A Manifesto On Making Your Bed

Make your bed

You don’t even need to do a good job of it. Because here’s the thing: of the dozens of people you speak to today, the hundreds you catch the train with, sit in traffic behind, avoid making eye contact with on the street — of those hundreds adding up to thousands, one to three people will see what you’ve done.

A vanishingly small jury.

You’re not doing it for them.

You’re doing it because…

It’ll give you the illusion that you’re in control

Once you step through the event horizon of your bedroom door, the best you can hope for your day is to avoid becoming collateral damage in the chaos.

You’re not in control, and you know that. But it’s nice to forget sometimes, even if to forget is to fool yourself. Like how dreaming is one half of your brain inventing a story that the other half uses to escape the mundane day. Making your bed is entirely optional; maybe the only activity in the next sixteen hours in which you have control over all the variables.

You’ve already accomplished something, and you haven’t even had coffee yet

(If you don’t drink coffee in the morning, you probably have your life together enough for this diatribe to be redundant).

Being a human is a never-ending job. There’s something on your to-do list that will stay undone today, and tomorrow, and over the weekend. But you can cross off “make the bed”. Stand back and survey what you’ve done with pride that’ll put Superman posers in their place. Now go out there and be a productive member of society, champ.

Science says it’s good for you

If you believe the science, you’ll sleep better having made your bed in the morning. Well, not science exactly, but a poll from 10 years ago that somehow ended up on a vaguely scientific-looking website.

Whatever, it’s good enough.

Find order in the chaos

Your Government is a joke. Wars are breaking out uncomfortably close to home; your donations and performative Instagram activism won’t stop them. Technology is wonderful. Technology is terrifying. Money is wonderful. Working for the next three decades to earn enough money to live out your old age in comfort is terrifying. Unemployment is up. Homelessness is up. The virus isn’t going away. People don’t believe in vaccines; your performative Instagram activism won’t convince them.

But you’ve made your bed. You did it. Look at the neat edge, listen to that spritz of dopamine that says everything might be alright after all.

It only takes a few seconds

(If you use a top sheet and/or have several pillows fluffed and arranged in size order, you probably have your life together enough for this diatribe to be redundant).

Find the corners. Flutter the duvet. Lean down and smooth out the creases; tug the corner a little so the edges line up. If you’ve got a few extra seconds, adjust the lie and plump of your pillows so your bed looks catalogue-fresh. Reading the instructions takes longer than doing the thing — isn’t that wonderful? Feel free to ignore these words and make your bed any way you please.

You can’t unmake it after you leave the house

Those thousands of people you’ll pass today aren’t thinking about your bed (except for the handful who are, you sly devil). They won’t know what’s tugging the corner of your mouth upwards in a quiet moment. They’ll see you hold your chin up at the traffic lights, how you stay calm when the self-checkout finds a mysterious item in the bagging area, and how you aren’t hunched over doom-scrolling as the barista froths the oat milk for your flat white.

They’ll see you and wonder how you can be so confident in the chaos. And no matter what happens (you wanted to order an iced Americano, it’s too hot for a flat white and the oat milk tastes sour), you can’t undo your duvet’s crisp line or delicate drape.

It really is just for you

The second pillow went unused again. That makes three — four — months in a row. But there’s nobody in your way now when you flutter the duvet. No frustrating lumps when you lean down to smooth the creases. You’re good on your own; remember that when you make the bed the way you like it, with the sheets you picked, in a room that’s all yours.

(If you have a pet, you definitely have your life together enough for this diatribe to be redundant).

Serotonin

Start your day right with a hit of the good stuff.

It’s nice to come home to a made bed

After another long day, you’re looking forward to draining a cup of chamomile and crawling into bed. You’ve been productive, avoided doom-scrolling at the café, stayed calm when the self-checkout machine blared and the attendant came over to remove the single-serve ready-meal you accidentally scanned twice. You open the door to your bedroom and see the neatly made bed. There’s that spritz of stress reliever, a reminder you’re crossing the event horizon in reverse and you can relax.

You did it.

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Morgan

Morgan

Practiced reader. Writer in training. Making it up as I go.