I have three children. One of the reasons I write this blog and choose the subject matter that I do is so that my kids can have a record of my thoughts and their progression. While I hope to be around for a long time, life has many unexpected twists and turns and I like the idea of them having something to turn to if they find themselves in a situation where they’d really love to ask their father’s advice, but I’m not there.
So today’s advice, while applicable to anyone, is aimed primarily at that mission.
Make your bed.
I’m serious. Every day. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but you have to make the effort to square the space you’ll lay your head. First, it accomplishes something. Right away, when the day is still nothing but potential for good or ill, you’ll have imposed order on the chaos. You’ll have taken care of yourself. You’ll have also taken care of your immediate environment, and that’s important. The old camping adage of “leave no trace” should apply even when you’re not camping. If a person can’t pick up after themselves, if they leave chaos in their wake and cause problems for the next person to pass through, then they’re not a person with respect for themselves or others. Making your bed every morning is good practice to be the right kind of person.
It’s something you can look at and be comfortable for a moment. The simple act takes just a few moments and gives you a clarity of purpose, something to do practically on auto-pilot while you plan your day – or even something to keep your mind clear for a few moments before the plans of the day barge in. Then you can look at the finished product before moving onto the rest of your day, so right off the bat you’ve both accomplished something and rewarded yourself. A fine start to the day!
A side benefit is that if you commit to making your bed every day, you’ll wake up just a little bit earlier. Especially in our morning routines, minutes often count – we’re rushing towards everything, having stolen every minute of sleep we could. That’s a hectic and stressful way to start a day, and making your bed adds some Zen-like serenity to it instead.
And lastly, the biggest benefit of all: there are few things finer than climbing into a bed that’s made at the end of the day. If your day was good, it’s a great reward. And even if your day was awful, it’s a kind comfort – at least your bed is made. The place where you lay your head is safe, and orderly, and comfortable, and reminds you that you have the ability to impose order on the chaos. Tomorrow will be a better day.
And it will start with you making your bed.