With our aufruf, wedding, and sheva brachos behind us, things are slowly beginning to settle down and return to normal. Like I said, slowly.
For the first few days after the wedding, I would wake up every morning in high gear and begin to think about all the wedding preparations I needed to do that day. As I would spring out of bed, it would take a second or two for me to remember that the wedding had already taken place. This strange experience was new to me, but fortunately it seems to have passed. I now calmly get out of bed in the morning.
My husband and I decided to go for a short post-wedding getaway to unwind a bit. This was also a new experience for us, as we didn’t do this after our other weddings. We typically enjoy active sightseeing vacations. We are generally on the run, trying to squeeze in as much as possible. But this vacation was going to be different. My husband’s back went out recently and, unfortunately, has not yet returned. We had no choice but to go on one of those “do nothing” vacations.
It was a bit difficult for me to agree to go somewhere to do nothing when I can do that at home for free and without driving anywhere. But, of course, it wouldn’t be the same. At home, there is always something to do that’s not of the relaxing variety. I’d be tempted to throw in just one little load of laundry. I’d feel the need to run out to get some milk or whatever from the makolet. I’d be pulled to whip up a batch of cookies, even though my freezer is still overflowing with baked goods from my simchah. I’d want to sit down and write my column for the Queens Jewish Link. These are not “do nothing” activities. Home is not where the “nothing” is. The only way to successfully make a woman relax is to take her out of her home. I was convinced.
We are not so good at doing nothing. We don’t know how. But we were determined to learn. We made reservations at a hotel with little we could do in the area and were on our way. We were going to relax. No matter what. Even if our car melted from the heat, we would relax. Even if our room consisted of wall-to-wall sleeping bags with a panoramic view of the hotel garbage bins, we would relax. Even if they only served chocolate-covered macaroni and cheese drizzled with blueberry sauce, we would relax. We were ready to work hard and do whatever was necessary to accomplish our noble goal!
It wasn’t easy at first. So much pressure. What pressure? you might ask. There was the dining room pressure. So many decisions. Do we sit in the open area, or do we sit in a booth where we have more privacy? Should I eat the familiar foods I always like, or should I be adventurous and try new things and possibly expand my repertoire? Should I count my calories or pack in the waffles dripping with maple syrup? How many waffles can one person eat? Anyone interested in how I answered these questions can feel free to drop me a line. I’m happy to share. But I won’t tell you the answer to the last question. Please don’t even try to guess. Not your business, honestly.
The hotel provided some lectures and entertainment. Should I attend a lecture called “Mysticism and Lucky Stones?” How about “Therapeutic Herbs and Their Properties?” Okay. So, those weren’t such tough decisions. No pressure there.
We ate dinner in the nearby mall. Before we paid, there was suddenly an announcement over the loudspeaker telling everyone that there was a fire. Everyone was instructed to leave the mall. The warning was repeated over and over again. The escalators were crowded with customers rushing to exit the mall. The new and improved relaxed versions of my husband and me did not panic. But we did try to be responsible and leave the premises. Surprisingly, the waitresses wouldn’t let us go. We knew we hadn’t paid but we told them we would do so once the danger was over. We’re not the stealing types, you know? But they wouldn’t let us out. They were smiling. They said the mall has a faulty alarm. This sort of thing happens often. Interesting.
Next dilemma: Do we stroll back to the hotel at a leisurely pace, or do we hurry to get back in time for the evening musical entertainment? Also not such a tough decision. We knew it was not likely to be our taste in music. Our suspicions were confirmed when we got back to the hotel, but there were two elderly women really living it up. If they had had any inhibitions in their youth, they seemed to have disappeared over the years. The two were dancing up a storm in front of all of the guests in the lobby.
My husband brought his s’farim and I brought a very thick book that would take me the whole two days to read. I often read magazines, but a book? Rarely. So, we read. And then we read some more. We read on our mirpeset. And then we read in the lobby. We read on the patio and when we were done, we read on the grassy area. We read on lounge chairs and couches and beach chairs and regular sitting chairs. Sometimes we would get up, walk to the cooler, and get a cup of water. Then we would continue reading. All of this was against the backdrop of the question of whether or not we were truly relaxing.
Five hours into our stay, we thought we had had enough. For how long can a person do nothing? But we persevered. By the end, we really had the relaxation thing down. We continued to relax in the lobby even after we checked out. We came home this afternoon feeling great. We sat down on the couch and talked. Nobody was home. We had not a care in the world. We were totally relaxed. We’re good at it now.
As we sat, it suddenly dawned upon me that we needed some supper. Oh, and maybe we should unpack. I needed to tend to one of my gemachim. There was what to do. We are now easing back to normal from the other direction. Life is about balance. The trick is to do all the normal stuff in a balanced way, without getting stressed. I think I can do that. And with that, I’ll now write my column, which is due this evening. No pressure at all.