What does it mean to relax? Is it a state of mind or body or both? How do you relax? Have you ever forgotten how to relax? Somehow, I did. I have to wonder how I got to a place in my life where it is difficult to relax. What’s getting in the way? There is a lot to think about in that question. I am going to need to take some time to think about how I got here. Maybe when I was younger I didn’t mind “wasting” an hour or a few by doing something that I like. At some point that became a luxury. No more listening to music as a primary activity for its own sake. Sure I listen to music, but now I only listen while doing something else like driving or cooking. I used to just listen. While I work to figure out how I lost the balance, I want to focus on how to start relaxing again.
My first step has been to remember the things that have helped me relax in the past and intentionally bring them back into my life to see if they still have the same impact. One place that has always relaxed me is the beach. I have made several trips to the Jersey Shore this summer. Even though it always feels like home, it doesn’t automatically stimulate relaxation. I really have to work at it even there. One of the things I love about Ocean City is that it is a place to reconnect with friends and family. That aspect of my visits has been great, but I am most relaxed when I am not preoccupied with other people. I love reading until I doze off. I love listening to the rhythm of waves meeting the shore. I love looking out at the horizon, which I can rarely see where I live. I love the smell of salt air, the heat of the sun, and the relief of a gentle breeze. I love simply being there and breathing deep of the moment.
This weekend I am going to be back there, and I’m curious to see if I will be able to let each moment be entirely its own with no thought to whether the sum of the parts will add up to a worthy endeavor. Whatever it is, it will be enough.