“Someone who goes with half a loaf of bread
to a small place that fits like a nest around her
someone who wants no more, who’s not herself
longed for by anyone else,
She is a letter to everyone. You open it.
It says, LIVE.”
As a consummate nester, I’ve always loved this quote. My home is my nest—the one place where I can fully relax, let down my guard, and just be. Even though I do get lonely sometimes, I love the solitude, simplicity, and freedom that comes from living alone.
For years, I’ve tried to change this nesting tendency of mine because it has its own set of challenges. It makes traveling very hard on me. There are often times when I don’t even want to go do things locally that I would enjoy because I crave more time in my nest. I spend so much time away when I’m working, that I tend to want to spend every non-working moment at home. I think that perhaps if I worked from home all the time, I might find more energy to go out and do other things, but I’d still rather be home than anywhere else in the world. This makes trusting the inner messages I get about whether I should go do something difficult to trust because I know my default setting is always going to be to stay home.
I’m finally coming to the place where I believe that I need to embrace this side of me. It is simply part of who I am. Now, that doesn’t mean that I should become a hermit! I will continue to need to push myself to leave the house at times in order to establish community and friendships. But I do think that if I can find ways to maximize my nesting time—particularly in the winter months when that tendency is at its peak—I might have more success in finding a balance that gives me what I would consider a full life.
And that’s really the key to this. How do I go about determining how much nesting time I realistically need for me to have the kind of life I want and need to live? I can guarantee that my life would look barren to most people in this largely extraverted society in which I live, but that’s ok. My time at home alone is the most fertile, fulfilling, and joyful time I can give myself, and I am the one who has to live the life that I create.
However, as I increase my ability to spend more time at home, I need to be sure I find ways to stay connected to other people because it would be all too easy to drift my way into becoming a hermitess. There are a variety of ways I can do this that would be authentic to who I am.
I can make commitments to regularly scheduled activities that will provide some level of accountability to show up.
I can find more reasons (and courage) to invite people to come to my home for a meal or an evening so I can have company but remain in my nest.
I can be intentional about staying in touch with friends by phone, email, instant messaging or Facebook. I can make arrangements to go do things with a friend rather than going alone because the accountability to another person will make sure I follow through, and doing things with someone else is almost always more fun that showing up at events alone as I so often do now.
I can continue to develop my online relationships as an adjunct (not a replacement) to my face-to-face friendships.
All of these habits will help to balance out my overwhelming need to nest to ensure that I remain connected to other people. At the end of the day however, I need to do a better job of embracing this key trait about myself and working with it rather than fighting it. Part of learning to love myself is to accept all of me as I really am. If I set the intention of listening closely to my intuition to know how to balance this nesting need and the need for companionship, I will discover what habits work best for me and how much nesting time I truly need.