I Suck at Relaxing

Saturday, I had an epiphany: I suck at relaxing.

After shopping for groceries, mowing the lawn, and spending over an hour plucking weeds from the ground in 90-degree heat I wandered into the backyard, sweaty and sore, and found Tara kicking back on a zero-gravity lounger in the shade of our ash tree, Kindle in hand, listening to music. And in that moment, I realized, I don’t know how to weekend.

I wasn’t upset that I was doing the lion’s share—okay, all—of the work. My wife’s declaration, “It’s too hot,” wasn’t at all incorrect. She’s the sensible one, I guess.

I’ve always been this way. Can’t sit still to save my life. If something’s gotta be done, I’m a-gonna do it, even if it can wait until later. Because later, something else is going to need doing.

It’s a sickness, I know.

Even when it’s not physical labor, I’m always doing something when I could be doing nothing. Like, you know, blogging from the hotel every evening on our road trip whilst Tara was immersed in a relaxing bubble bath. Again: she’s the sensible one.

I blame it on my dad. He’s even worse than I am, if you can believe that. This is the guy who will go for a three-hour walk every morning, and then later in the afternoon, decide that he wants to go for another walk. I look like an absolute sloth in comparison.

Speaking of dad (and mom), it’s been a pretty nice visit. Helps that they have a rental car and have been entertaining themselves during the week when we’re at work. Evenings have been spent on the patio (despite the heat), sipping wine and playing corn hole while grilling meat.

Saturday, I went out to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum with them while Tara chose to stay home and take a nap (she so does not suck at relaxing!). We wandered around and looked at the various aircraft just outside Ellsworth AFB, where we lived circa 1983-86.

Today, we took them out to brunch at Belle Joli Winery. And by “took them out,” I mean, drove them up there and ate with them. My mom is one of those moms who insists on paying for everything. If you whip out a credit card, she’ll go all Ninja on your ass and chop your arm off at the elbow, then gleefully slip the cashier her credit card while you’re distracted retrieving your arm off the floor. I may be exaggerating, but only slightly. It’s a battle I’ve never been able to win.

After a fabulous meal, Tara and I ran to Menard’s to pick up a bunch of stuff for the yard and garden. Then, we came home and I transformed an overgrown weedy patch of dirt beneath our backyard lilac into something a little more presentable. Looks mulch better, wouldn’t you say?

Came inside an hour later, hot and sweaty, for a glass of water and found Tara lounging on the couch, immersed in a book.

Because, of course.

Anyhoo. Tara is making fish tacos for dinner. Delicious way to wrap up the weekend, if you ask me. My folks are here one more day, then leaving early Tuesday morning. Like, before sunup early.

Hope your weekend was more relaxing than mine!

31 thoughts on “I Suck at Relaxing

  1. It’s not a sickness, dude. It’s a superpower. Have you taken the CliftonStrengths Assessment at any of your jobs? It’s a test the Gallup people developed to figure out where people’s talents lie so companies can put them in a position where they’ll be happiest and do their best work.

    There are 34 Strengths, and all of us have some of them. What you’re describing sounds like high Achiever. It’s only a problem if you “live in the basement instead of the balcony.” In this case, that would be letting your need to be constantly busy get in the way of your relationships, or letting it drive you into illness.

    If you were to fight your instincts and suppress this trait, you’d wind up miserable. Embrace it, but do so in a healthy, responsible way. Realize that it creates advantages for you.

    I learned about this stuff from Becca Syme, a writing coach/influencer who’s created a niche for herself helping writers develop their own unique processes. She uses several personality tests, applying them directly to writers. For example, one trait of extroverts is that they tend to be verbal processors who need to talk out their plotting problems. Becca’s big on the positive psychology, and she’s created one of the only truly empowering communities for writers that I’ve found.

    If you’re interested in learning more about the CliftonStrengths, here’s a link: https://www.gallup.com/cliftonstrengths/en/home.aspx

    Here’s where you can take the test: https://store.gallup.com/c/en-us/assessments

    And here’s Becca’s website: (BTW, if you plan on taking both the test and Becca’s class, she can give you a discount on the test.) https://betterfasteracademy.com/#

    I discovered Becca through this book, which I think you’d find fun and empowering: https://smile.amazon.com/Dear-Writer-You-Need-Quit-ebook/dp/B07N36MHWD/

    BTW, nice mulching job. That looks awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am NOT about the yard work, but I can suck at relaxing when it involves indoor stuff. The wood chips around the lilac look really good, better than the traditional mulch. The outdoor aircraft is really cool, though I suspect would be a bit scary for me. Something about the size and being so close up. Glad you are having a nice visit with the parents!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. At least you recognize that your addiction to staying busy is your issue and don’t get mad at your partner.

    I got a message from one sister recently about how she was just sitting, staring at bees on the front porch, unable to do anything, and felt bad about it. By the time I texted her to say it was okay to do nothing for a while (she’s working mom with 2 kids), she had done some weeding and dealt with an issue her daughter was having and now “felt better.”

    Competence: the socially acceptable drug.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I used to have the same problem as you, but I’m slowing down now. Maybe it’s age? Maybe I’m starting to feel a bit lazy here and there? Maybe I’m just getting smarter? Who knows, but I’m better at relaxing now and working when I REALLY have to. I agree with Tara: It’s too hot. 😉

    I’m glad you had such a nice visit with your parents. My FIL is also a ninja with the restaurant checks.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And now we have two more ways you’re like the husband: neither of you knows how to relax, and you both like those dreadful air/space museums. Speaking of which, the husband is near Lincoln, NE, right now and will be visiting the Strategic Air Command Museum between Lincoln and Omaha in less than 12 hours. Too bad I’m stuck here in Minnesota… relaxing.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Laughing out loud at “she’ll go all Ninja on your ass and chop your arm off at the elbow, then gleefully slip the cashier her credit card while you’re distracted retrieving your arm off the floor.” A great description and one that reminds me of my late mother. She was the same way. What’s it with these loving mothers and their credit cards?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a treat to have your Mom and Dad visiting you, Mark. Rental car and entertaining themselves equals wonderful, thoughtful parents. And, a great Mom who goes Ninja.❤️ Thank you for reminding me about brunch and wineries. Things are opening up around here this week and I had forgotten (almost) about many of the wineries serve lunch. Again, I get it on how relationships make things work with chores and timing. Good save on your next post. 😅

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, if/when you retire I bet you’ll get better at that relaxing thing. It kind of goes along with appreciation of all the free time that is suddenly available. It is also a learned skill so don’t be too hard on yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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