Ok, first a little context:
My friend is a great writer. She posts. She blogs. She is amazing. Yesterday she posted that she was on day three of making her bed every day. And, her post just propelled me forward. As a life long daily bedmaker, I find people who don’t make their beds every day fascinating. I am a little in awe of them to be honest. I am sure that my mantle of “life long” is an exaggeration. I will ask my mom, but I am pretty sure that I didn’t make my bed as a young child. But I know that starting at about 9 or 10, I did it every flipping day. Which tells you a lot about me without me telling you very much at all...
What interests me most is the spiritual principles which seem to underlie the decision to make or not make your bed. The bedmakers are disciplined and I would garner a guess that we as a lot are a little (or a lot) OCD, disciplined and need outward order in order to feel interior order and safety. We are the killjoys of daily living. Married up to the routine and the circumstance. We wash the dishes, never leave a dish in the sink and compulsively vacuum the house daily not because we care what others think, no, we do this because we cannot live comfortably in our own space unless and until it reaches a certain level of order and organization.
Now these non-bedmakers. These are the people I do not understand. They seem like devil-may-care fellows. They prioritize something other than making their beds every day which is foreign and weird to me. I mean they really seem to live this avant-garde lifestyle of which I have only dreamed. They are rebellious and eschew the daily living tasks that most adults are saddled with. They are the risk takers, the order defiers and the eccentrics. They are far more interesting people, committed to themselves and their way of doing things, convention be damned. They are the ones that rise every day giving a middle finger to adulthood at large.
My dirty little secret? I wish I was NOT a daily bedmaker. I want to be this other person who puts whatever else is going on in life first, and bed making last. I want to wake up and let the day unfold, consumed by things other than neat compulsions that drive my daily life.
But I am not. I have tried. I have walked away from an unmade bed and ran back with a desperation that befits a mother running into a building to save her child. That is how it feels for me to walk away and that is how it feels to rush to my own bedside and tidily make the bed.
I am fucked. I know.
But at 53, I have worked hard to arrive at a level of acceptance that I am never going to be this whimsical, mythical creature that I envy...the one who thumbs her nose at convention and all its trappings. No, I am a daily bedmaker. And try as I might, I cannot and would not ever take up any long term residence in the other camp. I would like to be that carefree, but alas, I am just not built that way.
I greatly admire my friend’s switch to the other side...moving from a non-bedmaker to a bedmaker. I admire her tenacity and open mindedness to begin this type of change this far into life. She is flexible in her thinking, her willingness to begin again, to try new things and see if they fit, admirable and awe-inspiring.
I am also amazed at just how much self judgment we create over something as relatively unimportant as a made or unmade bed. But, it speaks volumes and not always what we want to broadcast about ourselves. We are more than the messy tangle of sheets and blankets, we are more than our compulsion to smooth them over before the day rolls on. We are more than that, and yet, we really aren’t.
For me, I feel both pride and shame for my compulsive daily bed making. Pride because it makes me feel like I have discipline. Shame because the truth be told I cannot not make the bed without breaking into a cold sweat. This level of compulsion isn’t normal and I am acutely aware of that.
For my friend, I bet she feels the same. Pride that she is now making her bed every day when that activity previously eluded her and shame because she wasn’t disciplined enough to conquer this bastion of adulthood already.
So really, we are all fucked either way. Or maybe it is just me, me who places way too much importance on things such as whether or not the stupid bed gets made...my own level of pathology on display for any who are unfortunate enough to be invited into the perilous compulsion that is on display, every day in my bedroom.
There is this thought to make your bed makes you better. But that is kind of like saying that if I ate better I would be a better person. The two do not really have much in common at all. A wonderful person can be the worst bed maker, and the most awfully vile human being could get up every day and make the shit our of their bed. The two really have nothing to do with each other.
And having been a life time (well most of it anyway) daily bedmaker, I see now that, as usual, all the little details about myself that I tell myself to prove that I have it all together is just another prop in my desperate attempt to live life well if I can only manage well. What I have learned by this blog is that bed making has nothing to do with it and it, at the very same time, has everything to do with it. But I will never be a better (or worse) person because of something so banal as a made or unmade bed.
