What separates humans from animals is an unmade bed.

Making my bed has always been my connection to civilization. I might be hanging onto my sanity by a thread (300 thread count actually), but it is my claim to normalcy. No matter what else was happening in my life, I always fixed the covers the minute I woke up. When my kids were sick, when I got laid off, when terrible things happened to people I loved, I still made my bed. It was the one constant, the one North Star by which I could guide my daily voyage.

Apparently, this little bit of housekeeping is also significant to increasing happiness.   Gretchen Rubin, author of best-selling The Happiness Project, was interviewed in the New York Times yesterday and reported that of all the resolutions she gets from her readers to improve their happiness quotient, making their bed ranks near the top.

For me, bed-making has always been less about happiness and more about maintaining an island of calm in the sea of life’s craziness.  The world may be descending into a void but my bed is my haven, my lifeboat, my connection to civilized living. The laundry may need doing or folding, the dishes might pile up but my bed is always freshly made and calmly waiting for my exhausted nightly return.

I can still hear the painful cry of John Merrick (played by John Hurt), in the great 1980 movie The Elephant Man who endured such trials for his disfigurement but maintained his essential humanity. “I am not an animal. I am a human being,” he cried.
I am not an animal either. My bed is made.

One comment

  1. Strangely enough, this was one (ok, maybe only) new year’s resolutions this year. And I’ll have to admit, it does actually kinda work to make me feel a little more organized and calm. Weird how something so trivial can have such an enormous effect.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s