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Relaxing more difficult for some than others

The way the husband is forever telling me to pace myself, you'd think I was a race horse.

I fold laundry with lightning speed and he says to pace myself. I paint a room and he says to pace myself. I throw dinner on the table in 15 minutes and he says to pace myself.

The man tells me to pace myself one more time and I'm going to hang a wreath around my neck and claim the Triple Crown.

He claims I collapse at the end of the day because I get out of bed too early in the morning and move too fast.

"No," I explain, "I collapse at the end of the day because it is the end of the day."

We both have high energy windows, they just happen to be at opposite times. I'm on full alert in the morning, he comes to life at night.

It could be the secret to a long marriage. When you have different sleep and wake cycles, you have less time to argue.

We recently took our first ever extended trip without any of the kids with the sole purpose of relaxing.

The plan was to sit and watch the waves. The plan was to chill and do nothing. The plan was to lounge.

On the first day we sat around a lot. We ate out. We read. We watched a movie then we sat around some more.

On the second day we did it all over again.

"Are you enjoying relaxing?" the husband asked.

"All except for the part where I feel like I'm in the hospital," I said. "This is what sick people do — sit, read and sleep."

I expected a doctor to phone with test results and a nurse to appear with ice water at 5 a.m.

After two days of relaxing and five more to go, I began carving hatch marks on the kitchen wall above the sink.

On the third day, we sat some more, watched the waves, ate out and sat some more.

"Isn't this relaxing?" he asked.

"I guess so," I said. "Although some people might find it boring."

On the fourth day, I ripped one of his white T-shirts in half and waved it on a broomstick out the front door of our vacation rental.

On the fifth day, I was so relaxed I was ready to jump out of my skin.

Every fall I love reading essays by people who wax poetic about the melancholy they experience as they close up their summer cottages and return to the city. But now I'm wondering what it is they do all summer.

Nobody could keep up this relaxing business day after day. I think people who go away for the summer actually just play house in a different location.

They market, cook, fix broken things, answer e-mail, pay bills and worry about their kids. But because they do it at a different address, it is somehow considered relaxing.

It would be a lot less work to rent a post office box.

I'm not good at relaxing. I'm also not good at pacing myself.

For those of you who have the stamina to relax — best wishes. All I can say is I tried relaxing and it nearly killed me.

Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. You may contact her at loriloriborgman.com.