And I thought it was interesting and exciting to show off to a friend, a place in her town nearby where she lives, where I no longer live, something that she hadn’t done before.
“A lot of times when you’re living somewhere, you get settled in … and you don’t actually know alot about all of the incredible things that where you live has to offer.”
A lot of times when you’re living somewhere, you get settled in and then you no longer explore any more and you no longer experience it and you go on vacation to other places and you learn and you go to the museums and you eat it, all the best restaurants and then you go home and you drive from your house to the school to soccer practice, home to the grocery store and back and you don’t actually know a lot about all of the incredible things that where you live has to offer.
A New Town Every Few Years
One of the benefits of having moved every several years during my married life and even during my adult life is that I really do get to be new in a town every few years. I don’t necessarily have a lot of time to settle in and not be a tourist anymore. We lived for one year in Concord, New Hampshire, and spent every single weekend doing something exciting and fun.
I created this bucket list and we were kind of chugging through it and we hadn’t even gotten most of the way through it by the time Dave decided to transfer law schools and we moved to Washington DC. So I left with so many new things that I still wanted to do and when we go back east we try to check some more off the list for that area.
This very first piece of advice is so simple and yet so many of us forget that we can be a tourist in our own town. We can love where we live by experiencing where we live as an outsider. There’s something really fun about that. So if you haven’t done that lately, I want to challenge you to look up something new about the place that you live and you know the longer you lived there it’s going to be more challenging cause maybe you’ve done more things.
Do something, go to a park, go on a hike, try a new restaurant, go to a museum, do something in your town that you have never done before and see how that feels, see if it gives you a little bit of insight or a little bit of investment into the place that you are right now.
Tip Two: Find Some Favorites
Okay. The number two piece of advice for loving where you live is to find some very favorite things. Now the last piece of advice was to try new things and yes, absolutely. That is really fun and it also feels really good to love something about where you are to have a favorite.
My Favorite in Austin: Torchy’s Tacos
It’s no secret that I love Torchy’s Tacos. We lived in Austin, Texas for four years and I fell in love with this local taco restaurant that has incredible tacos. They’re really funky, they’re fresh, they’re good, and the best green chili queso ever. It’s just so, so good and it’s so unique and it cannot be replicated. I’ve tried, I’ve done all the copycat recipes. None of them tastes like Torchy’s.
I’ve actually had people mail me Torchy’s queso through the actual mail. So what you do is you have him put it in a mason jar and can it, so it actually seals shut and then they refrigerate it and then they send it priority mail. So it arrives on your doorstep within two days and then you eat it and you enjoy it and you hope that you don’t get food poisoning from mailing something that should be refrigerated.
Seriously though, it’s so good and I love it. And when I lived in Austin, it was sort of a touchstone for me. When I traveled other places and I came home Torchy’s is what I craved. That was the first thing that I wanted after I arrived home. It felt like home to me to come get off the plane and either go straight there for lunch or dinner or to go home and then the next day get Torchy’s and it kind of like anchored me back to the place that I lived. And it’s something that I couldn’t get a lot of other places.
Finding My Favorite in Richmond
Now when we moved to Richmond, it was also something that I missed about Austin. And I remember telling Dave one time that we had flown somewhere on a trip and we were coming home and I said, when I get off the airplane, I don’t have anything that I crave from Richmond. I don’t have a favorite restaurant, I don’t have something that’s quick and easy and casual.
We’d been to a bunch of great restaurants, but none of them feel like they felt that they filled that same need of quick, easy, casual, affordable, fresh, you know, all of those things. And I said, I really want to feel like there’s something that I miss, that I’m excited to have when I come home.
And so I kind of made it my mission for a little while to find a restaurant that fit the vibe and the price point and the level of casualness and all of the things that when I landed in Richmond I could think, Ooh, I really can’t wait to go eat at this or that restaurant. And it took going to, you know, making it an actual goal. This was an intentional thing that I did and I did it.
The Pizza at Galley Go-To
The thing that I crave when I land in Richmond is Galley Go-To pizza. It’s a super cool market that has a pizza oven place in the back and they’re affordable. It’s like $10 for custom pizza. They’re so good. My favorite one is the roasted grape and Gorgonzola pizza. It’s nearby my house, you know, it’s only 10 minutes from my house, and so it’s an easy thing that is so good.
It just feels local. It feels like Richmond. It’s really, really been incredible the way that it flipped a switch inside me to feel like I have a favorite. I have something where I live now, not the other places. I don’t spend my time feeling sad that I don’t get to have Torchy’s when I got off the plane in Richmond because I don’t live in Austin anymore and there isn’t a Torchy’s in Richmond.
