Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Eat, Pray, Love about the concept of every city having a word. And that to love a city, its word must match your own; that happiness comes from connecting yourself to your space.
I do not even think that this was her idea; I think she too was referencing someone else’s writing, but I thought the idea was good. I like it.
But while Elizabeth – or whomever she borrowed it from – called it a “word,” I think that that is an oversimplification; that the task of summarizing yourself – or a city – into a single word is too tedious; it takes more work than it is even worth. What you really need to know – and what the “word” really represents anyway – are your values and your greatest aspirations.
Figure those out.
Find a city that feels the same.
And of course, the task of defining this for oneself may not be easy. And the chore of doing it for a city is truly a undertaking. And you may say that a city cannot have values or aspirations; that only people do, and okay, if that’s how you want to see it, fine. I myself see the city as a manifestation of its people’s greatest dreams, and as such, I find the physical representation easier to decipher than the psychology of individuals within.
But. To each their own.
In any case, I think this goes beyond a single word. I think to simplify youself down to a syllable or two is a more cumbersome task than warranted.
It does not have to be a word. The real issue at hand is value and vibration – a city’s values and a city’s way of life should match your own right now – the things you want or need; the things you have or the things you seek; the things you love or the things you desire most, at this very point in your life.
I have a dear friend who wants to move to Hawaii. (Her name, coincidentally, is also Elizabeth. Which is sort of funny, given this post.) Anyway, Elizabeth loves Hawaii. She has talked about moving there for years. Having lived with her, I can tesify that her whole aura and her whole way of life is a true extension of Hawaii – she is beautiful and emanates love and warmth; she is always beaming; she radiates like summertime. And she moves through life with appreciation for all the wonderful little things that make it up.
I cherish Elizabeth. I think she is a beautiful peson, through and through, and I can see her in Hawaii. But as much as I love her – and loved our time together when we shared an apartment – I cannot say my feelings are the same for Hawaii.
I would be miserable in Hawaii. Hawaii and I do not have the same word; the same values, or the same vibrations. I am restless and energized; Hawaii is relaxed – the slower pace of life in Hawaii would drive me crazy. As someone who loves cities, the landscape would not be stimulating enough. I am not a “beach” person. I get bored at beaches. I love more than anything to see the real lives of other people – “real lives” are what I need most in a place. (And people do not live on beaches.)
And so I live in Chicago. I like Chicago. I also travel to Boston every week for work, which also suits me. And while Elizabeth still lives in Denver, I am sure she will eventually make her way out to Hawaii. We all have to find the city that suits our selves.