Reading Matters

Learn to love the town where you live

I couldn’t go home again, if by home you mean the place where I was born and grew up. That was Miami. Gone my parents and relatives. Gone many friends.

Charlotte’s been home since 1970. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

A new book, “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live,” by Melody Warnick, is for people who’ve moved to a new city and are trying hard to like it. It’s not for those trying hard not to like it (the grumblers who insist that Charlotte’s a couples town or too church-y or too staid.)

Warnick herself has lived in five states in 13 years – her latest, Blacksburg, Va. She says two million Americans annually make a move of 500 miles or more. No wonder, then, that 28 percent of Americans don’t know any of their neighbors by name, a circumstance, she reports, that increases the chance of heart attack or stroke.

So how do you learn to dig your new digs?

Warnick’s science of place attachment means getting down and getting local. Shopping the farmer’s markets. Frequenting a neighborhood restaurant. Joining a local group. (The Charlotte Writers’ Club saved me.) Volunteering. Meeting your neighbors.

Walker Percy said it best: The antidote to discontent is staying put, even when you get the itch to move on.