“I need to define something new, find something that feels unique to where I live now and to find that favorite.”
So rather than torture myself about Torchy’s, I need to define something new, find something that feels unique to where I live now and to find that favorite. It’s been the same thing with finding a movie theater that we love with finding doctors and dentists that we love with finding an ice cream parlor that feels like it’s just the right fit for our family.
Now, these might seem like silly examples to you, some of them, especially the food ones. If you’re not a foodie and that really has no impact on your lifestyle, then yeah, finding a favorite restaurant and might not be very impactful for you, but what are the things that matter to you? What are the things that really encouraged you to places in your life that you have loved living and then find that, or maybe you’ve lived in the same place forever.
Maybe you have those favorite already. Well then you can skip this one because you’ve already got him. Or maybe the time and season of your life changes and something that you really, really loved. You know, during high school in the city that you live in, you could find something new because there is probably something new. So that’s my number two: find some favorites.
Tip Three: Settle In
My tip number three for loving where you live is to settle in. Now this one feels a lot more like it has to do with your actual living circumstance, not as much the city that you live in, although that is important, but settle into your house, hang up your art by some plants. Decorate.
Painting the Walls
When I moved to Washington DC from New Hampshire, we rented a small apartment. I knew walking into the apartment that we were going to be there for at least two years because Dave was going to finish law school there, but I didn’t know how long beyond that we were going to be there and so I decided I was going to settle in as quickly as possible.
I asked the landlord if I could paint any of the walls and he said, “Sure, as long as you paint them back white when you leave.” Great. That was good enough for me, so I set to work painting at least one wall in every room in our small apartment.
I painted stripes in Milo’s room. He was four months old at the time during nap times. I painted stripes in his room. I painted this really, really interesting chartreuse color in the hallway, which is such an odd choice, and looking back, that is not the color that I would choose now, but I love that color and so I thought that it would be great on the hallway wall. We lived with this chartreuse hallway the entire time that we lived there.
I painted our room brown, you guys. I painted it Brown. I matched the Brown in our pottery barn, duvet cover and painted one anchor wall in this room. Brown. Okay, great. I did it. I loved it then, so it was a good choice.
And then I painted a wall in our dining room. This really fun turquoise blue. That was a good choice. That one I would go with again.
The Feeling of Claiming It
I did all of this in about two months. We moved in, Dave started going to school, and I started painting the apartment. I painted at least one wall in every room in the first two months that we lived there. And then guess what happened? We lived in that apartment for four years and for the entire time that we lived there.
We got to enjoy the feeling of having claimed it. Having made it our own, I planted plants out on the patio. I reupholstered these benches. I needed to find benches because the dining room was so tiny, and so we could fit chairs on two sides of the table, but we couldn’t fit them between the radiator heater and the the window. There was just not enough space and so I decided to get benches, so we’ve got these benches for free and then reupholstered the top of them.
I settled in and I made some mistakes along the way. I painted our hallway chartreuse and I painted our bedroom brown. Those are not great choices looking back, but it was better to make a choice even if it wasn’t a perfect choice. Then to leave everything white for fear of indecision or for feeling like I didn’t want to get invested or didn’t want to spend $30 on a can of paint when this wasn’t actually my house.
Just Get It Done
I can tell you that the money that I spent, it was probably less than a hundred dollars to paint the whole apartment. That that was made up so incredibly quickly in the amount of investment that I felt where I lived and the amount of love that I had for that space because I had claimed it because I made it my own.
I remember a friend telling me after she watched me move in and whirlwind through and paint the whole thing that she had lived in those apartments a couple of doors down for several years and had wondered every year she had thought to herself, maybe I should paint. One of the walls were probably going to be here for a couple of years. Maybe I should paint one of the walls, but that she always found a reason to not do it.
And she said, I just, I can’t believe that you moved in and you just did it all and now you get to enjoy it. And I’ve lived with these white walls without putting a lot up and without doing a lot of decorating because I knew that this wasn’t permanent and I told her nothing’s permanent for me, so I want to love where I live, wherever it is for as long as I happen to be there, and that has felt really good.
So settle in to wherever you are. Even if you’re only going to be somewhere for a month, maybe you’re living in a hotel room for a month. Don’t paint the walls, but do something to make it feel like home. Throw your favorite blanket over the comforter at the hotel by some fresh flowers at the grocery store and put them in a little cup on the table. Do something to claim this space that you’re in and to make it feel like yours.
