Home Is Where The Heart Is?

Amish Country Farm
How much does where you call home define you?

It’s perfectly clear that where we were raised plays a large role in our character. I grew up in Lancaster, PA, a small town known for its Amish community, rolling farm lands, history, and conservative minds. I went to a small public school and graduated with 150 other sheltered youth. There’s no doubt that I would be a completely different person if I was raised in a large city or in the Midwest or if I went to a private all girls school or to a huge city school. That’s pretty obvious. 

But how about when you’re an adult? What happens when you’ve matured, changed from that sheltered and naive child, when you’ve traveled, moved around a bit? Does your home town still have that much weight in defining who you are?

Most conversations with new acquaintances start with a similar question, “Where are you from?”

It feels like they are trying to compartmentalize you, figure you out. Usually I just say, “Lancaster, PA” but others times I want to say, but I’ve also lived in Maryland and Chicago. Those homes are part of who I am too. I’m more than just a girl from Amish country. Maybe I feel like that because I sometimes feel out-of-place in my town.

As a teenager I’d often find myself in my bedroom, the door closed and emo music blasting, wishing to get out of this town. To be anywhere but here. Who didn’t feel that way at 16?

I never thought I’d move back to Lancaster as an adult. But circumstances changed and life made that decision for me. After ending a bad breakup in Chicago I had no job, no money, and nowhere to go but home. I took shelter in my childhood home and clung to my family and the familiar. I’m forever grateful for having a place to come home to and a family to take care of me.

As my bitterness resided I began to fall in love with my hometown in a way I never would have guessed. I was slowly turning back into the woman I thought I had lost but I was also turning into someone new at the same time. I liked the fresh air, even when it was full of manure. I liked the openness, the freedom to breathe. The downtown had gone through a renaissance since I had left 10 years prior and I enjoyed the new bars, restaurants, shops, and art galleries. There was a beauty in its simplicity. Cheap housing and no traffic didn’t hurt either.

I began to perceive it as something more than a town to escape. It was home. A place full of family history and memories and I clung to them dearly. 

But there’s still a part of me that feels like this town isn’t my home. And even if I do decide to stay here for the rest of my years that may be a feeling that never changes. Some days I’m content and others I am not. I am filled with wanderlust. We love taking day trips and weekend getaways. I often imagine what it would be like living somewhere else in the country or world. I consider comparing housing markets in different areas a hobby. 

Somedays Lancaster feels like home and other times it feels like a trap. 

I didn’t choose to come back and live here. But how often do we, as adults, get to choose our home town? Family obligations jobs spouses income all have a say in where we live. But does the location really matter? Isn’t home where the heart is?

My heart belongs to Ryan and it belongs to my family. I have too many ties to family and too little risk taking in my blood to be the type to drop everything and move cross-country or abroad on a whim. I’m too sentimental and too much of a planner to live a life going where the wind takes me. But even if part of my heart is here there is a little part of my heart that beats and yearns for some new experiences and for a home that feels like it completes me. 

There is too much out there to see and so many other women that I could grow into being.

If you could choose to live anywhere, where would you live? Forget about where your friends are. Forget about where you family lives. Forget about where you could get a job in your field.

They say live the life you imagined. They say home is where the heart is. What do you say? 

Is that even a question that warrants to be asked? Is it a silly romantic daydream? Is the yearning for more adventure simply part of the human experience?

What do you think? Does your current home town affect your personality? Does it play a big role in who you are? If you could live anywhere where would you live? 

Think Positive Monday: Good Morning

thinkpositivemonday

(Think Positive Monday: sharing tips and keeping me in line to live a happier and more positive life)

My typical Monday morning is very much like yours. My alarm goes off. I hit snooze about 3 times and then finally pull myself out of bed, mourning the end of the weekend and the start of another monotonous work day. I like to think of myself as a generally positive person, one who doesn’t even hate her job, but those days still come when you want to do nothing more than stay in bed.

Days like today when the wind is howling outside and you actually need an extra blanket on the bed. When facing the outside world seems impossible. Sometimes you just need a little help. 

Here are some simple positivity tips to help get your Monday morning off on the right track. These will help pave the way for a more productive and happy day. 

5 Ways to Wake Up Positive

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1. Take A Moment to Relax

I am always rushed in the morning. I think that repeatedly hitting snooze I’m allowing myself to get as much sleep as possible. But then each morning turns into an Olympic event to get out of the door to make it to work on time.

Instead of sleeping til the last possible moment, wake up and allow yourself 10 minutes to just lie in bed. Don’t look at your phone. Don’t think about what you are going to wear. Don’t think about the stress that is waiting for you at work.  Close your eyes and relax. Try to remember your dreams or simply focus on your breathing. These easy ten minutes of mediation allow your mind and boy to wake up and be present in the now. 

2. Ask yourself, “How can I make today absolutely awesome?”

The day is new. Fresh slate. Full of possibilities. How will you not disappoint the day? How will you make today better than yesterday? A day to remember. Think about how you intend to make today awesome and stick to your plan. 

3. List three things you have to look forward to today

Being grateful for everyday things is one of the easiest paths to take to happiness. As you’re getting ready for the day or during your commute to work, mentally list three specific things that you are happy about today. Not tomorrow. Not yesterday. Today. Learn to focus on the small things and appreciate the every day beauty that surrounds you. Look at your favorite photo framed on your bedside table. Picture your partner’s smile. Enjoy the view on the way to work. You know…take time to smell the roses.

4. Get out of bed with a smile

Last week I shared all the ways a simple smile can improve your day, health, and life. Start the day on the right track! Even if you don’t feel like it, roll out of bed with a smile. There is no “wrong side of the bed”. 

5. Listen to your favorite music on your commute to work.

Blast it. Sing along. Be silly. 

Are you ready to take on today?