It is late evening in July, and I am struggling to relax.
I feel like I should be working. But I am too tired to do work well. I am sleepy. But I’m not ready to go to bed.
It is moments like these where I forget what relaxing looks like, feels like, or, for that matter, even means.
But I’m curious now. So, I go to the dictionary. The definition is pretty straightforward, something like to become less rigid or tense. But the etymology really gets me.
Relax likely comes from this lovely old French word relaschier, which means to set free, reduce, soften.
In other words, to relax means to set ourselves free of that which burdens or hardens us.
And that seems like such a radical thing to do for ourselves.
It happens in 99 different ways, doesn’t it? The woman with her feet up on the porch rail and her head in a big hardback book. The friends playing cards after dinner. The guy walking down the street at a pace so slow, so easy, he could only be walking for himself.
And I have to believe that each of these people is softer, lighter, freer than before.
Now, on this late evening in July, I have put my work away. I am listening to an old radio show. And I am turned a little more towards that radical act of relaxing.