Monday, January 31, 2011

Love Where You Live or Live Where You Love?

I was asked this question Saturday night by a young(er) girl than myself who found herself in the middle of a newly hatched romance.  Her boyfriend is from the west coast and has that Tupac pride, as many west coasters do.  He apparently has spoke at length about the beauty of the west coast and it’s perfect weather and some day moving back.  Meanwhile, the girl is from NY and her entire family resides there, so moving isn’t something that has ever crossed her mind (and certainly not picking up and moving across the country).

My answer was quick, “Clearly I believe that you should live where you love…  or else I wouldn’t be living in Connecticut.”  She giggled.  “But”, I explained, “I think you can have both.  I don’t think you have to choose one or the other.”  There are places in the world that no one can deny are beautiful and fun.  Places where couples or families could set up camp and make their own life out of it with new surroundings, new neighbors and new paths.   This choice, however, takes compromise.  One or both parties making the decision to move together will have to compromise. 

Some people are stubborn, and you will have to choose one or the other.  People who are unwavering in their decision have already made their minds up that they will love where they live and not the other way around.  The only way they get both is if the person they are in love with decide to stay where they love living. 

I think there’s a lot to say about loving where you live.  I have recently moved to a place that I’m not in love with, but for a person who I am in love with.  It hasn’t been an easy transition at all because of not loving where I live.  It’s actually the opposite of everything that I did love about where I was living.  I belong in a city that has pace to it and life around each city corner you turn.  Noises and people and music and art. 

I find myself currently in the middle of an array of mountains and hills covered in snow.  There are rarely the sounds of sirens or even cars passing by.  The night sky is pitch black with millions of bright freckles strewn across it with no street lamps or haze getting into their way.  Beautiful, right?  Sure.  For a vacation from the hussel and bussel of life…  In my eyes.

There are plenty of other people who find this their “home”.  Far from the upbeat tempo of business and parties.   A cup of cocoa vs. a mug of beer. 

This is all about preference and what gets you going—what keeps you happy.

It is possible to find happiness in a place you aren’t in love with, but can it be maintained?  That’s the question I’m trying to find the answer to.

Days when I’m doing things that I love with the person I love, I don’t think it matters where I am.  I could be in Alaska (shudders) and I wouldn’t mind one bit because nothing else matters in that time and place.  That’s why our little “starter-apartment” hasn’t bothered me (until recently).  No icemaker, no dishwasher, no AC, no washer/dryer (coin operated and in the basement you have to go outside in the snow to use), and far, far away from good restaurants, bars, cafes or music venues?  No problem.  I was on a high from finally being in the same place with the person I love for the first time in my life.

That has kept me going in my times of doubt about where I live, or my times of homesickness, or the times of solitude bred by being in a new place.

Now that I’ve settled into the (very nice) routine of getting to be with my boyfriend each day, it’s as if that was one item on my “What Makes Rachael Happy” list that’s been checked off.  I love that we’re in one place, but now it’s time to find the other things that make me smile and add them to the fold.

My mother used to always say that a relationship should be icing on the cake, not the whole cake—it shouldn’t be the only thing I’m relying on to make me happy (smart, huh?), so my search continues…

I’ve compromised a lot to be here, and I’ve sacrificed a lot for love, but somewhere deep down, I really do believe there can be a balance…  we just have to find a way to equally make compromises that won’t hurt, but will enhance our happiness together… 

If I ever find the correct recipe, I’ll be sure to share. 



  1. That cake analogy is pure genius. You're on your way, doll. :)

  2. Things have a way of working themselves out. Besides, this is much better than moving to some place you hate for a job.

  3. Three things:

    1- I'm loving what I'm reading so far!

    2- As someone who also made the leap to CT to live where I love, I'd suggest you try to find a place in CT you can love to live as well.

    Over the six years I've been here now, I've really grown to love it and I attribute a lot of that to the exploring we've done. Check out the CT wine trail, visit the shoreline towns (Mystic, Chester, Haddam...). You may be surprised with what you find. As small as CT is, there are VERY different experiences to be found from one small town to the next. Check out and pick an event or place to explore every weekend!

    Three: Your "(shudder)" to Alaska made me laugh. Though I would never want to live there either (I'm much more of a beach bum myself), I highly recommend visiting. It's actually where my husband and I got engaged. It is so incredibly beautiful and not that cold in the summer time...I was comfortable in a t-shirt and jeans. Just sayin... ;)

  4. I'm starting to find more of a "home" in Hartford. There's much more to do and nothing's too far. I have a little routine getting into place and it's far better than Meriden... I still have plenty of exploring to do, and I'm hoping this summer and fall I'll be able to see way more of the state.

    Haha. The Alaska comment. I'm far more of a beach person, too, but I've heard the cruises to Alaska are beautiful. I just associate it with cold and Sarah Palin, so... yeah. :-) That's adorable about getting engaged there!! Love it! :)