Relax, there’s No Rush

Posted: June 3, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

By Tricia Lunt, English Faculty

Punctuality and productivity are crucial skills for a purposeful life, and I am a champion of reliability and consistency. My friend Hanna once remarked that if I say I’ll be somewhere at 11:00am, then that’s exactly where you’ll find me. I consider this a ringing endorsement of my character.

Nevertheless, a drawback to precision can emerge when I forget to relax and savor life’s little moments.

Recently frustrated by noncompliance with my desire to “press on” to the next destination because there was “no need to linger,” I was reminded by my wonderful friend Kris that waiting a few minutes would do no harm.

At Sunday brunch, I was urged by wait staff to “take my time,” since there was “no rush.” These messages are both slightly comical and abundantly necessary for a regimented individual like me.

Over the long holiday weekend, I was reminded to “relax,” which, ironically, always has the opposite effect. Relaxation simply must come from within; however, it can be summoned by a pleasant reminder.

no hurry

Thus inspired, I decided to slow down. Given the early arrival of balmy temperatures, the time is ripe to downshift into the slower pace of lazy, hazy summer days. Following Walt Whitman’s lead, I shall take time to marvel at a blade of grass while I “lean and loaf and invite my ease.”

I recall the absolute delight of meandering through the woods during my childhood. I had hours and hours to fill, no destination, no boundaries. Ian Frazier’s sweet essay “A Lovely Sort of Lower Purpose” discusses these same unintentional rambles; coincidentally he also grew up tramping through the woods of Northeastern Ohio. Certainly, a walk in the woods is a worthy way to invite leisure. In fact, I recently learned that the Japanese advocate healing through “forest bathing,” called Shinrin Yoku.

relax2

A bottle opener also makes an excellent book mark.

These days, the way I achieve relaxation of the meaningless sort involves taking a blanket, and few beers, and a good book to the park to sit under a tree: reading, thinking, drinking, and soaking up the subtle beauties of Chicago’s neighborhood parks. Two weeks earlier, I’d done just that, and snapped a photo of my version of aimless contentment. Indeed, on any sunny day, Palmer Square Park positively overflows with layabouts.

With this renewed intent to behave less intentionally, I go forth into the summer months determined to do less and enjoy more.

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