I have to laugh at myself sometimes because I am not very good at just “relaxing”. I can’t tell you how many times I have said to myself, “I can’t wait till [insert any time period here] when I won’t be so busy” and then immediately remembered that somehow I always find things to do to fill my time. That’s just the way that I am. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good veg session in front of the television, especially if it involves True Detective or admittedly, The Bachelorette. But whenever I just sit there and watch television, I find that there’s this persistent feeling that I should be doing something else.
My first trip that I was supposed to be instructing for this summer was cancelled due to the amount of kids. However, I was still able to go on a scouting trip to the Medicine Bow National Forest with some fellow instructors and a couple volunteers from the organization. I realized that it was the first time in a long while where I would be backpacking for fun. Granted, there was still an objective of scouting the area for my upcoming trips this summer, but there were no kids, just a bunch of adults with a wealth of backpacking experience.
It rained, a lot, but it was beautiful. The first day went from walk in the park, to hailstorm, multiple snowfields, consistent rain, testing our navigation, and 13.25 unexpected miles later singing Proud to be an American through fields of flowers, eating pesto chicken pasta and laughing about the crazy day it had been. It was perfect. I couldn’t help but feel grateful and completely present.
There was no where I would have rather been, no feeling like I should be doing something else. It was truly “relaxing.” I realized that maybe relaxing is just practicing gratitude. It could be letting the brilliant writing of True Detective draw me in and allow my mind to focus on the sounds, sights, and feelings of the show with gratitude rather than guilt of not “doing” something. Or being grateful for the tarp over my head and multiple games of Euchre with good company.
I looked up “relaxing” on the very reliable source, dictionary.com, and one definition was, “To release or bring relief from the efforts of tension, anxiety, etc.” I’m no expert and I’m sure this is not a novel thought, but simply saying, “I am here and I am grateful” allows us to do exactly that; it replaces tension and anxiety or that feeling like you should be doing something else, with a different and positive feeling. And that, is a relaxing thought.