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The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness - The philosophy of an unmade bed [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Zoethe

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The philosophy of an unmade bed [Jan. 21st, 2014|12:29 pm]
Zoethe
(Originally published at Living Graciously. Hence, references to LJ.)

Every "clean up your home" book tells you to make your bed every day. And for a long time I thought that was silly. In fact, I started this post almost a year ago from the presumption that it was silly.

Notice that "a year ago" thing. That's important. Because two years is about how long this journal has lain fallow, gathering cobwebs.

It's not that a lot hasn't happened. 2013 was one of the most eventful years of my life. Some of it good, much of it bad.

I ran a bunch of 5ks. I completed 2 triathlons. We went to Hawaii. We got a dog.

Ferrett had a heart attack and triple bypass surgery. A number of family members died. Our 5-year-old goddaughter was diagnosed with brain cancer.

And I had pretty much stopped journaling. Some of these events are recorded in my almost-equally-neglected Live Journal, but most of my internet interaction had moved over to the quicker but less permanent annals of Facebook and Spark People.I felt sort of bad about not following through here, but it was too much work, and took too much concentration. I was spending way too much time on the computer, and not really getting much constructive out of it. It was casually addicting, letting the hours slip by.

I wasn't baking bread. I wasn't quilting. I wasn't reading books. I wasn't gardening or doing as much cooking as I'd wish. I was, honestly, in the face of many crises, sort of just holding on. Getting enough work done to keep getting paid, but letting a lot else that made my life a good place just slide.

Then sometime in November, I started making the bed. Every morning. If I was out of the house before Ferrett was up, when I got home I would go and make the bed. It was suddenly, after many, many years, important to me. On the morning after my stepdad died, I made the bed. On Christmas morning, when we were all in crisis because my 6-year-old niece had seized the evening before and was lying unconscious in a hospital, I made the bed. On the morning when we got the good word that she was going to recover, I made the bed.

And then other things started happening in life. I began putting together menus again so that I can actually do the cooking I want to do to keep Ferrett and me healthy. I started quilting again. My workouts got more consistent. I have the next bread in the BBA Challenge, French bread, rising in the kitchen right now.

I can't say for certain that it isn't me kind of recovering from a tough year and regaining the energy to do all these things, but I know that starting the day with that one small ritual of making the bed causes me to then pick up any laundry or detritus in the bedroom, and I come out of it with a feeling that I'm starting out on the right foot. Now excuse me, I have French bread to make.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: fallconsmate
2014-01-21 06:16 pm (UTC)
every journey begins with a single step. or something philisophical like that. :)

i'm glad you're taking the steps to re-claim your life after chaos. *hugs and hugs*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 07:57 pm (UTC)
It does feel like single steps, and reclaiming my life. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: waya
2014-01-21 06:54 pm (UTC)
I used to wonder why my platonic lifemate (our family, consisting of me and my husband and her and her wife was built around our apparently-odd bond) got so kirked out about the kitchen being a little bit of a wreck.

And then I decided I was going to start making cheese. And baking. And making pasta. And suddenly my days off are spent (Happily!) first cleaning the kitchen, then messing it up and then cleaning it again. And it has become a point of happiness for me. If the kitchen is clean with bread rising or pasta drying or cream culturing (or all three, as I got to do today), I am much calmer and happier.

Granted, this comes on the heels of me getting sober in a lot of ways. No intoxicating substances. No impulse buying (that one is maybe less successful than the others). Less time on the computer. No compulsive eating (backed up by the drastic step of weight-loss surgery). And all that energy I used to stuff down is being channeled into something constructive.

It's been how I dealt with the year in which my dad's six-year battle with cancer was lost and in which my husband lost his job, leaving a four-person family with two incomes when we've all got some chronic medical conditions.

And this all boils down to sometimes it's the tiny things that let us have structure in all the chaos. That one solid point of grounding and peace.

I've read about your last couple of years and have silently (for the most part) (and Geez this is a ton of parentheses) commiserated and cheered you and Ferrett on.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 07:59 pm (UTC)
You can tell that I'm not cooking if my kitchen is a mess. Rare is the occasion when I will cook around a mess, and then only if I'm sick or in crisis and basically just boiling up something.

Your improvements to your life are amazing. Congratulations!
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2014-01-21 07:45 pm (UTC)
This sounds like healing :) My new partner, of almost 6 months, makes the bed every morning that he is here. From the first time he stayed the night. I often make my bed, because it does make me feel better to walk into the room and see some sense of order and sameness. The fact that he does it too is one of the many small things that makes "us" work so well together.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 08:00 pm (UTC)
That's awesome.
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[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2014-01-21 07:57 pm (UTC)
*nod* Unfuck Your Habitat also recommends that as a first step, and you would not beeeeelieeeeeeve the amount of blowback she gets about it on a regular basis. (Every time a new follower set finds her, it starts up again.) But she makes a great point: a made bed makes everything in the room seem neater, and conversely, an unmade bed can make an otherwise-impeccable room look messy. And it's like a thirty second job. Maybe two minutes if you're being really hospital-corners about it.

