Saturday, August 31, 2013

Pondering: Determining From-ness

In my experience, one of the top ten (probably even top five) getting-to-know-you questions is, "Where are you from?" As a person who has moved almost yearly my entire life, this gets complicated. Do they want to know where I was born? Where my extended family lives? Where I grew up? I usually go with the basic answer, "My family is from Maine," because if I say I am from South America, it gets complicated quickly. Most people don't have time for that, nor interest. As a matter-of-fact, I just told a new friend today that I, too, lived in Texas at one point.

As a veteran of the small talk wars, I like one of Gretchen Rubin's suggestions:

For example, if you ask, “Where are you from?” 
an interesting follow-up question might be, 
“What would your life be like if you still lived there?”

This interests me because I cannot answer it for myself. What would my life have been like if I had grown up in Maine (my birthplace)? Or Canada, or Vermont, or Texas, or South America? Would I have liked small town living? Would I have lived in the same place and gone through school with the same friends?

I am still (mostly) living in the same country I grew up in (mostly), although in a different town. And it is the life I like best, for now, this going between worlds, getting at once the best and worst of both.

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