Ideas and Decisions

Most of my best ideas come to me at five in the morning while shaving. To a lesser degree, ideas also pop into my head while showering. What is it about personal hygiene that makes me want to think about the future? Does it have anything to do with washing away the cumulative dirt and grime from the day before in preparation for a new beginning? Let’s find out as I attempt to make sense of the whole thing for Freedom Friday.

The Blade
The Blade

When I was in that awkward age hitting puberty, I knew I had to start taking bathing more seriously. I mean, for two years I grew up on a farm in Italy, and access to running water was an issue for my family. So I understood the concept of washing my face, but beyond that, I was your typical boy running around, playing soccer in the mud, and getting all excited when my friends wanted to skip rocks down by the river. Mark Twain would have loved me.

Anyway, when I moved back to Canada with my parents, baths became a normal routine, and shaving all of a sudden needed my attention. I had just turned fourteen and my face looked like something out of Planet of the Apes. My dad had bought me my first razor. He was proud of me. I had finally reached maturity. Right, maybe physically, but mentally, even now at times, I still had the brain of a ten-year-old.

I can’t remember how long but if I’m not mistaken, shaving took me about fifteen to twenty minutes. I used to do it once, twice a week in the evening. I couldn’t do it before going to school ‘cause it took me, like, furr-ev-ah. At least, I thought. But once I was no longer a student, had a regular job, shaving turned into a daily chore. I couldn’t avoid it. My five o’clock shadow would always show up at around three in the afternoon.

Gosh, I’m reading that previous paragraph thinking, that’s an awful lot of information for a back story to what I wanted to talk about. Meh, I’ll leave it in. You tell me if you enjoyed it or not.

Okay, let’s travel to the present day. It roughly takes me five to ten minutes to shave every day now. Yes, every day, including weekends. Other than having my mind on the blade gliding on my face, my thoughts also wander. I think about things. Mull things over. Wonder and ponder on the meaning of why certain events happened the day before, the week before, that month. I don’t mean to. It just happens. Now I question if this is normal. I’m sure it is.

For instance, a millennia ago, it was while I was shaving that I’d decided to marry my wife. It was also when the idea popped into my mind about where we’d enjoy our honeymoon. Eventually, after a few years married, talk of kids came. As I would cut away the whiskers from my beard, I had convinced myself kids were a good thing to have. Believe me—I’m talking about months of shaving therapy here.

A beach in the Caribbean
A beach in the Caribbean

As life went on, thoughts of buying a house crept into the mix. Wanting to get a cat. Buying a used car. Getting a bigger house. Painting the rooms. Buying a new car. Planting a garden. Having another kid. Volunteering at the church. Driving the kids to their ball games. Planning vacations. Attending weddings. Attending baptisms. Attending funerals. Meeting new people. Having had enough of some people. Christmases. Easters. Thanksgivings.

Of course there were those mornings I’d think of other things too. Like, how long has that paint been peeling next to the mirror? Or, when did I last have an oil change? I’m sure it was last month. It has to be last month.

All in all, after the thousands of blades I must have consumed over the course of my lifetime, I have never regretted not wanting to have a beard.

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Where do your ideas come from? Have you ever made life decisions while performing menial tasks?

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22 thoughts on “Ideas and Decisions

  1. I always say I come up with my best ideas in the shower, and I do!! I’m not sure why that happens there. Maybe because it’s the one time of the day I truly have to myself. No phone ringing, no computer and email to check. I do my best thinking in there. ~Gina

  2. My best ideas come–not while shaving–but while I’m about to fall asleep. It’s like as soon as I lay down, my mind refuses to shut down and starts coming up with all these awesome things for me to do the next day or farther in the future. I often find myself scrambling for a pen and writing in the moonlight, so I don’t wake anyone up.

    So I definitely understand. Whether it’s shaving, showering, brushing your teeth, or laying down for the night, a quiet moment when you have to focus on only one thing–when the outside world isn’t affecting you–is a great time for reflection.

    Enjoyed the post! 🙂

    • Haha–note to self–not while shaving. 😉 Aren’t those the best ideas, though? When we least expect them they set us in motion to capture them on paper? I’m convinced our mind is out to get us. I’ll get that epiphany, and *BAM* I nick myself with the blade, and I’m then tending to my wound. Where did the idea go? Totally forgotten until the next session of free-flowing creativity.

      That’s why I love my morning shave, shower, and whatnot, I’m at my creative peak. Not out of choice, but out of habit. It’s great and I’ll recommend it to everyone wanting to kickstart new ideas and decisions! 😉

  3. Quite an entertaining read. I can’t say that I have ever really thought about much when I am shaving, except for all the times I curse myself when I end up ripping half the flesh from my face – that is just annoying! I often acquire thoughts for fictional pieces while in the shower – I however do not have access to pen and paper whilst in there, so by the time I have finished often the ideas are gone! Gone i tell you, gone! That is also very annoying!

  4. Wow, after reading your post and having a looksie at the previous comments, I am so glad I’m not alone! A lot of my story ideas and important thoughts relating to actual life occur while I’m driving. Hmmm, not sure anyone sharing the Interstate with me each day would be too thrilled to hear that. 😛

  5. I have pep talks with myself in the shower and bathroom (brushing my teeth, drying my hair, etc) time is quiet so I just think about a lot of stuff going on in life. So I’d say I make some pretty big decisions there. Actually, a lot of ideas come from shower time or just walking around between working time. Most of my ideas for say creative writing comes when I dream…

  6. That’s a great ritual. If that’s where you get ideas from at least everyone knows not ever to interrupt you shaving LOL. I’m a bit like that on dog walks these days.

  7. It seems a bit dangerous to do so much deep thinking with a razor gliding over your face. I usually get ideas when I’m getting ready in the morning as well–which often includes a searing hot curling iron, so I guess that’s no better. The shower is a great place for new ideas, too. Between kids and spouses and work there isn’t a whole lot of silence in our worlds, hence the brainstorms during our morning routines.

    Unfortunately, I get some of my best ideas (especially writing ones) right as I’m trying to fall asleep at night…or during a run (and then promptly forget them—I’ve forgotten more good ideas than I’ll ever have again, I’m sure).

    Fun post, Jack!

    • I can’t say I have experience with a searing hot curling iron, although my wife once turned it on and left it to smolder in the bathroom once. I have scars to prove I picked it up thinking it was off…alas, no bright ideas though in the jumble of non-intelligible words coming from my mouth at the time.

      So let me ask you, this is not a rhetorical question: Have you ever made a monumental decision in the shower? Just curious if I’m the only one who does this…

      • I’m positive I have—although none specifically come to mind. But I do a lot of thinking in the shower, so whether consciously or unconsciously, many decisions are made there.

  8. Months of shaving therapy. Love that. As a chick, I don’t have the same thoughts, perhaps, about facial hair. BUT! I do think that ideas come to folks in the shower (i.e., while engaging in caring for our personal hygiene) because these are times without a lot of extra stimuli, so we give ourselves the leisure to be creative. Whether it’s about a marriage proposal or progeny or killing bad guys. IN A BOOK. Really.

    P.S. Backstory is fun.

  9. Ideas for blog posts always come to me in the shower, too. Not sure what the link is between creativity and personal grooming habits, but it’s definitely there!

    PS: I’m glad you left in the 5 o’clock shadow paragraph – I feel close to you, now 😉 Plus, you know me, I never use 10 words when I can use 20 instead!

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