Location. Location. Location.

There’s an old saying: “What you see, depends on where you stand.” How often have I traveled the same road, only to notice something new?

Sure that it wasn’t always there, I ask others: “Did you see what appeared on route 7?” The answer always comes back, “I’m surprised you just noticed that; it’s been there forever.” We get complacent in our lives, our errands, our everyday choices. And yet, where we live, says so much about us.

We are born into a family who come with a home address. This doesn’t always mean we love the location; it just means it’s a choice. Our home is our place to charge our phones – updated from ‘hang our hats.’

Kenny Chesney’s hit song “American Kids” sums it up well. It says, “Momma and Daddy put their roots right here because this is where the car broke down.”

All hometown locations come with the good, the bad, the stereotypes. The truth is that with the world wide web, everything is closer and possible.

Choices abound, and most individuals can choose where to go to college, whether to join the military, work, follow a specific lifestyle or to make Aliyah. This is a Hebrew phrase used during the diaspora, loosely interpreted as pilgrimage to a new homeland.

Our story told through the places we live, work and make our homes, starts with no choice and then captures our soul, our essence, our gestalt. Get your story right.

Define Where You Live

Location definitions are more standard than you think. Look at your life through the geographic lens:

  • Suburbia: Outlying to a major city or other region, signified by big box stores, strip malls, commuter rail lines and everyone owing a car.
  • City: Downtown area – a block, a mile or 12 miles as in NYC – stores and residences co-existing, ethnic influences and a mass transit system.
  • Country: Cows, farms, very few traffic lights, limited shopping options and bring your own garbage to the dump.

Know Who You Are

Now look at your life through how you got there. You, the people, your neighbors are the special ingredient. E.B. White nailed it in 1948 with his essay Here is New York. His premise was that there are three types of people:

Natives, who are born in this place and provide stability and history. Commuters who come in for work and services and live somewhere else. They are takers, while the settlers choose to live in this place and provide passion and their accomplishments.

Make Your Choice

Where you choose to live your life and become your full self is what matters. The Settlers are the life blood of and location. They want to be there. They work to make it their own.

Data shows that loving your home and your community not only boosts longevity, it increases everyday joy and says a lot about who you are. Who are you?

Tell Your Story Proudly

Here’s my story: Native of Suburbia. City Settler. Country Settler. Raised on Long Island with the first malls, carpools, driving everywhere. Chose to go to college in a City. Grad school in a bigger City. Stayed in that biggest City (NYC) for 36 years.

Following my own advice from my Sixty and Me blog post, I finally figured out who I am and what I uniquely must give to the world. I figured out what makes me happy.

And so, I choose the country. No, not another country, the country. Fields, farms, 15-minute drive to a gas station, food store, a PO Box and no signs of civilization from my front porch.

You tell your story through your choices. It’s never too late to get up and move or define who you are and why you are there with new gusto. You are the special sauce that makes you, well, you!

Owning your choice about where you live defines you. Your life is not the big moments, graduations, weddings, promotions. It’s what you live every day.

Are you a Native, Commuter or Settler; Suburban, City or Country? What environment nurtures your soul? What story do you want to tell about your location choices? Please share it in the comments below.

Ilene MarcusIlene Marcus, MSW, MPA, is founder of Aligned Workplace. A recognized workplace expert, speaker and author, Marcus mentors business leaders to drive their agenda and build workplaces where success, inspiration, kindness and joy define the culture. Please visit her website at AlignedWorkplace.com.

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