Working Hard at Relaxing

I’m not dead.

At least when I wrote that; I wasn’t. Being the intelligent reader of this column, you put two and two together and surmised that in a flash. Hopefully, as you read this, I am still in the not-dead state of being — and shall remain so for decades yet to come.

Having proven therefore that I understand very little about what it’s like to die, you will cut me slack about not really knowing — but safely assuming — that no one’s last words were ever, “I wish I would have spent more time working and less time enjoying life.”

We would agree, wouldn’t we?

So, then what’s the deal with non-stop, dawn-to-dusk, 24/7, busy-making? We don’t ever just “chill.” Well, at least I don’t; maybe you do, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that you’re in the same place. There’s so much to get done with so few hours to do it.

Forty-hour workweek; what’s that?

Wake up. Shower. Shave. Throw some frozen waffles down your gullet while checking the mail and packing lunches. Get the kids to school, pick them up, and beat feet to soccer practice and gymnastics. Straightaway back, homework, meals, brush teeth, and off to bed. To accomplish everything requires groundwork: grocery and clothes shopping, housecleaning, home maintenance, and car servicing. These necessitate steady income — and, oh yes — have you heard the news about the economy? You better not slack off at work or they’ll swap you out quicker than a DVD rental on a Saturday night. So, off to the salt mines, bringing our assignments home so we can get them on our kitchen tables in the morning and the bed stands at night. We’re work harder while having the privilege of paying more for everything. Come end of day, it’s drop like a lead brick off a six-foot wall.

It’s no wonder we don’t have time for “a life.” Or do we?

My sister phones, “What are you up to?” She asks.

I reply, “I’m working hard at relaxing.”

Stop the clock. Re-read that response please: “I’m working hard at relaxing.” Huh? That statement makes as much sense as “same difference,” or “kosher ham;” but I swear it was my reply and I’m betting you relate. Our lives are so cluttered, that if tasks were boxes, we’d be featured on the TV series “Hoarders.” No longer are we human beings, we have become “human doings.”

Last Saturday, you know what I did?

I could have worked on my computer, or mowed the lawn. Goodness know, there were bills aplenty requiring my attention. Nope, didn’t do any of those. Instead, I made a conscious decision to do nothing.

It didn’t start that way. My dog, Jack, and I went for a walk. Upon returning, he scampered into the backyard, rolled about on his back, feet to the sky; and then did what animals do so well: Absolutely nothing. Zero. He simply “was.”

I couldn’t remember the last time I did that, so — not having a better plan — I joined him! I didn’t put my feet in the air, but I honest-to-God did lie down in the grass and watched cloud animals pass over my head. I felt the sun on my skin. I let my mind go where it went. For a short time, Jack and I simply appreciated that we exist.

Even machines have an off switch. Surely we deserve as much as do they. The world’s going to keep on turning, even if you’re not the one who’s pushing. Take a moment and recharge. You’ll get more done later.

 

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