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.