And it really does make a huge difference, even psychologically (for me, anyway).

(Also, "just holding on" through a year like that is an AMAZINGLY IMPRESSIVE FEAT. *hugs* May 2014 make up for 2013 a million times over.)

I can't wait to see pictures of the French bread!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 08:05 pm (UTC)
Part of the problem here is that Ferrett and I sleep under different bedding. He hates a top sheet and loves a duvet, and most of the time I sleep only under a top sheet with a small throw that I pull over my hips if I get chilly.

But I realized that I could just pull the coverlet over the whole thing and hid the difference, even if it is slightly lumpy. It takes a little longer, but it makes me happy.

I have even remembered to use the camera through the course of the French bread baking, so there will be pictures tomorrow!
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[User Picture]From: halfmoon_mollie
2014-01-21 08:14 pm (UTC)
I have always loved your bread pictures and I'm glad you are doing that again.

I have always made my bed, it was drummed into me at home. but yeah, sounds like recovering. Recovering from all that happened to you and the deep dark depression that comes with that stuff.

Huzzah and hooray.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 09:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dear.

The bed thing was kind of an issue for me. I used to make it, then one summer when I was married to John and we were painting and building a deck and doing a billion things, and having a lot of fights, his mom informed me that the only thing wrong with our marriage was that I didn't make the bed. Well, I made it faithfully for the next 5 years and we still ended up divorcing, so then I got bed rebellious.

Very dumb. Very human.
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[User Picture]From: twoofdtm
2014-01-22 02:21 pm (UTC)
"Very dumb. Very human."

Better words couldn't be spoken.
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[User Picture]From: alexmegami
2014-01-21 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I definitely know that feeling - Pat and I have 3 duvets between us (one each so that when one of us I eventually pull the 3rd duvet (covering both of us) off, he still has at least one cover...

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[User Picture]From: veedub
2014-01-21 08:19 pm (UTC)
when i was feeling really puny from chemotherapy for lymphoma(August-November 2012), i made up my mind i would do one useful thing and one ornamental thing every day. so while the dust piled up and the carpet collected cat hair, i made the bed every day and took a shower and got dressed, and did a very abbreviated daily practice (usually just the HA prayer). i left all the altars laid out and assembled, and once i had invoked all the gods, i never dismissed them. i'm not sure which was useful and which was ornamental. then later i started doing a cartoon every day to show how i was feeling. and these things got me through six months of R-CHOP and a year of recovery from it, and i think that when one is down to the bone, keeping a minimal program of daily activities acts as a connecting cord to hang on to the abilities of the past and the recovery of the future and keep them aligned at the center of one's souls.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 09:12 pm (UTC)
I think that is a really good point. The other thing that had gone completely away was ANY practice. I was having a crisis of faith along with it all, but after I started making the bed and coming out of everything else, my faith began returning. And some practice is working its way back into my life.
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[User Picture]From: veedub
2014-01-21 09:17 pm (UTC)
glad to hear that. my practice is a lot less complicated than it was before, but it's really necessary.
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[User Picture]From: andrewducker
2014-01-21 08:25 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that things are improving for you. I hope that it continues, and you have more energy as you go along.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-21 09:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
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[User Picture]From: tfcocs
2014-01-22 12:05 am (UTC)
Much love has been sent telepathically your way!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-22 08:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
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[User Picture]From: hannunvaakuna
2014-01-22 05:33 am (UTC)
it was wonderful to see you this past weekend. and reading this... it explains the overall glow and good vibes you were projecting every time i saw you (:
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-22 08:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it showed! I was still feeling a bit hagged from the punk ass death flu, but it was wonderful seeing everyone!
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[User Picture]From: kid_lit_fan
2014-01-22 09:54 am (UTC)
I don't know where I learned to make the bed first,but it is what I do. If nothing else, it makes a nice clear staging/sorting area for other things (most of the bedroom clutter is usually laundry and books, so sorting them into loads or into which shelves they're going helps a lot.). My mom doesn't make hers. I can remember teenaged me helping messier friends with their rooms, and teaching them to start with the bed.
Now I am my own messier friend, I have to re-claim my space.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-22 08:48 pm (UTC)
I am much happier in a neat space, but sometimes I just get overwhelmed. For instance, I have scheduled Sunday to deal with my office....
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[User Picture]From: twoofdtm
2014-01-22 02:23 pm (UTC)
*happiness*
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-22 08:49 pm (UTC)
:-)
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[User Picture]From: roaming
2014-01-27 10:53 pm (UTC)
That's why I haven't posted here, or read much. It's Just Too Much. And really is addictively distracting. And FB is so much easier: I don't have to think or type, just click "share" and my distracted brain is running out there in the streets naked.

But I really miss the slower pace here. Time for reflection. But it is much more work. Hopefully I can manage to make the bed.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2014-01-31 04:16 am (UTC)
And just clicking Like instead of an actual response. Yeah, it's addictive.
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