Nothing worthwhile in life can be accomplished without maximum effort. A majority of the population wakes up every day to clock in for work, battling throughout the long hours of the day just to provide for themselves and their family. However, in order to perform one’s very best, it is important to get the proper rest and relaxation in order to recover from the strenuous activities of the work week. Hammocks embody the idea of relaxation, unlike any other object. The feeling of swaying back and forth and being rocked to sleep while the cool summer breeze that hushes outside noise is like no other. No mattress will ever provide the same comfort and convenience from life’s troubles that a hammock does. When times are at their hardest, there is no problem taking a nap in a hammock.
I came to this realization during my junior year of high school. From January of my junior year until October of my senior, I spent a majority of my time alone. Being the social individual that I am, I had always hated the idea of seclusion as a young child. However, as I grew older, I began to understand the value of being alone. Majority of my experience came from the spring of my junior year traveling back and forth, between sports activities after school and spending the entire summer training for football camps. Not many followed the same path that I did, thus leading to a lot of time spent alone changing in the locker room, traveling to camps, and staying on weekends to get the rest I need. I was forced to put my nose down for six months and work until I was able to progress and accomplish what I believed should be done in order to prepare for the upcoming football season. It was easily one of the hardest things I had ever done, but I promised myself that I would get through it.
I felt as if I had gone insane. A constant stream of thoughts frenetically bounced throughout my head on a daily basis. A friend’s mom noticed one afternoon and suggested I take part in a stress relieving activity of my choice just as her son did. Trusting her wisdom as a mother, I began to write, focus on more creative endeavors outside of football, and work to spend more time relaxing. It was during my summer vacation that I discovered the serenity of taking a nap in a hammock. I began to spend at least an hour all alone in a hammock every day. Here, the ocean waves crashing and the bristling of the palm trees in the wind put me to sleep in minutes. My mind and body both eased. All tension and worries suddenly disappeared and my consciousness was finally cleared again.
As soon as I began to make the effort to relax, the sporadic thoughts I once had soon disappeared and my consciousness was left cleared and light. All lingering issues and stress had been uplifted from my shoulders leading me to a peaceful state of mind. Furthermore, upon writing, I began to take a step back and really assess who I was and learn more about myself as an individual. My work forced me to search in the darkest parts of myself in order to create the best quality work possible. I began to become comfortable with being alone. Isolation, a state that once terrified me, became a safe haven. With no outside voices, biases, and opinions, it is easy to reveal my true colors to themselves in a way they had never seen and felt before.
Although a hammock is a seemingly insignificant object, it provides an intangible necessity that is vital to one’s sanity. Furthermore, the feeling it translates is understood universally, regardless if people realized it or not. Big Sean, a famous hip-hop and rap star, references the idea in his hit song Paradise, he said, “…making sure my family tree got hammocks on it”. This line exhibits his ambition and hard work specifically so that he was able to relax, and no longer have to worry. Although he doesn’t explicitly say this, the idea of relaxation and rest is portrayed by the hammock on his family tree.
In addition to providing a timeless means of relaxing, hammocks have been able to adapt and change in a variety of ways to make sure they never go out of style. While traditional hammocks typically occupy the backyards of an elderly person’s home, new versions have been widely used in the past few years by the younger generation. The Eno has replaced the typical hammock, providing a portable place to sleep. All one needs are two trees and some heavy eyes. There will forever be a timeless need for a place of rest and hammocks will always be able to provide for that need.
Hammocks are more than woven ropes and fabrics. To me, my time in the hammock during my vacation was being away from the problems and hurdles that I was struggling to overcome every day. Even though it might have only been for a few moments, the time I spent in the hammock brought back my peace of mind. It was so much more than just a simple nap. Swaying back and forth, I was able to assess what was really important, what was worth stressing about, and what I could actually do to fix any troubles currently plaguing my consciousness. I truly see that napping is a turning point in my high school career. From there, life began to improve. In a time of my life where I was too busy constantly being on the move, it was truly a pleasure to spend some time sitting still. Someday, I will return when I find life moving too fast and seek the peace of mind I so desperately need once more.