Dana Mentink


I have a problem. I cannot seem to stop rushing. I think maybe it stems from the fact that I fear being idle. Why is this? I really wish I knew! My father tells me that my grandpa used to play chess with his son, a board game with another child, and cards with his wife all at the same time, so perhaps it’s in the genes. Or maybe it’s a function of habit. For the past ten years I’ve been teaching part time and frantically writing in every spare moment, plus raising kids and being a wife and all that. Perhaps I got into the habit of being so busy that I feel guilty when I’m not. I know, I know. It’s not a good, healthy balance.

This year I retired from teaching to write full time. Theoretically, there should be lots more minutes enjoy all that relaxing stuff. But you know what? I feel busier than ever. I think time is like a closet. If you have a whole bunch of it, the tendency is to fill it up. So instead of writing one book at a time, I’m now working on two and designing marketing plans and sketching proposals, etc. etc. I know, I know. It’s not a good healthy balance. (See above.)

Okay. I am eager and willing to change. How do I do it? I try to tell myself at a certain point in the day to STOP WORKING. This is where the problem comes in. What do I do then? The answer is obvious. A writer should be reading. I just can’t focus on stories that aren’t mine until the end of the day. Before bed is my reading time and I adore it, but one can’t save all their relaxing for the day’s end, right? So what to do during the daytime, that’s my trouble! I looked up some ideas on how to spend relaxation time. Here are a few I found.

Jigsaw puzzles- Okay. I’m willing, but none of those horrible pictures of snowy landscapes or a zillion bottlecaps or anything like that. And let’s keep it to a reasonable number of pieces, okay?

Coloring books for adults — That’s just not gonna happen. I know it’s a great idea for other artistic people, but I just don’t have it in me to stick with coloring anything for any considerable length of time.

Watch TV? The hubs and I have been watching “Log Cabin Living. I admire via the screen how other people actually buy entire cabins for the purpose of relaxation. At least viewing it is fun, and I am relaxing while I’m doing it. Right?

Thus far I still have not found that happy balance between work and relaxing. I shall continue to search! So what about you, people? What do YOU do to relax?