Do you think? Do you use your brain?
I used to believe that if I didn’t have a job, my brain would atrophy, that it would grow weaker and weaker and turn to mush. Then when I quit my job a few years ago, I found out that I was wrong. I wasn’t using my brain in the same way, but I was still using it. I was volunteering and reading and having deep conversations with friends and acquaintances.
This time it’s different. This time I feel lousy. I watch a lot of tv. I read less. I talk to people less because I don’t feel up to it. I can’t volunteer. And to be honest, a lot of the time I just don’t want to think. It feels like too much effort.
But then over the last few days I’ve really used my brain and it feels GREAT! First, I read a book (well, listened to the audiobook) about the dumbing down of American women. Men are being dumbed down too, I’m sure, but this book focuses on women. The author made a lot of great points and really got me to think about things. It was wonderful.
Then today I helped a friend with some basic accounting. He started a small business and didn’t know how best to keep track of his income or expenses. Since I’d done some accounting before, I volunteered to help. Last week got organized and I showed him the basics. He entered all of the data into his system, and today I showed him how to do the rest. It was so wonderful to be using that part of my brain again! I hadn’t thought about anything accounting-related in years (unless you count my own finances, which are sadly very simple.) Every now and then we came across an issue that I wasn’t sure how to handle, so I had to think, to reason it out, and to come up with a solution that was easy for my friend to continue in the future, made good accounting sense, and of course was straightforward and legal. It felt so good!
I’m still going to watch way too much tv as I sit on the couch feeling weak, but I know that I also need to find more time to really think about difficult situations, to reason things out. I’ll have to start doing crossword puzzles or sudoku or something. It really doesn’t matter what I do, but I have to use my brain. I’ve only been out of work for a couple of months, but I can already feel the decline. I hope we can all find things that work for us, things that make us think!
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