Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nesting: the Pursuit of Beauty

One of the more challenging things about dedicating a couple months to the subject of Nesting is that on the surface it doesn't seem to be a very worthy pursuit.  For instance, I spent a recent night laying awake in bed for three hours with nothing on my mind but the pressing need to redecorate my spare bedroom.

Now a tempting response to a night like that would be "isn't there a pill they can prescribe for that?" (incidentally, yes--it's called Tylenol PM and works like a charm.  No prescription necessary).  I mean, hours spent contemplating which shade of blue you want to paint your walls (Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl, in case you were wondering) aren't exactly life changing.  Hours spent creating a safe and comfortable home (aka nesting) aren't particularly life changing either.  (Of course, hours spent in a scary, angry home are life changing, but we won't get into that now....)

But while I was laying awake pondering the long-term benefits of swing-arm sconces, it occurred to me that much of life, at least for me as a woman, comes down to the pursuit of three things: beauty, order and purpose.  The first of those, beauty, has been occupying us ladies for centuries.  And it is a good thing!  Have you seen what happens when women quit caring about beauty?  Underarm hair and interior decorating from the 1970's come immediately to mind.  Not to mention Stalinist architecture and the demise of civilization as we know it.

Of course this isn't to say that faux-fur bedding is on par with the Louvre and democracy, but it matters!  Or at least our pursuit of beauty--even the "starting at home," as HGTV so poignantly preaches--helps balance out the things that are unavoidably beauty-less, like, say, the current economic malaise, or Middle Eastern politics.  And though it is true that sewing a new coverlet for my bed won't cure all that ails us, it does make a concerted statement about the timeless way we live.  Not a "I'm shallow and only care about what other people think of my pretty home" statement, but a "I believe that comfort and beauty are worthy pursuits, even if they are only small efforts" statement.  A "I want to create a space--be it through art or music or my living room--that is pleasing and enjoyable for my friends and loved ones, because so much of the world isn't pleasing" statement.

Perhaps you think that I'm stretching a bit to say that Nesting is this important.  That's okay.  There are days I think it's a little less grand too.  But today I'm focusing on the pursuit of beauty.  And today that starts in my spare bedroom.

Previous Nesting posts:

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