Life is short. Make the bed or don’t. Regardless get on with your life accepting yourself for who you are and not regretting that you are different than how you wish yourself to be. Our whole lives are meant only to be lived by us, each day striving to be a better version of ourselves than the day before. And all these moral trappings of betterment through bed making are just nonsense really...we are only here a short while and in the end no one will ever care whether or not we made or didn’t make our beds. What matters more and most is that we accepted ourselves for who and what we are and did our best to love ourselves anyway. Once you learn how to do that the loving of others is so much easier.
To make or not make your bed, that isn’t even the question. To love yourself, accept yourself and laugh with yourself, now that is really living...questions to the contrary excepted.
My friends post made me think and laugh at how we all show up for our lives and what moral judgments we pass onto ourselves and others. With her permission, I share with you first her post, and then my reply. And just so we are clear, I am kind of routing for her to return to her previous rebellion and tell me to shove my bed making membership...she far more daring than I could ever hope to be.
Day 3/3: Bed-Making Achieved
Today I am a bed maker. Four days ago I was not a bed maker. I was a person to whom bed-making had been suggested many times, for many reasons, all of which I had rejected as somehow not applicable to, or appropriate for, me.
I had many excellent reasons for not making the bed. The first, and most obvious, being that every evening when I get into bed it becomes unmade again. In this world filled with things to do why would I waste time doing something that simply had to be done again, and again, and again.
I mean sure, if other people are coming over and they might see my bed I’d make it, for them, or for me? I wouldn’t want to offend other people with a view of an unmade bed. But just for me, for my dudes who could care less? Why bother?
Many other excellent reasons why not to make the bed exist. Call me if you’d like to hear about them. Here’s what I’m onto today: I liked making the bed. I never thought this would happen to me. But yeah, something happened, and I gave it a whirl.
Day one I felt stupid. Day 2 I felt annoyed. Today I felt a sizzle of something related to pleasure, to my inner inner-ness saying, “Thank you for taking care of me. Good job.” And I can see how this little ritual, this basic morning routine that I’ve heard works for so many people might work for me too. I’m gonna keep going.
So glad you decided to join! This is an exciting, life altering decision! Please accept our sincere and tidy welcome to this ever burgeoning group.
A few housekeeping items:
1. You are not thrown out of our club if you decide to stay in your bed all day. This is an
appropriate exception to the “make your bed daily” rule. If circumstances require that
you do life from your bed, you are in fact exempt from making it.
2. Perfection has no place here. Any effort matters.
3. You are not a better person now that you make your bed daily. We are not arrogant or proud. We just have come to the realization that closing up the night and beginning the day works best for us when we make the bed every morning.
4. You now have a worldwide fellowship of other daily bed makers to call upon should you doubt your decision or falter in your resolve, call us, we have been there.
5. Sometimes, life coalesces and brings about circumstances that prevent you from making the bed. You are NOT kicked out of the club. Everyone falters, we got you. Just pretend that you were going to change the sheets on days like this.
(See below for additional information on this).
1. If you really can’t make the bed, tell yourself that you are going to change the sheets later in the day that way an unmade bed wasn’t really an unmade bed, it was a chore that didn’t get done timely. Totally different than defiantly not making your bed...
2. Life is short. Making or not making the bed will not be your end or your beginning. Stay open.
3. The best moments we have ever known are just as you described in your seminal post about joining this club...that you are, every single day, doing something kind, nice and caring for yourself. It has never been about the friends or associates dropping by...or even your mother. No one really cares, the only one who matters is you. Your opinion and self care are paramount.
If you decide that you would like to rescind your membership, we have some bad news and good news. When you joined you became a life time member, so you are in for life. Sorry, not sorry. That was the bad news.
The good news is that you can just stop making your bed if you want and you are still a member of the club! I know, it makes no sense...we like it that way!
Welcome to the Daily Bedmakers Club. We are proud and honored to have you as a member!
To all of us everywhere, with beds made and unmade alike, enjoy your life. Remember always that life is always about more important things than such trivial issues such as this. But like everything in life, it is about what lies underneath. It is about what the action or inaction says about how you feel about yourself. I like and value myself more because I make the stupid bed everyday. I need it. It makes me feel complete on some level I can’t describe completely. But it doesn’t ever, not one single day, make me a better person. That my friends takes a lot more work than simply pulling up the sheets...