I love the big fresh starts, the clean slates like birthdays and new years, but I also really like the idea that we can get up every morning and start over.—Kristin Armstrong
I like a nice, hot shower first thing in the morning. There is something wonderful about having a few minutes while the coffee is brewing to wash away all the cobwebs, clear my head from whatever nonsense was left by bad dreams, think through the day’s schedule, and set a proper attitude for getting things done. Unfortunately, that’s not typically the way my day starts.
Most mornings, I stumble into the living room in the dark, trying not to wake anyone else while simultaneously doing my best to not step on one of the three cats at my feet. I look at any headlines from overnight, check email and web stats, then start coffee. Coffee takes 20 minutes, but since we do french press it’s not something you can just leave and come back when it’s done. You have to watch the water to make sure it doesn’t boil; 140 degrees is perfect. The beans have to be ground. The press has to be emptied and cleaned. Cups have to be prepared. Twenty minutes later, I can sit down and start working.
Kat will have joined me by this point, which is lovely. She’s not a morning person, but the Marine Corp conditioned her well. She sits with her coffee, looking through Facebook and other correspondence. She shares when she thinks it appropriate, but is careful to not disturb when I’m writing, or especially when I’m not writing because the words just aren’t coming.
We won’t have been up long before one of the children will poke a head out. “Mommy, can I get dressed?” I’m waiting. One of these days I’m sure Kat is going to slip and say, “No! No clothes for you! We’re sending you to school naked.” I’m going to laugh when that happens because the children are still young enough to believe the majority of what Mom tells them. That interaction is my cue to hurry and get to a stopping place because once there are children in the room there’s no peace and quiet until they’re on the bus.
With all that commotion and routine, I rarely get my shower until after Kat leaves. I still enjoy the shower no matter when I get it, but the day doesn’t feel as clean as it does when the shower comes first. Sure, that’s totally a mental wall, but there’s no getting past it. If I want the day to really start clean, I have to put a shower at the very front.
Starting the day clean with a physical shower is one thing, but we have a need to start clean in other ways as well. With all the information overload we get, our minds and our thought patterns too quickly become cluttered with details and news and trivia we just don’t need. Sure, all those cat memes are cute, but they can get in our way. The more clutter, the more time we waste, the less productive we are, and ultimately, the less fulfilled and satisfied we feel.
How one choses to clean their mind of leftover clutter is a highly personal thing. Yoga and meditation is a preference for several friends. Friends more aligned with traditional religions spend time praying. I even know some people who rely on morning sex to get their mind clean and ready for the day.
For me, it’s music. Exactly what changes from day to day. Mozart happens frequently, but then so does my blues playlist. If everything has me a bit down, then old-school gospel does the trick. If I’m pissed at the world, classic rock at full volume is just the cleansing tonic I need. There’s been a lot of classic rock lately.
Everyone’s pattern, routine, and methodology is going to be unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for getting your day scrubbed and clean. I know plenty of people for whom clean is a literal thing and everything around them must be spotless. I’m not one of those people. I like my clutter organized, mind you, and I get anxious if the stacks start getting too tall. Still others can step over mounds of trash in the floor and not be bothered. I don’t understand either extreme, but I don’t need to understand anything beyond what works for me.
What’s important is recognizing that starting our day clean isn’t just a soap and water thing. Our minds and our spirits must be just as refreshed and rejuvinated as our bodies. If we overlook this simple matter, we eventually become overshelmed, depressed, and disturbed. We become ineffective, destructive, and unproductive. I firmly believe that much of our attitude toward other people come from the amount of garbage we hold from day to day. The nonsense and the clutter alters our perspective of people and situations, leading us down paths of thought we might not touch if we were thinking with clearer heads.
So, take some time, my dear friends, and clean up. Maybe take a shower. Go for a run. Have a quiet cup of coffee. Whatever works for you, do it now. Don’t let the day continue with yesterday’s grime. You deserve better. Start the day clean and enjoy it.