Yesterday I was determined. I was going to rest, relax, loll around in my comfy clothes (read yoga pants, a soft gray t-shirt, and my favorite blue plaid flannel shirt over top). I planned to sink into the pages of my novel (The Good Husband, by Gail Godwin, an old favorite I plucked out of bin at a recent book giveaway) and drink endless cups of hot Yorkshire Gold tea.
It took some convincing to get myself into this relaxed frame of mind in the first place. It’s been go-go-go around here for the entire month of December. A busy concert schedule was made even busier with the runaway success of Life In General. But my final concert was over on Saturday night, and I was up to date with book orders. Then I awoke on Sunday morning with the trademark symptoms of a sinus-bronchial infection, and so the mandate was clear.
But it was so hard. While Jim happily lounged in front of the fireplace with British TV shows on the iPad, I stood by the door wall, staring out into the backyard. I really should walk the dogs, I thought. It’s such a nice morning. And there are those Christmas cards I’ve not even created yet, much less gotten ready to mail. I remembered that our traditional photo calendar of Magic and Molly was languishing half done in the Shutterfly website. I could just run upstairs and finish that off. While I was upstairs, I could toss a load of clothes in the washing machine. I knew our supply of clean socks was running low.
“Why aren’t you resting?” my husband asked me pointedly. “Didn’t you tell me you were going to take it easy today?"
“I am resting,” I replied.
“Standing in a cold draft by the door wall is not resting,” he informed me. “Go put your feet up, and I’ll make you some tea."
I plodded into the den, and settled on the leather recliner couch. It occurred to me that my lavender scented heating pad might be nice. I jumped up and went into the kitchen to warm it in the microwave.
“What are you doing out of that chair?” Jim asked, stirring sugar into the mug of tea he was preparing for me.
“I wanted the heating pad,” I explained.
“I think I could have gotten that for you if you had only asked,” he reminded me.
Precisely three minutes later, tea and heating pad perfectly steeped, I found myself back in the den, feet up as prescribed, book in hand, all set and ready to relax.
And I did relax. For about 30 minutes. Then I simply couldn’t take it anymore. I got up and went upstairs to my desk where I finished up the photo calendar.
“Whew, scratch that off the list at least,” I said to myself, breathing a little more easier.
I realized yesterday that rest and relaxation mean different things to different people. Sitting around for hours reading or watching movies might sound like a dream come true, but I think it makes me more anxious than if I were to get up and do something productive. I make noises about wanting to have more time to read, or meditate, or listen to music. But during the day I’d rather be doing something.
Being busy can be restful...at least for some of us.
By the end of the day, I really had spent a much larger amount of time being quiet than I usually do. I was nearly done with the novel, and had even watched about 15 minutes of The Muppets Christmas Carol (trust me, that’s a lot of daytime TV for me.) Still, when Jim offered to pick up dinner from one of the many restaurants close by so I wouldn’t have to bother with cooking - I was happy to relinquish that activity.
Some things are easier to take a rest from than others.