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Chill Out Please

I’m sort of new to fun.  Relaxing is a very difficult experience for me.  I can participate in activities that have a very clear purpose.  I can host parties where other people have fun.  But when I find myself in a situation where I am meant to relax, or to have fun for the sake of simply doing something enjoyable, my gears can get really locked up.

I am getting better at this since I married Greg.  This is a dude who knows how to relax and laugh and enjoy moments.  I think I have laughed more in the last year than the previous thirty years combined.  He is so good for me.

Road Trip

He has a family home down in Palm Desert.  It seems to be emerging as our pattern to spend time there in the fall and in the late winter.  This last time, we drove down so we could take both of our dogs.  It’s about a twenty-two hour drive.

I love having this man all to myself, so it is an epic adventure for me.  I make yummy snacks, we listen to great podcasts, the scenery is stunning.  Plus, our directive is clear:  get to the desert. 

Greg drove the entire time when we went down in October.  His foot is made of lead to put it lightly.  I did my part keeping a detailed travel journal.  The time of each stop.  How long we were stopped.  The exit and the name of the gas station.  Of course, I kept all the receipts and logged those in as well.  How many hours down to the minute we traveled each day.  I love myself a job.  I am a great travel companion if I have a little job.

The Casa

We stay in a little gated community with swimming pools every couple of blocks or so.  Greg calls the house The Casa and I love this.  We are lucky because The Casa has a swimming pool practically in its backyard.  This is perfect for laying in the sun, reading, swimming.  All day.  Except that I tend to get pretty restless if these are my only activities.

Thank goodness we’re not at a lodge, or a hotel where someone else cleans up after us.  It is imperative for me to have a little job.  I think I may have mentioned this earlier.  In The Casa I get to sweep and arrange the pillows on the couch.  I get to do the dishes and wipe down the counters.  Also, we get to do laundry.  I love laundry.

Before we left for our October trip, I issued myself a challenge:  “When you are at The Casa, be on vacation.  Rest. Don’t make lists and do tasks.  Relax and have fun.”  I had just turned fifty.  This seemed like a reasonable expectation for me.

Ten Days To Relax

And then we got there.  There were groceries to buy and put away, suitcases to unpack.  Sweeping inside and outside, and boom!  I was in a zone.  I started making schedules for myself:  Get up.  Drink coffee and eat breakfast.  Pick up poopy.  Walk the doggies.  Lay in the sun and read and swim.  Shower.  Go to lunch.  Ooof!  I am ridiculous!  I can’t even move through a vacation day without making a list!  It’s a real problem.

Fortunately, we were able to be there for an extended period of time, and I found that it took me nearly ten days to reach a point where I was actually able to relax.  TEN DAYS.  And finally, at that point, it was like a whole new realm of life opened up to me.

It was very interesting.  It wasn’t like I stopped spot-cleaning the tile in the kitchen or wiping down the bathroom counters.  But something in me finally settled.  I had been in a high alert, tight, mode of thinking and being where everything needed to be just so.  After ten days of trying to talk myself into relaxing, my body was finally able to get there.

It was amazing.  It might have been the first time in my life I wasn’t playing the caretaker, maid, handyman, life-coach, or sentinel.  It was just me, in my skin, in the sunshine, with the beautiful human that is my husband.

Learning To Transition

Since I have finally had that experience in my life, it’s getting a little easier for me to transition into a relaxed mode more regularly.  Even in my home space, where countless tasks and decisions are calling to me at any given time, all the time.  I am gaining the amazing skill that, for years, I have seen in others, but have always been duped by in my own life:  The ability to say (and mean it), “it can wait”. 

All of the tasks and decisions that seem so vital to me in every moment, can wait for my attention while I breathe and relax and pause the madness.  Even if it’s just for a few hours.  Even if it’s just for a few moments.

As I’m writing this post today, it’s Sunday.  We are doing some light chores around here but mostly it is a day to relax.  I don’t have any deadlines.  No one is relying on me for anything.  In fact, I’m sipping a gin and tonic here at my desk as I’m remembering the warm sun in the desert and sharing the story with you. 

Thanks for listening.  I hope you have an opportunity in your own life to pause and step away from the madness and demand.  Even if these are weights you’re placing on yourself.  Especially if this is the case.  To take some well-deserved time and inhabit a space that brings you delight, and peace.  Things can wait, if only for a few moments.  You are worth it.

If you need to learn to chill out, or you’re swamped by so much to do you can hardly  hear yourself think, if you are seeking moments of rest, let’s be friends~

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