Over Christmas vacation, there was a moment when three or four of us were sitting in my parents’ living room, each of us reading a book. It was quiet.
On a more recent evening, Robin Hood and I sat side by side, each of us reading a book. It was quiet.
Both of these moments made me feel cozy and secure. Like being in a snug, warm nest. I loved it. I want more.
Maybe it’s a reaction to the rush of the holidays, or maybe as I get older I’m just increasingly content to stay home instead of constantly striving to find the most fun and excitement possible. I’ve done that striving thing before. I’ve done it often. It is fun, and it is exciting, but it also…wears thin.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing away all of my party clothes yet. I’m not about to become a hermit; I still love to have a good time and I intend to have plenty more fabulous adventures in the years to come. But between all those adventures, isn’t it nice to have a time — and a place – where you can rest a spell? Maybe it’s a physical rest, maybe it’s just a mental rest, but the idea of a
rest – of a nest – is one I cling to.
In order for that idea to take and maintain its shape, though, it requires attention. We have to take care of our nests; otherwise, they’ll fall into disarray – and so will the coziness and security we associate with them. I take this partially on a literal level. If my apartment gets too cluttered, I get tense. I have a hard time relaxing in my living room knowing that there is a full-on mess in my bedroom. If I leave too many dishes in the sink, a gentle guilt tugs at me every time I walk by them until they get washed. And there goes my snug state of mind. I’ve accepted that my apartment will never be in Better Homes and Gardens, but as long it’s moderately tidy, I’m much happier.
But non-literal nests count as much as the literal ones. Probably more so. Consider how often the general public sees the inside of your home. Now consider how often the general public sees you. When you’re in public, you’re a reflection of your frame of mind, your mental nest. And if your mental nest is a mess? I think many of us have been there, and I think we can all agree that it’s never good.
Seeking quiet, whatever little pockets of it we can find, patches the lining of our mental nests.
For me, running is one of the best ways to find the quiet. It doesn’t matter if it’s a three-mile or twelve-mile run. When I put on my running clothes and step outside, I step into my mental nest. Sometimes it’s just to take a survey of the grounds. Sometimes I dive into that nest, eager for its comforts. And sometimes I enter it with sleeves rolled up, knowing the place needs serious organization.
Whatever the situation, somewhere in the middle of it, I find what I’m looking for:
And if that doesn’t work, there’s always curling up with a book.
Where do you find your quiet?