Why is it so hard for me?
Admittedly, I’m a workaholic, but it’s impossible to be at one’s peak without some relaxation.
I hear the term, and wonder if I’m supposed to fly back to Los Angeles International Airport. No, that would be re-LAX, not RELAX.
I work three jobs. I’m a full-time at-home dad. That takes most of my energy. I’ve been doing the gig for nearly six years. Never had a night away from the kids. It’s a 24/7 job, and it really is the best. I’m also an author. I’ve written 20 books in those six years, seven of which are now on submission through my agent. But that’s not enough. I also write freelance articles and do content writing work.
My idea of relaxing is doing more work.
Then there’s my wife. She works three jobs, too. Full-time fundraiser, online business store owner/manager, and — of course — world’s best mom.
Damn, just writing all this makes me realize maybe we both need to relax.
A trip is not necessarily a vacation
We have a regular babysitter. That helps. Although, I admit, we spend a fair bit of that babysitter time working our other jobs. Sigh.
Last spring, we knew it was time for a break. We packed the kids in the car and drove from Delaware through Virginia. Then down to Virginia Beach, over to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, and then across to Chincoteague Island. Perfect family trip. It was an absolute delight. Zoos, aquariums, adventures every day.
It was wonderful.
It was exhausting.
We learned, after that, that “family trip” does not mean “family vacation.” In fact, the one thing we needed most had not happened at all. Not once on our amazing adventure –from my filling Easter baskets on a beach bench by moonlight to the long drives through farmland — did we relax. We had an amazing time, but we wondered how we could get that break we so desperately craved.
We asked for help from a travel agent. It turns out there are some places with childcare. Not only childcare but fun, camp-style childcare. We ended up booking a vacation at a Club Med in Florida. Billed as one of the only all-inclusive family resorts in America, it was a place that offered a fun experience for the kids and a break for the parents.
Relax regardless of the accommodations
I won’t lie. The resort should have been called Club Meh. The place was falling apart, from the rooms to the overall facilities. And yet, we’d go back. Why?
The kids’ clubs were amazing. My children, ages 3 and 6, had the times of their lives. When we gave them the option to spend the day with us or go to the kids’ clubs, they chose the clubs. They made friends, sang and danced onstage, swam in the pools, made pizzas, interacted with “pirates” in a full-resort treasure hunt, and even tried the trapeze.
And in those moments, my wife and I sat on the riverbank, surrounded by palm trees, enjoying gourmet cuisine. In silence.
No screams or fights. No thrown food. Not even a demand for ice cream.
We toasted wine glasses and thought about nothing. Nothing at all. A blank mind, deep breaths, and quiet.
My wife once told me relaxation is a sense close to boredom. It’s the moments when you do nothing, think about nothing, and worry about nothing. Some find it in video games or working out or taking long walks. However you relax, it’s important not just for your health, but for your family as well.
We returned from this vacation feeling rejuvenated. And we pledged to relax a bit more. We still work three jobs each. We are still a pair of workaholics. Yet, we’re recognizing that the key to everything, from happy kids to successful careers, really is relaxation.
Take a moment, and think about how you relax. Do you take any time for yourself? It’s OK to take a break.
No, not OK.