“There’s a big world outside those hedges,” she said with some unkindness. We were young college commuters and her words stung. Sure, I was naive and sheltered, but life beyond the landscaping was only a matter of time.
It’s many years later and now I’m the one encouraging my college-age daughter to step outside the confines of home. Yes, I’m a grown-up out in the world now, but I’ve never lost my nesting instinct.
Nesting allows us to reconnect, re-energize and reflect. It doesn’t actually require a house, however. We can create similar moments whether we are sending a child off to college, planning a hospitalization, traveling or just looking for warmth out in the bigger world.
Here are my five tips:
1. Gravitate to the familiar: We visited our daughter at college recently and visited the Barnes & Noble College Store. It was bright, airy, and very familiar. Located in the heart of her college town, it draws in students and locals, providing the “grab a book and a coffee” experience. The carrels were full of students working together and socializing. It felt like home from the moment I crossed over the threshold.
2. Carry treasured pieces of home with you: When our children started pre-school, separation was hard on all of us. To make the transition easier, I gave them little trinkets of home to carry in their pockets and it still works today. A tiny Donald Duck doll attends college with our daughter and we enjoy getting pictures of his (mis)adventures. If you’re on your way to the hospital, a cozy throw or treasured photographs from home can bring immense comfort.
3. Surround yourself with natural elements: Wherever you are, you can instill calm with natural elements. A simple flower in a vase gives your eyes and mind a rest during a busy day at work. A seashell or a rock can conjure up vacation memories.
4. Reach out to others for support: Nesting at home is ultimately about family, because no matter how lovely a house is, it’s not a home if your relationships are dysfunctional. That’s why you can create nests wherever you go if you have a supportive community. If you’re new, reach out to make friends and become part of the group. If you’re established, reach out to someone new because we all know what it feels like to be an outsider.
5. Savor moments of gratitude: Writing the WhereWeGoNow Gratitude Gems Series taught me so much about maintaining an “attitude of gratitude.” The biggest lesson: If you want to be happy, live in the moment and gratitude and joy will find you there. That means wherever we travel, if we are fully where we are, we are home.
Survival > Existence,