Thursday, July 17, 2014

... "sleep is the daily end of life, a small exercise in death"...



I recently came across a post on Facebook “How Making Your Bed Can Improve Your Life”. As someone who makes her bed daily, at 4:30 a.m., I skimmed the post to see how my life has been made better (per their reasoning). The post noted a sense of accomplishment, how the visuality of a made bed encourages a positive state of mind, and so on.

I make my bed for several reasons. I like my bed and the pillows and bat friends who live on it. I can see them better when it’s made.

It actually does calm me. Having everything in order reduces my stress. This is probably because I may have a touch of the OCD (self-diagnosed), my dad was a type-A personality, and because my… okay, I didn’t realize this would be hard to admit but it deeply personal and private and while some friends know I do feel like I’m outing her a bit… mother is a hoarder. Sometimes I talk about this in a humorous way but it is always to cover up the fact that something serious is and has been wrong for over a decade. I didn’t plan for this post to go into this but just wanted to note that it is a reason that my house may appear to some as freakishly clean. It’s my house and I live alone but I CAN NOT go to bed with a mess. Dishes must be put away and the house must be tidy. I even dislike when people wear shoes in my house because it tracks in dirt.


Years ago when I was just finishing my undergraduate degree, my high school English teacher who was my absolute favorite teacher ever gave me a book. This teacher was insanely preppy wearing knee socks and bright gingham. Yet, as a young goth girl who was incredibly odd for my small country high school (as in the graduating class was under 100 and 80% of us had attended pre-school together), she never treated me as anything other than one of her favorite students. I did my homework; I was passionate about literature; I sought her advice. She even wrote a recommendation to a Young Writers summer program at a nearby university for me which completely changed my life.
Upon my college graduation, Mrs. P. gifted me with Alexandra Stoddard’s Living a Beautiful Life: 500 Ways to Add Elegance, Order, Beauty, and Joy to Every Day of Your Life (1986). Stoddard cites the great authors, including Gertrude Stein, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf, to show how attention to detail is key in living a beautiful life. There are aspects that may read as a bit dorky and I’m sure that Stoddard who is an interior designer has a much different aesthetic than I have; but, her emphasis on rituals and even her “grace notes” such as “lift your mood with a new fragrance” and “have a special basket for the mail. It looks pretty, and it’s fun to bring into the living room or library, to open at leisure” have stayed with me over the years. Alright, so maybe most of us only receive bills but I actually have a pretty clip that I secure all my paper bills together until I can sit down and pay them (usually online). She mentions even bringing a pretty tea cup to your office at work. Overall, she discusses transforming space to make it something that one can live within. It doesn’t require money or status. It’s simply living what one considers a beautiful life.  

13 comments:

  1. I never make my bed unless company comes over. It's a very bad habit, one that I started doing the minute I moved out of my parents' home. There's no reason not to, except perhaps pure laziness. Someone once suggested to me that I am rebelling against my Mom forcing me to make my bed. I'm not sure if I buy it. I also take forever to fold and put away my laundry. Again, I have no reason not to.

    Maybe I'll buy this book. I've started to use plot my day on a daily calendar so that I can get everything done. Perhaps it's time to add more beauty and order to my life.

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    1. Once in my 20's I had so many dishes in the sink that I decided to wash them in the shower :-/ I haven't always been so neat. It certainly has increased with age. I think part of this is escape from a bad marriage and this being MY home. I don't particularly want to clean up after someone else.

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    2. Oh don't get me wrong, I'm an absolute neat freak about everything else ... except my bed and my laundry. Seriously. I don't know what it is about those two things. *shrug*

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    3. I completely relate to laundry... I seriously need to just take everything to a laundry service! I have been known to return laundry to the dryer just to get it out of the way. It doesn't take *that* long to fold towels but...

      And then, of course, my desk at work is a bit chaotic but among my peers we say this is a sign of us working. I think it's just that the desk is ugly and I want to cover it ;p

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    4. Now that I think about it, my mother always made her bed prior to the time she transitioned into hoarding... When she stopped is about the time I started making my bed.... Hmmm. Maybe it is about our parents...

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  2. Oh my goodness, I NEED this book!! I have a "tea for one" pot and saucer set at work, as well as a special mug for hot chocolate in the fall/winter, and I keep tea cookies/biscuits in my drawer for my afternoon breaks. And as soon as I read about having a special basket to bring in the mail with, I wanted one!

    You've probably already heard this from others, but you have NO reason to be ashamed about your mom being a hoarder. It's not your fault, and it's probably not hers, either. It's not a deliberate choice, but similar to a disease over which the person has little or no control, from what I understand.

    And what I can see of your bedroom (not to mention the bed) is gorgeous, not freakishly clean or weird at all! I also prefer open and airy spaces with little or no mess. My husband isn't a hoarder (one of my friends is, though), but he IS a pack rat, and his stuff tends to spread and "ooze" all over the house like ground ivy. Whenever I complain he clears it up ASAP, but eventually it all returns. After 14 years, it's really driving me crazy! ::sigh:: Sometimes I understand nuns... ;-)

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    1. Thanks Lucretia. I appreciate your comment.

      It's probably more of the labeling of her as a hoarder. My father almost died from pancreatitis and while he was in the ICU for six months, this is when it all began. The whole family has always "suffered" a bit from being pack rats but this is a bit different. I'm pro-therapy (for almost everything) but she isn't interested in going so all we can do is love her the way she is.

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    1. Thanks! The bed is the Arhaus St. Lucia design although my fella noted it looked cartoon goth and that completely sold me on it; and, the comforter is from Bed, Bath & Beyond. I bought it last year on clearance for $20!

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  4. First of all, your bedroom is gorgeous! And I think a made bed is psychologically beneficial.

    I so relate to this. I'm also a tad OCD (also self-diagnosed) and I can't cope with clutter. My parents and in-laws are not hoarders (in the reality show sense) but they are collectors and have loads of STUFF. I remember seeing an organization expert on some TV show saying something along the lines of "people think having lots of stuff is a life raft holding them afloat, whereas it is more likely an anchor dragging them down". I think there is a lot of truth to that. The energy of a clean, beautiful room is really invigorating and positive to me. Mess and chaos give me anxiety.

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    1. Thanks :)

      I've watched the television show hoarders just once or twice. There was a daughter of a hoarder crying and I could completely relate. It's my childhood home and it is physically impossible to fit in my bedroom (stuff nearly touching the ceiling). The hardest part is watching my father cope with it. He doesn't understand and both gets upset while trying to defend it all.

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    2. I just purchased a 2004 edition of that Alexandra Stoddard book, so thank you for sharing. :) After looking at the sample pages on Amazon, I like her general philosophy on making the ordinary special for a happier life, which I'm sure can work with anyone's individual style.

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    3. :D It's been years since I read it. Some advice has just stayed with me. This has inspired me to read it again!

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