- a way to rest and enjoy yourself
- time that you spend resting and enjoying yourself
- something that you do to stop feeling nervous, worried, etc.
Relaxation is such an important and seemingly easy thing to achieve. And, yet for me it does not come easy. In fact, this thing that is about resting and enjoying yourself totally stresses me out. I use to be able to relax and rest, but somewhere between motherhood and my PhD, I seem to have lost that ability altogether. Perhaps that was because I co-joined motherhood and the PhD.
When I finished treatment for cancer at age 15, I decided that before I was 30 I would have a baby (because I was at high risk for early onset menopause), earn a PhD and land a fabulous job. And, I did. [Side note: The husband was a nice to have, but that’s worked out exceedingly well as well.]
Ten years ago, I started at the LIVESTRONG Foundation, as a full time Fellow, pregnant, and ABD (all but dissertation) for my PhD. I was so excited to do all of it! I was thrilled to be fulfilling the obligation of the cured, loving being pregnant and enjoying every minute of my writing. Looking back on it now though, it seems completely crazy. You shouldn’t do two of those things at the same time, never mind all three. I think it was somewhere in there that I lost the ability to relax. This has been abundantly clear to me over the last 21 days as I’ve tried to infuse the practice of regular meditation.
This year, as I celebrate being 21 years cured of cancer, my daughter and I are taking 21 steps to reduce our risk for cancer. We’re doing everything we can to reduce our risk because there’s nothing more important than being together for years to come. Over the last 21 days, we’ve been practicing meditation. Well, she’s been practicing meditation, I’ve been wondering when I lost the ability to relax!
I see in her reflection how important it is to take the time to center and focus. It helps my daughter to be more patient and kind, and I’ve no doubt that it would do the same for me. And yet when I close my eyes and breathe deeply all I see is the running list of things to do, which rudely awakens me from any semblance of relaxation. The one and only time I did well on this challenge was an impromptu trip we decided to take to the South Texas beach. The wide expanse of water does indeed wash everything away for me. I realized that if I can do it there, then maybe I can bring it back to my day to day. But for now, I can say I didn’t successfully achieve our goal for 21 days this time, so I’ll have to put meditation back on the list.
Nonetheless, we’re moving on! For the next 21 days, Hannah and I are going to take on a new challenge – we’re going to walk 10,000 steps every day. I thought walking 10,000 steps was well supported by the literature, but indeed it’s more controversial than I thought. So, we’ll be back in 21 days on if walking 10,000 steps is a good idea as well as how we faired in keeping up with this challenge!
Consider donating $21 in support of my 21 years on our fundraising page. Your donation keeps us motivated and will help us to achieve our goal of fully funding an endowment for the LIVESTRONG Foundation.