You will love where you live more when you actually love it. When you use that word as a verb and you perform some action that invest yourself into it, you get to feel that love that you give to the space that you’re in. That’s what you get to feel. I don’t think that it’s a wasted investment to really dig in.
If you followed along our journey moving from Austin to Richmond, then you know that we decided to rent a house for a year. We didn’t want to move straight into a house. We didn’t know the area. We wanted to choose a neighborhood and just be smart about that, deciding exactly what we wanted for our next house, what that would look like, where it would be, what it would feel like. And so we rented a small 1000 square foot house and it was kind of a dump.
Rental House Investment
If I’m being honest, it was not exactly what we were looking for, but it was what we could find in the short amount of time before we had to actually move in and start using it and it was super affordable. That was really enticing. It was also the size that we were hoping for. We were looking for around a thousand square feet and it was in the school district that we wanted to live in. And so those factors made it a win for us.
Now the actual condition of the house was not at all what we hoped for. It was not well cared for. It didn’t have a great landlord. And there were a lot of things that I didn’t like about it. There are things about the layout. The bathroom floor was practically rotting. Uh, it had kind of an overgrown yard and there were lots of things.
If I had spent all of my time the year that I lived there thinking about the things that I didn’t like about it, you can bet that I would have had something for every single day, 365 things that I didn’t like about that house. I could easily have done that. Instead, what I did was take control of the things that I felt like I could invest in, enjoy the process of transforming this rental property. And this is unique. I know because a lot of people who are in rental situations can’t, you know, they don’t get permission to be able to make changes or they want to spend the money on a property that isn’t theirs.
And like I explained, I do sometimes, I mean I didn’t spend a lot of money, but I painted the walls. They were all yellow. Everything was yellow. I painted the walls white. I added new linoleum floor. It was inexpensive flooring, but I added it to the bathroom over the sub floor. There was no flooring, it was just painted wood, so I added a linoleum sub floor that probably costs me $35 and took me two hours to do and then we got to enjoy having an actual great little floor in this tiny one bathroom.
I built a washer and dryer surround and that’s something that we left in the house. We built it out of what it probably costs $60 total, but we lived in this house for a year and we got to use that washer and dryer surround the beautifully stained wood. It was like an extra countertop in this tiny kitchen.
We got to live with that for the whole year. So in some senses the more quickly that you invest in the place that you live, if you then end up breaking it down into like what you would be paying per week for the investment that you make, the longer that you have it, the lower that cost is. So you know you spend $100 on paint and you live somewhere for three years, that ends up being a very, very small cost of paint per week and you probably would feel really happy about that.
I think you get the point. One of the ways that I found to love where I live is to settle in. That’s number three and there’s lots of ways to do that and I hope that that those examples were helpful.
Tip Four: Make Friends
Number four, make friends. This is a big one, isn’t it? This is one that I am even struggling with a little bit right now and it’s not for lack of understanding of how to make friends. It’s not for lack of desire, it’s not for anything except for making friends takes time and it is a process and I even understand the process really well and I feel like I am naturally talented at making friends and it still requires time. It requires investment, it requires energy.
Listen to Episode Three
I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this one here because I have an entire episode on Making Friends As An Adult. So if you want to listen to that, you can head to episode three of this podcast, go way back in the archives to episode three and listen, that is an entire episode dedicated to tips for making friends as an adult and even doing those things that I recommend that are really great by the way, they really are helpful. It still takes time and it takes energy and it takes desire and it’s worth it because when you have friends, real friends, people you feel like you can support and that will support you, then you’re able to love more fully where you are.
Tip Five: Get Involved In Community Service
My number five tip from loving where you live is actually something that I love that I got from a book that I also highly recommend on this subject called This Is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick. It’s an entire book dedicated the aid to the idea of finding yourself where you are and one of the things that the author mentioned is the power of getting involved in community service in your community.
“When you volunteer for a cause that is affecting the city or the town or the location that you are, that you are automatically more tied to it, that you feel more invested, that you’re part of the community in a way that you can’t be otherwise.”
And so I love this idea of volunteering and getting involved where you are not only in your own family, in your own home or with the friends that you’re making, but also in the actual landscape of the community.
