Place and Self
I’m flying to Utah today for a visit to my hometown. I love going to Logan and part of me thinks it is just because my parents and all my siblings and their families live there. But when I try to imagine the place without the people that make it special (say, for example, they all up and relocated to Oregon or something), I still see myself wanting to go back to visit the beautiful canyons and hiking trails, favorite old stomping grounds, historical landmarks and the center street homes, and the university. It really wasn’t that long ago when I was pretty excited to move away, to live somewhere new, do things on my own, and raise my children somewhere outside the homogeneous Utah culture I grew up in. But lately I find myself wanting to move back. There is just something endearing to me about the place. It has lots of character. Irvine on the other hand, where I am currently residing, seems so generically suburban and over-planned. I just don’t see myself growing to love a place like this. Since we are only here for another year or two, tops, I think I won’t have to.
On a side-note, I think this is an idea I have been considering ever since I went to hear Terry Tempest Williams do a reading here at UC Irvine. She writes a lot about places and how they inform her identity–and quite beautifully, in fact. (I think that was the same visit during which Jana interviewed her.)
Is part of your sense of self related to a geographic location? Do you feel attached to your hometown? If not, is there another place you are attached to (maybe where you live now or somewhere else)? Why do you think you feel that way? Maybe you don’t feel attached to a specific place, but many places. Or maybe for you, there is something attractive about moving frequently and getting a taste for different locations. Have your feelings regarding this matter ever gone through a significant change?