01 August 2006

Connecting with places

Is there something in the geography, something topographical, that attracts a person to a place? You know, some people like to live on mountains, some by the sea, that sort of thing. Or, is it something cultural, maybe even anthropological, that determines the connections we make with places? Does it have something to do with the kind of people we get along with – more than with others?

The answers to these questions can be revealing. For, the connections we make with places define our identity – and our self-esteem. They speak to us of how we perceive ourselves; what experiences excite or sadden us; what relationships we are willing to build with the communities around us. And, if we dig deep enough into the relationships we have with places, we can discover how, as individuals, we celebrate, alter, extend and repress our identity from time to time to suit our temperament and our personality.

When I think about my life and how I’ve given up many good jobs to follow an offbeat, less secure future as a marketing consultant, changing cities and cultures, I sometimes wonder how it has defined – and redefined – my identity and my self-esteem. I wonder how I have built new relationships and, perhaps, severed others. How I have found meaning and respect in my work at the cost of my ambition. How I have been honest with myself and, in the process, lost opportunities.

Our identity and our future are both connected with the place we choose to make our home… or our place of work. What may seem arbitrary may really be a pre-determined process.

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