Find A Need That Fits Your Interests And Skills
Whatever the specific needs are and there’s so many different ways to volunteer. You can get involved at the library, you can get involved at the food bank, you can get involved with the local YMCAs, you can get involved with the refugee relocation charities. You can get involved with national charities like Red Cross. You could volunteer at the hospital, you could volunteer on the PTA. Any way that you can get a little bit more involved in sharing pieces of you in ways that this community needs. You start to feel tied. You start to feel invested. You start to feel like your roots are down deep and that they’re making a difference.
I’m Not A PTA Mom
Now, I was invited by one of my neighbors in Richmond to join the PTA board at the local elementary school as the building and grounds coordinator and I normally, maybe you’re going to think I’m a terrible mom, but I normally shy away from volunteering at school in that way.It’s just not exactly the way that I have found that I love to support my kids by being in the schools. It just hasn’t been the way that I do things and I’ve really actually loved this opportunity because it was really atonomous and it wasn’t like an ongoing weekly thing that I was in charge of. I have a couple big projects during the year that I am in charge of that I get to choose kind of how they go and it also has kind of looped me in to what’s happening even though I don’t have to participate in all of it.
Now joining the PTA board might sound like your worst nightmare and that is totally fine. There’s 100,000 other ways that you can get involved. Find something that draws you in, find something that feels like a good fit for the level of energy, time, money and interest that you can devote to it even if it’s just a little tiny bit, even if it’s just once a year going to the food bank and helping sort the donations that something that makes you feel connected in a way that you don’t otherwise. Now.
Tip Six: Enjoy The Little Things
The six and final for today tip that I want to share with you about loving where you live is this: enjoy the little things. I love the idea of getting outside of your car, getting outside of your regular routine and just going on a walk in your neighborhood. Noticing along the way the dandelions, how fun they are popping up through the cracks in the sidewalk. Or the incredible dogwood blossoms that are out right now. Or if it’s the winter time, noticing how beautiful the snow looks is it reflects in the sunlight on the gutter of that house. If your neighbor is, notice the little things that make where you live special and unique. Notice the curve in that interesting roofline and the architecture. Notice the beautiful stained glass in the church down the block. Notice how fun that purple front door is.
“Pay attention to things that you drive by every single day without noticing.”
It really takes intention to be mindful and present in this way to bring yourself back into your life where you are, where you’re walking and recognize what’s around you. The other important piece of this exercise is to put your phone away.
Put Your Phone Away
I walk my kids to school and it’s about seven blocks away. So we walk and I’m on the way there. I am holding onto the dog leash and I’m holding on to Plum’s hand and we’re chatting about the day and work, you know, it’s a really fun time that I get to talk to my kids and ask them about things that are going on and just, it’s a really, it’s a really wonderful way to start the day. And then I dropped the boys off at elementary school and then we walk a couple more blocks with Plum to her preschool and I dropped her off and then it’s just me and the dog to walk home.
It would be really easy and in fact, some days my automatic reaction as soon as Plum is in the door of the preschool is to pull out my phone and start to scroll as I walk home or start to, you know, look something up or make a phone call or occupy myself in some way. Now that know this is my time, that I’m going to start working or whatever, and I have really loved the practice lately of putting my phone back in my pocket and walking those seven blocks home without listening to anything, without calling anyone, just using that time.
It probably takes me eight minutes, maybe eleven depending if I hit the red light. That is a very short amount of time that I am aware and I’m present and I’m mindful and it feels like a meditation.
“It feels like a prayer of gratitude as I walk with focus and intention on seeing all of the little things that I love about those blocks that I’m so grateful to be able to live right where I do.”
We Find What We’re Looking For
We landed in such an incredible place at this time in our lives. I really truly believe that we find what it is that we’re looking for. And so if we want to love where we live and we look for the good and we look for the favorites and we start to enjoy all of the little pieces that where we live has to offer us that are wonderful, that we will be overwhelmed with gratitude and with fulfillment and with contentment where we are.
And if we’re finding what we’re looking for and we don’t want to love where we live, we would rather be somewhere else. We aren’t really sure that we like this place, this house, this apartment, this town, the city. Guess what? It’s going to be really, really hard to love it when you don’t want to. It’s really hard to find the good when what you’re looking for or things to complain about or things to compare to somewhere else that you’ve been.
Now I have to fess up. I really love Richmond and there is something that has been really hard for me and that is the rain. I didn’t realize how much I’m affected by the cloudy weather and the constant rain until I lived in this place. This is the first place that I’ve ever lived in my whole life that it rains often.
