The Urge to Nest

nest

This originally appeared on LisaKerr.net. Read the piece here. This is Part I of a series about turning thirty, getting closer to my family, and finally deciding to settle down. Read Part II here and Part III here

Something happened when I turned thirty.

I started missing my parents, even though I lived two hours away. I worried about their health. My friends’ parents were having major health issues and passing away at young ages and my own parents were starting their annual physicals and colonoscopies, sometimes with discussions about “what they found.” I began to realize that they weren’t going to be around forever. I was growing up and they were growing older. I could feel myself aging.

I started feeling the need to settle down and the urge to nest. I wanted to find a home I could stay in for decades, instead of an apartment that I changed from time to time. I was single, and not 100% sure I really wanted kids, so I adopted a rescue puppy. I didn’t realize she would make me want to both have a child and make me question the idea of having kids all at once. A year has passed now, and we have survived the puppy stage. We’ve house-trained. We’ve obedience trained. Kids might not be so hard, right?

During college, I promised myself I would publish at least one book before getting pregnant. It was one way to keep me focused on working toward my dreams. But as I aged, and as my second set of friends started talking about having kids (the first set of friends started having kids around their mid-twenties), I started wondering what it would be like to be pregnant with my closest friends who were pinning things to their Babies! boards on Pinterest). I also started wondering what I was actually waiting for.

Love, of course. I was waiting for love. But I was also simultaneously avoiding it.

I was also waiting to move away from L.A. where most of the men I met didn’t want kids…probably because many of them were still so immature. I figured if I stayed in that city I would have to be a single mom and the single moms I knew (who did amazing jobs raising their kids) cautioned me at how hard it was. I knew they were right. I had been a nanny in my early twenties and even that was difficult.

But more than babies, I wanted to fall in love like I had only a few times in my life. The last time I’d fallen in love was when I was twenty-six and he’d moved away. Sometime after the move and our failed attempt to keep a long-distance relationship working, we’d broken each other’s hearts.

He and I had met through a mutual friend in my hometown and we were instantly swept up in love. Within a month, we’d made love in one of the most intimate moments I’d had with a man. We’d watched baseball games together. We’d dressed up together for romantic dinners. And then at the end of that month, he told me what I already knew: that he was moving and we’d have to say goodbye soon–at least until he could afford to move me up there. He told me he wanted me to visit soon and he followed through with sending me a plane ticket to come for my twenty-sixth birthday. While I was there, we laid on the couch together and he gave me a simple, pink heart diamond necklace and we kissed each other in a way I thought meant he’d be the last man I kissed.

He wasn’t.

We fell apart for reasons that usually exist when you attempt to do a long-distance relationship. Sometimes, no matter how much in love you are, the timing is wrong and the distance makes it complicated. But I knew from experience with him that there were good men out there; men who wanted a family and kids; men who treated women well; men who were honest about who they were and what they wanted. As I entered my thirties, I knew I needed to stop dating men who weren’t like that. I needed to reevaluate who I’d been dating and sleeping with. But more than that, I needed to understand what my desires were telling me. I was ready to find someone amazing. I was happy in nearly every area of my life except this one missing piece and except for the itch that kept reappearing: I wanted to settle down and find someone to start a family with.

Image from Pinterest.

Read Part II here and Part III here

Putting Down Roots

I’ve got this thing against New Years Resolutions, but I’m very pro-goals. My rules are: they have to be feasible, and if they are large, I have to break them into a few smaller goals. Also, my goal setting has flexibility. If something isn’t working, or if my progress is slower, I constantly reevaluate and modify my goals.

Naturally, one of my goals is to own a house. I’m 31 and I’ve never owned a home. In fact, I’ve wandered a lot and lived in many different cities, all because of ministry. This is ironic because I moved a lot with this pastor who used to preach “rebels are mobile” and move a lot.

So now my ministry days are over, and I’m finished with college. I’ve finally found the area of California I want to settle down in, that feels like home. And I’m ready for a home. Aside from my parents house, I’ve lived in apartments and dorms for most of my twenties. It’s time for a mortgage and a garage and some closet space that I don’t have to call up movers to move for me.

I just got a renewal notice on my post office box, which reminded me that I’ve been at my current apartment (a cute guest house near the beach) for over a year. It’s probably time to unpack the boxes, you say? Maybe. But I dread packing everything back up, so I’ve just got boxes around the house that probably won’t get unpacked until they are unpacked for good. I hope that unpacking comes soon. It’s my goal to have a house (albeit a very small condo) in the next few years.

Buying a house is such a permanent thing, which sort of excites me. After being essentially rootless, I’m happy to be putting down roots in one area. I’ve got the small things down: a post office box, a local credit union, and a local job. I’m in love with this area-the weather, the shopping, the small town feel, the way they decorate at Christmas, and yes, the proximity to Los Angeles which makes me feel connected to the real world whenever I choose to be. But best of all, I’m a short drive to Malibu or Ventura. I spent days there this summer, walking the beach, napping, and photographing the sunset. What better place to live?!

So I’m extremely excited to put down roots here. And for proof that girl power really does exist, I’ll be putting down roots alone, without a husband. This is an important step since my Christian days had me believing that a house wasn’t a home without a husband and wife and kids. But for me, this isn’t true. I don’t have a husband and that can’t be forced (although I have an amazing boyfriend of three months whom I love). So settling down will include me and the two cats, who are basically my children. I’m looking forward to what the next few years bring. I’ve got a lot of hard work to do but I’m excited to see where life takes me.