Deep is the Rut

I always hated making my bed. I was taught the “right” way to make the bed – with hospital corners, the way my mother and grandmother did it. And I NEVER EVER EVER made my bed. Through my teens and 20s, and at least some of my 30s. Never. Ever.

Then sometime in my 30s I watched Martha Stewart on tv make a bed.

Martha Stewart. The queen of domestic perfection.

Guess what?

No hospital corners. 

I can’t do justice to how dramatically this transformed my life. She just straightened and draped the sheet over the bed. Suddenly a task that took several minutes of work I didn’t enjoy became one I had no excuse not to accomplish in 60 seconds with results that at least sort-of matched Martha Stewart’s. And from that day, nearly every day, I make my bed. It starts my day off well, even if the rest of my house is a disaster, and set me on the path of learning how small habits can lead to enormous life changes. 

Why am I even talking about this? Last night I had a great conversation with a friend who has known me since I was 12 years old. Among other things, we touched on the fact that we are still in our 40s working through some of the patterns we carried on from our parents. And this morning, as I was making my bed, it really hit me.

There are multitudes of ways to do things. So many different ways to approach any possible situation or problem. Nearly infinite ways to answer so many of the questions we face in our lives. But it often doesn’t even occur to us to step outside what we always do or the answer we always give. We never even think that maybe this problem doesn’t need hospital corners – the answer that we were told was the “right” one. We can’t innovate because the rut is so deep.

This is absolutely true for me – and I am a very creative person. Creativity is kind of my thing. And I LOVE being challenged to think in a new way. It’s also kind of my thing. And I STILL end up locked in patterns so fixed I can’t envision a departure from the usual way of doing things.

Challenge yourself. What has you stuck because you can’t see a new possibility?


  1. Janet Pierce
    Aug 22, 2019

    How funny! I’m a retired nurse. Need I say more? I do not think twice about making hospital corners when making a bed; even when I am at my mother’s house helping her change the sheets. During one of these changes, I became aware of her watching me tucking the sheet, doing this and doing that, which resulted in a perfect example of a hospital corner. Perplexed, I went to her side of the bed to show her what I did. Again, a perfect hospital corner! After the demonstration, she said, “Boy that’s a lot of work just to make a bed!”
    If you think that’s a lot of trouble, you should watch me put a pillowcase on a pillow the way I was taught in nursing school….. :) My mother just rolled her eyes when she saw that!

    1. Jill
      Aug 24, 2019

      Ha! That’s awesome.

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