Knowing how to relax


This guys knows how to roll

Nearly every sunny weekend on Lake Washington, I see this guy. Around our house, we call him “relaxing dinghy guy”. Just a man and his boat. While other guys circle the bay, zooming past in their fast boats, pulling screaming children on inner tubes or blasting music from state-of-the-art speakers, this guy doesn’t need all that to enjoy the lake. While cigarette boats rumble past and big yachts cut intimidating wakes through the chop, this guy just smiles.

I’d wager that if you measured everyone out on the lake with a relax-o-meter, this guy would top the scale. He just looks happy. Often he’ll raise his coozy-covered can of beer and smile as he putters by, enjoying the splash of sun on his face, wiggling his feet over the boat’s sidewall.

Just the sight of relaxing dinghy guy out on the water reminds me to take it easy, to slow down. I’m too often in a hurry, trying to tick things off an ever-growing list. I’ve become a multi-tasker, doing five things at once and not necessarily mastering any one of them. This time of year I start to miss the immediacy of the ski hill for more reasons than just the snow. The mountains make me slow down.

Haven’t we all become just a little too busy?

Next time I find myself knee-deep in busy-ness, I’m going to remember relaxing dingy guy. He’s probably out there somewhere, dangling his toes into the cool lake, sipping on a Pabst Blue Ribbon and smiling that beatific smile. I’ll try to be more like him.

What about you? Is multitasking overated?

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14 responses »

  1. multi-tasking is totally overrated. I’d rather do really well in a couple of things than really mediocre at a lot.
    But I guess I can multi-task at chillaxing. cooking makes me chill, a glass of wine on the deck, a long run, hanging out with pets… 🙂
    and I totally never pegged you for a PBR kinda gal!

    • So right Teresa! Ha. That’s funny about PBR. Did you know that the guy who started PBR was an early leader in the ski industry? When I was a young patroller, it was my fav beverage–cheap and thirst-quenching. Now I usually go for a glass of wine. Only for the health benefits of course!

  2. You’ve pretty much identified my biggest struggle. I have trouble relaxing. I always have to be doing SOMETHING. Studying, working, writing, reading, working out, cleaning – SOMETHING. I want to let something drop so I can relax and not be so busy but it’s so hard to do. As a female professional I don’t feel that I can back off (or, in my vernacular, “slack”) because it’s already so hard to compete on equal footing in the professional world.

    When I feel OK about professional stuff and take a break from that, I have the duties of a homeowner to attend to. When that’s (sort of) done, I have an avalanche dog to train (which, honestly, comes before the homeowner stuff, ha!). Then I have fitness to work on. It’s just never ending. This is a very unappealing cycle but now that I have so many responsibilities, I don’t know how to break it, at least when I’m at home. On vacation I can sometimes manage to chill out 😉

    Thanks for writing this, Kim, great reminder to just take a deep breath sometimes.

    • Glad to know I’m not the only one Jill. Every time I sit down to relax I start ticking off all the things I should be doing, which ruins the moment. Like Jamie said, yoga helps. My strategy of breaking down time into smaller increments also helps. I’ll often tell myself, I’m just going to relax for 15 minutes. The dishes (or the article I’m writing, or my mile-long to-do list) can wait.

  3. He’s probably a trust funder and therefore can afford to relax! Unfortunately many people( Most I think) have to multi-task and get little relaxation because they are living pay check to pay check and need to make money to pay the bills.
    Just saying!!!!

    • I hear you Chris. Unlike the young guys out cruising the lake in Daddy’s 100K ski boat, Relaxing Dinghy Guy doesn’t strike me as a trust-funder. Relaxing just isn’t a part of our culture these days. That’s why I find this guy so inspiring.

  4. Does it count when you make a to-do list of all the things you need to do just so you can relax a little? No joke, I used to add “breathe” to my to-do lists just to remind myself to take a break now and again when things got especially overwhelming. Thank goodness I haven’t needed to do that for awhile!

    I vacillate between doing nothing really well and moving full-steam ahead getting everything ticked off The List (see above). I think it’s why I love being on the road when we’re actually driving. There’s nothing else to do. I get carsick reading or writing, so we end up talking a lot. Or listening to podcasts. Or simply staring out the window as the miles roll by.

    Thanks for the great reminder to remember to breathe life in every now and again. 🙂

  5. it’s not usually my gig to pull out french philosophy comparisons, but this guy totally reminds me of Jean Jaques Rousseau in the 1770s and 80s. cool dude! in the final years of his life he went off into the mountains on his own and would go out in a row boat on a lake and just float around, lying on his back, watching the clouds and daydreaming. go relaxing dinghy guy!

  6. My husband is forever telling me to RELAX already! I’m the worst for trying to squeeze in just one more thing. So I’m going to try to take this post and the dinghy guy to heart. And chill out.

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