I grew up in Utah. It’s a middle of the desert. We lived in New Hampshire that it snowed a lot, but it didn’t rain a whole lot. We lived in Washington DC, which is not that much further north, but maybe because we were in the city and I was working and I don’t know, something about the rain has been really difficult and we’ve lived in Richmond for two years and I feel like it has rained almost every day. That’s not true and I realized a couple of weeks ago that I feel like it rains every day because every time that it rains I run through the same thought pattern, the same negative thought pattern of it’s raining again.
“It rains so much here. I have a really hard time with the rain. I don’t really know what to do with the rain.” It sort of affects my whole day when it rains, guess what friends I am finding what I’m looking for when every single time it rains I think about how it rains every day. That’s all I’m going to notice!
The last couple of weeks it has been so sunny and so beautiful and I’m certain that over the last few years there have been some days and weeks that it has been sunny and beautiful that I didn’t appreciate it and so I’m doing a couple things right now. I am actually very intentionally trying to find things about the rain itself that I love so that when it does rain rather than thinking about how hard it is for me, I get to think about all of the things that I really enjoy about it.
Finding The Good
Some of the things I’ve come up with, if you love the rain please, I’d love to hear. Some of the things I’ve come up with: that it waters my plant so I don’t have to remember to water them, which is something I’m not great at. I like that I can take a cue from the reign to kind of have a slower day on a rainy day and I’m probably not going to be out doing a whole bunch of errands or I don’t really, it doesn’t give me the feeling of like super motivation and so maybe that’s a good thing because I don’t really have a problem with like doing more projects. They don’t need more motivation.
Sometimes what I need is a prompt to slow down and to spend a day reading on the couch and so maybe what the rain can do for me is to help remind me to take a chill pill every once in awhile and just slow it down a little bit. I also think umbrellas are really fun and so learning to be a really great rainy weather person. I have a great red coat that is helping with the rain. I’ve got the boots that I need. I’ve had them for years and I never ever, ever used them in other, other places and now I’m like, Oh yeah, this is why people have rain boots. Actually consciously working to find the good in something that can just be wonderful. It doesn’t have to be bad. It can just be good is helping shift my perspective.
If you find what you’re looking for, what is it that you’re finding, you can sort of trace back your own thoughts and realize how your perspective is shaping your experience. What feels really easy is to not be in charge of our own emotions. What feels really easy is to feel like we could love where we lived if where we lived was different or we could love our house if our was the way we wanted it to be or we could love our job if our job fit our expectation, what’s a little bit harder but ever more fulfilling is recognizing that things are what we make them, that we create our emotions by finding what we’re looking for and so when you look for the good, you’re going to find it.
Review of The Six Tips
Just do a quick recap for you. Have these five tips for loving where you live.
- Play tourist. If you were there on vacation, what would you be doing? Good. Do one of those things and tell me what you thought about it.
- Find some favorites. Where are you going to go the next time you go out of town and you come home, that feels like home to you. Do a little investigation. I was looking for my favorite Tacos in Richmond because I love Tacos and I went to a lot of Taco restaurants to do some research and it was really fun and I found my go-to taco joint. So do a little research and find some favorites.
- Settle in. Make a little investment into your home, into your yard. Create the space that you want to be in.
- Make some friends. I give you lots of ways to do that in episode three.
- Volunteer. Get involved in whatever way feels like a good fit for you, but that really helps kind of move the needle toward being invested in the community.
- Enjoy the little things. I want to challenge you to spend at least 10 minutes. Let’s say 10 minutes. That’s like a good round number. Spend 10 minutes walking where you live this week. For some of you that will be like, yeah, I walked like for hours everyday where I live, but if you spend most of your time driving from your house to the lessons, to the school, to the church, to the back, spend some time outside walking somewhere and just enjoying all of the details of where you are right then. I truly believe that everywhere is somewhere amazing and that we find what we’re looking for, so remember those things as you dig in a little further and fall in love maybe all over again with where you live right now.
That’s my show for today. Friends, thank you so much as usual for tuning in. I do not take for granted you giving me your attention and listening and sharing the show. I appreciate every single time that someone shares every rating, every review, every mention, every message, every email, all of it means so much to me because I love that my purpose is being realized.
My hope is to inspire you to live a creative, adventurous, and intentional lifestyle. To recognize where you want to go and to give you some of the tools to feel like you can get there. I’m excited to hear how you do on our two challenges for this week. One, to go somewhere new, do something that you haven’t done, be a tourist in your own town, and two, to take a present walk for 10 minutes or so around where you live, just focused on seeing all of the good that exists right where you are. I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll chat with you next time. See you later. Okay.