Ever-Elusive Relaxation

A couple of years ago, a co-worker called me and asked me a very simple question about signage for an event. I think it was something silly, like “how far from the edge of the sign do you want the lettering?” And you know what? I had an answer. Because I had already thought about precisely how far from the edge I wanted the lettering. Her reply? “I figured you’d know just how you wanted it, that’s why I asked.”

The truth of the matter is that sometimes I worry about things that don’t matter at all. I stress over them. In my endless quest for perfection I have a hard time just letting things go. I’ll labor endlessly over finding just the right word or just the right font or just the right photo. I can’t just let it go.

Some days, I think this quality helps me. Other days, I realize how much it hurts.

I read a fantastic book recently, Eat, Pray, Love–and let’s just say that there were parts that were painful for me. When the author has to come to grips with her own control issues, I had to spend some time facing mine. One of the people she met on her journey made her realize that the world wouldn’t fall apart if she checked out and relaxed for a couple of days. That really got me to thinking.

Relaxing isn’t something I do very well. I get too caught up in work and deadlines and goals–and I forget to relax. Seriously. I have a LOT going on right now. So I wrote out a schedule the other day–to try and make sure I keep on track. Pretty much every waking hour is scheduled right now. And I honestly laughed at myself because on most days, my list says something like “5:15-5:45–relax”. I’m pretty sure there is something WAY WRONG when I have to have “relaxing” on my list!

And in thinking about this, you know who I’ve decided I really envy? Someone I like to call “Girl in Catalog.” I just got a catalog in the mail today from one of my favorite designers, and here is what I saw:

Girl sailing
Girl reading peacefully on the beach
Girl looking into the distance, not a care in the world
Girl smelling the flowers
Girl walking through a farmers market, carrying a straw bag

Girl throwing her head back in laughter

For Girl in Catalog, there is no worry. No deadlines. No bills to pay. No over-analyzing of male behavior. No thinking about exercising. No house to clean. No lawn to mow. Just relaxation. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t have to pencil it in on her “to do” list!

And I realize that they aren’t real. They’re getting paid (probably large sums) to look happy, and carefree. But you know what? Every now and then, I think we could all stand to have a day where we pretend to be Girl in Catalog. I know I could. Maybe I’ll even find the time…in a few weeks. πŸ™‚

The song of the day–Sheryl Crow’s I Wanna Soak Up the Sun. Because when I finally find time to schedule my day to be Girl in Catalog, I hope it’s a sunny one.

4 thoughts on “Ever-Elusive Relaxation

  1. Hi Annalisa,

    So glad to run across someone else who wonders about those catalog girls, obsesses about maximizing every minute, and has a hard time lightening up.

    Love this song by Sheryl. Though it's really about quitting the habit of trying to measure up, it's also a reminder to those of always-taskers to figure out how to relax without feeling guilty about it!

    The sun is threatening to peek out here – maybe I'll go take a popsicle break with my ten year old!

    Enjoying your blog, Annalisa!

    Rock on!

    Sandra Bishop


  2. I've been enjoying your blog and thought I would say 'hello'. I loved & laughed my way through this post!

    I'm looking forward to your books but am curious why one has a 'real' looking person and the other one is not.

    I've been blogging for almost a year and have just begun to venture out…



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