Posts Tagged ‘relax’

‎For once it’s not me. It’s not me who got the time wrong, left the house too late, stopped for tea when I shouldn’t have. We were on time, dare I say even a few minutes early, only to arrive and found out they’re behind schedule.

The games are late.

We now have 45 minutes to kill. My daughter goes off with her friends, I call hubby to tell him not to rush getting here, and now I find myself in a very unfamiliar situation. I have time on my hands and not the slightest idea what to do with it.

If I were at home I would fill the space with laundry or lunches or other chores I should be doing. If no one was around and I didn’t have to ‎pretend to be productive, I would lay down on the couch and watch a silly reality show I would never admit to loving. (My latest trashy addiction is Hockey Wives. So, so, so bad).

But I’m not at home so I can’t do any of those things. Instead I sit on a hard plastic seat, surrounded by people I either don’t know at all, or know only by face and which child they belong to.

I’m not used to having time. Not because I can’t find free time or make free time but rather because free time kind of scares me. I don’t know what to do with it, it makes me feel restless and fidgety and anxious.

I’m good at being busy and rushing and thinking about what comes next. Even when I’m not busy, I’m good at thinking about being busy.

I know what busy looks like.

Free time, on the other hand, makes me feel fidgety and anxious and uncertain. I don’t know how free time is supposed to look.

Well, that’s not exactly true. When I think of free time I know how it looks in my head. It looks like a cottage on a lake (and by cottage I mean basically a house with electricity and ‎running water and decorated by Sarah to within an inch of its life. Even if I do free time, I don’t do rustic). A cottage on a lake with wind rustling the trees, ducks lazily circling in the water, sun on my cheeks and a novel in my lap. That’s what free time looks like to me.

I think I can do that, but when I look up and that’s not what I see, I’m back at square one.

Only now I see that I only have five minutes to kill. It’s almost done! I’ve almost survived.

I’m almost back in my comfort zone – back on schedule.

(Sigh of relief)

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I went away for a week. One week of relaxing by the pool and playing by the beach.

It’s funny how away can describe a place, and also, at least for me, a state of mind. I was away for a week, physically and also mentally.

I left my phone at home and had no access to email or the Internet. I could have had access if I wanted to but I had absolutely no desire to know what was going on while I was away.

I sat by the pool, read an amazing book and only thought the thoughts that happened to drift through my head. I didn’t take them out and examine them from every angle, as I normally would. I just thought them and left it at that. Some particularly important or meaningful thoughts I tucked in my pocket, to think again when I was no longer away.

There were no grocery stores, no errands, no laundry, no cooking. There were no to-do lists or to-buy lists and no calendars on the wall, filled up with activities. Instead there was the pool, the beach and everything we needed for the day in my little bag. As long as there was sunscreen, a book, a hat, a deck of Uno cards and goggles, we were happy and content and had all we needed.

When we got hungry, we ate, when we got thirsty, we drank, and when we got hot we dipped ourselves in the cool blue water and sighed the deep, contented sighs of being away.

My hair puffed up to twice its regular size and my nose went from white to pink to peeling in three days flat but I didn’t care. There was no one to impress when I was away.

There were moments of simple beauty and the time to appreciate them. Little wet footprints on the bathroom floor, the feeling of toes digging in the soft, golden sand, cold, wiggly bodies wrapped up in huge, fluffy towels, whispers in the dark, birds singing in the morning, and watermelon juice dripping off our chins.

And now I’m back; now I am here instead of away.  And while I have tried and tried, I can’t seem to regain that away mentality when I’m here.  When I’m here there are too many things to do and not enough time to do them.  There is stuff upon stuff upon stuff and things upon things upon things.  I have to cook here and do laundry here and clean here.  And here all those thoughts that I decided not to think when I was away are all creeping up on me, only now I don’ t have any more room in my pockets to hide them away for later.

For one blissful week I was away, but now I’m here.

I wish I could figure out a way to be here and away, all at the same time.

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The purple ones

What’s wrong with this picture?

I’m trying to do better, really I am.

I’m trying to see the forest for the trees, and smell the roses, and breath deeply, and express gratitude, and on and on and on.

I’m trying, really.

And I think I’m doing better, I think I’m getting the hang of it.  Until the day I come up my front path and notice that my tulips have blossomed.  For one single moment I feel all of those emotions that I’m trying to feel.  I feel peace and happiness and contentment and gratitude.

And then I realize that the stupid purple ones are growing in the wrong place.





I know I should just relax and let it go.  I’m sure no one else notices.  I’m sure everyone else just walks by and thinks how pretty the tulips are.  I’m sure they’re happier and more content and more relaxed than me because I just can’t let it go.

For a couple of minutes I actually consider digging them up and moving them around so the colours are more evenly distributed.

Welcome to life in my head.

I didn’t dig them up though.  I just left them.  I realize I should look at this as an opportunity for growth.  I should use this as a lesson in how life is not meant to be perfect and how I need to learn to accept the bad along with the good.  I understand that I should turn this into one of Oprah’s “ah ha” moments and write a book about it.

But I can’t.

Instead, every time I walk up the path I see the stupid purple tulips that are all lumped together.


If you listen very closely, you can hear a faint chuckle dancing on the breeze.

It’s the universe.

And it’s laughing at me.

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It’s been one of those days when I feel like I haven’t had a moment to take a breath. My mind racing with things that need to be done and my body frantically trying to keep pace.

Now finally I sit.

A few days off work to make the long weekend even longer. There are things to be done, plans already made, an anniversary to celebrate and family to see, but there will also be time to do nothing. Space in between the pre-set plans for spontaneity, maybe even laziness. A glass of wine on the deck, a meandering chat with a friend, a lazy stroll, holding hands, a few pages of a book, and maybe even a nap. Bliss.

I feel myself decompress, let go of my day, empty my mind, fill my lungs.

It’s the weekend.



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My kids finished school today. My hubby (a teacher) finishes school tomorrow. Needless to say, there is a teeny little bit of excitement at my house.

I, of course, still have to get up and go to work through the summer, which fills me with equal parts bitterness and relief. I stayed home with the kids for two years, let’s just say I’m familiar with the reality of it!

And although it may not be my ‘last day’, I always do feel a sense of excitement as we stand here on the edge of summer. I look forward to a loosening of the schedule that grips us so tightly during the school year; a break from evenings spent doing homework at the dining room table; no packing lunches and backpacks; no endless searching for the missing library book or permission slip. Time to sit, time to stop planning and start doing, time to get bored.

There’s just something about summer.

Sitting on the back step eating cherries and seeing who can spit the pits the farthest. Nightly trips to the park because it stays light so late and there’s no firm bedtime looming. A glass of wine on the deck, gently rubbing the condensation off the side of the glass with my thumb and breathing, really breathing, in a way that seems impossible in the middle of winter.

Spontaneous barbecues with friends. Fresh corn on the cob for dinner and just-picked berries for dessert. Undressing the kids before bed and finding pockets filled with sand and rocks, souvenirs of a day well-played.

Eating peaches and watermelon with the juices running down my chin. Sun-kissed cheeks, wind-swept hair and scraped knees – the natural beauty that comes only in summer.

There’s no predicting what this summer will bring but I’m excited to find out. Like a kid standing at the edge of a dock getting ready to jump, I’m going to close my eyes and take the plunge.

Here’s to all the wonderful summer days to come.

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