As any good genie will warn you; be careful what you wish for. That is actually an incomplete quote by W. W. Jacobs, who, to the best of my knowledge, is not a genie. He was an author of short humorous stories though, with his most well known work being
the famous book ‘The Monkeys Paw’*. It is with the Monkeys Paw that the owner can make 3 wishes, and as you might expect they don’t turn out well.
I don’t have a monkeys paw, but I have been making a few wishes lately, the first one was for
a big bag of pic n’ mix a bit of time to relax. You see, over the last 3 to 4 weeks I have been so busy that I’d be running on around 4 hours of sleep a night. Now, I’m no Oneirologist*, but I think over the long term that might be detrimental to my health. And when I say health, I obviously mean your ‘real’ health, the one you can touch, your physical health.
I actually find that my mental health, in busy periods, actually improves. My lack of energy seems to dull my brain, the various jobs and tasks distract my mind even further. I don’t think it comes as any coincidence that these 3 or 4 weeks have been some of the happier ones in the last… couple of years? Dare I say.
That presents a little conundrum and if theres one thing I love, its drums – they sound awesome. I’m presented with a choice; either I fill my days with lots of tasks and little sleep to improve my mental health, or I do less tasks and sleep more to improve my physical well being.
Now the irony here is, that there is no conundrum at all, because you’d have to be mentally ill not to take the physical ill health option. I mean for starters if you have diabetes* you won’t get turned away by your health service provider, you won’t be at risk of losing your job, you’ll be free from shame, you’ll get a few days off work, not to mention the shower of sympathies directed towards you.
I’d love to take that option*, but unfortunately the list of chores and tasks have ran dry. The apartment is clean, the clothes are packed, furniture is sold, I’ve de-registered in the country, closed my health insurance account, had a criminal record check, met my landlord and everything else that goes with it. Its all done. All that is left to do now is… nothing, just relax. Oh great! That is what I’ve been wishing for this whole time.
Well, today I got it.
We were up at 6am to catch a train from Vienna to Ostrava, in the Czech Republic. Clearly not a place for tourists, as even the train conductor had a look of surprise when she checked our tickets – ‘really? Ostrava?’. So there we were 3 hours on a train with nothing but my thoughts, ah shit, not those again. I was just starting to forget I had those.
Here in lies the problem with relaxation. It is sold as the absence of something, but it is a lie – don’t believe the marketing. Relaxation doesn’t just happen when you have nothing else to do, it is a verb, a doing word, it is an activity. And if it were a sport, I would not be the world champion’s second cousin. It is in the same bracket as fun, fun doesn’t just occur when you enter a theme park or a night club, you still have to create it.
I’m not entirely well practiced when it comes to relaxation of late, and I’m not sure our venture to Poland tomorrow will be the catalyst. Especially when a trip to Auschwitz follows. Oh well, time to go find a Monkey Paw I think.
*I hadn’t heard of it either.
*Someone who studies sleep.
*Mental disorders are responsible for more than deaths annually than diabetes.
*When I say love, love is a very subjective word. I’d actually love neither diabetes nor mental health issues.