I’ve been thinking about falling in love. Or maybe I should say, choosing to love.
When we spent time in South Haven recently, my friend reminded me that it’s the same town Shauna Niequist gushes about in Bread and Wine, the one she loves for its charm and the memories it holds for her.
South Haven is a beautiful town, but there are lots of beautiful towns all up and down the Michigan shore, and even on other beaches, other lakes. Why South Haven?
From South Haven my family moved on to Chicago, where we stayed in a friend’s second home. Chicago is their city, they said when they handed over the keys, and they wanted to make it easier to get up there more often. So they bought a place, and now they do.
Chicago is a great city, but there are other great cities. Why Chicago?
I’m starting to suspect that to really love a place, you’ve got to meet it halfway: you have to choose to make it yours.
Let’s say you like a place. Because you like it, you choose to spend a little more time there. And the more time you put in, the more you like it. It’s a virtuous cycle. It’s how you fall in love.
This happens with all kinds of things: towns, restaurants, books, baseball.
I have friends who piled in the car before dawn last Saturday to drive 700 miles to Omaha to watch U of L play in the College World Series. They cheered on their team, went to bed, and left for home the next morning.
Ownership—and we’re not just talking money—is a powerful construct. When you make something yours—a town or a book or a baseball team—it becomes part of your identity.
My husband and I have been thinking about what we want to make ours as a family. What will our thing be? What makes us us?
We have a few starting points: my own little family returns to the Florida panhandle each year, same town, same place. To my kids, this beach is the beach, and their childhood memories will be tangled up with these trips.
This place has become ours.
(Fun fact: I snapped the photo for last year’s summer reading guide on our beach.)
But we’ve got room for more. We’re paying attention to what we’re drawn toward: what places, what things, what causes will we claim as our own?
What will we choose to love?
I don’t expect the answers to come easy, but I think our lives will be richer if we find them. If we choose them.
Do you think I’m crazy, or do you think this is really a thing? What have you made your own?