Where Have All the Grown-Ups Gone?

You can never tell where you’ll find the things that will save you.

The other day, an article from Employee Benefits News found its way into one of my feeds. The article — “Morning routines are the secret sauce to getting the most out of your remote days” — contained this bit of brilliant, if grammatically incorrect, advice:

The foundation of morning routines are [sic] starting off your day with small wins that create a sense of accomplishment that carries over into the rest of the day. Even making your bed can be a small win … prompting yourself with an action will help you stick to a morning routine more easily. For example, putting your clothes out the night before could help you exercise more consistently.

Probably because I’m so dense, I still have a little trouble figuring out how putting my clothes out the night before will help me exercise more consistently. Put them out where? I prefer to keep my clothing in the house, and the last person I knew who had a clothesline was my mother. That was a while ago.

I also couldn’t figure out what kind of exercise putting my clothes out would help me do. If I put them out far enough, I suppose I could get in a brisk jog to wherever I put them. Or maybe I’m supposed to put them in something really heavy. In that case, moving whatever it is I’m supposed to put them out in would constitute exercise. I don’t know.


Rather than trying to decide where and how far to put my clothes out, I decided to extend my morning routine. Before reading the article, I’d believed getting conscious, getting vertical, getting clean, and getting caffeinated was enough. How naïve.

The only thing I could tell was meaningfully lacking from my morning routine was a hearty breakfast. So, I now bound out of bed and get cleaned up. Then, as the mercifully grown, Fair Trade coffee’s brewing, I go about preparing:

  • Pasture-raised eggs (scrambled or fried) from chickens the diets of which consist only of corn-fed cows.
  • Whole wheat toast from which I diligently pick all the glutens the night before instead of putting my clothes out.
  • Creamery fresh, unsalted, non-dairy butter made from the milk of non-dairy cows, the diets of which consist only of pasture-raised chickens.
  • An all-natural, USDA Organic, sugar-and-high-fructose-corn-syrup-free jam, jelly, or preserve that I made and sealed in mason jars the last time I was unemployed.

Thereafter, I clean up the kitchen, scrub the pan, wash my plate and all the utensils, put everything away, and pour my second cup of coffee having successfully created a sense of accomplishment that carries over into the rest of the day. Yes. Saved.

A Footnote

Does anyone know or can anyone recall the point at which we had to be told to establish a morning routine, let alone to feel the need to publish articles about it? Didn’t most of us have parents? How old are the people who read Employee Benefits News?

When I read the article — “The Kindergarchy” — more than 14 years ago, I thought, “Well, that’s a tad extreme.” An excerpt:

No other generations of kids have been so curried and cultivated, so pampered and primed, though primed for what exactly is a bit unclear. Children are given a voice in lots of decisions formerly not up for their consideration. “If it’s your child, not you, who gets to choose your weekend brunch spot,” writes David Hochman in the magazine Details, “or if he’s the one asking how the branzino is prepared, it’s probably time to take a hard look at your own behavior.”

Presuming now it was neither extreme nor wrong, it goes a long way toward explaining “Morning routines are the secret sauce to getting the most out of your remote days.”

Maybe all of this seems needless, obvious, and ominous to me because my dad was a U.S. Marine. (If you didn’t have a morning routine, you’d think of one in mid-air as you were flying from the mattress that had just been pulled from beneath you.) Maybe it’s because I see it as matter of common sense and logic. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Again, I don’t know.

But I do know this: We’ve come a long way, Baby. And it feels like the wrong way.


Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien
I’m a business owner. My company — O’Brien Communications Group (OCG) — is a B2B brand-management and marketing-communication firm that helps companies position their brands effectively and persuasively in industries as diverse as: Insurance, Financial Services, Senior Living, Manufacturing, Construction, and Nonprofit. We do our work so well that seven of the companies (brands) we’ve represented have been acquired by other companies. OCG is different because our business model is different. We don’t bill by the hour or the project. We don’t bill by time or materials. We don’t mark anything up. We don’t take media commissions. We pass through every expense incurred on behalf of our clients at net. We scope the work, price the work, put beginning and end dates on our engagements, and charge flat, consistent fees every month for the terms of the engagements. I’m also a writer by calling and an Irish storyteller by nature. In addition to writing posts for my company’s blog, I’m a frequent publisher on LinkedIn and Medium. And I’ve published three books for children, numerous short stories, and other works, all of which are available on Amazon under my full name, Mark Nelson O’Brien.

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