"I wish I could not think once in a while"
~ MaryAnne Williams
Ahhhhh, wouldn't that be nice? I've longed for an off switch for my brain since I was in college. I was the responsible one; planning, saving, thinking, organizing, careful about my choices. I had friends that used school loan money to go on vacation - Aruba and Hawaii to name a few. They "deserved" it after all. Me, well I did go to Ft. Lauderdale my junior year in college, drove down and split the room with two friends to save cash. As I recall I brought a giant bag of grapefruit with me thinking I'd eat that for breakfast and save on eating out.
Another friend wanted to know if she was fertile so she decided after she was married to find out. It didn't matter that neither she or her husband had good jobs; in fact her husband was still in college when she became pregnant. They lived in her parents basement until her baby was about three years old because that's all they could afford. She once told me "I can always continue my education at a later stage in my life; I'm only fertile for so long". I knew it was an indirect dig at my choice to wait to have kids. Thankfully, even though I was in my late 30s before having my first baby I now have had two healthy children and a good, dependable job to help support them. I have no regrets waiting and establishing myself in a career before hand.
I've saved for retirement since my first job. Sure, I was only 23 years old but I listened when the old-timers at the office told me it was the best thing to do; that before I knew it time would be flying by and if I waited it could be too late. So I did. I also increased my contributions to absorb raises I received; I didn't miss the money since I hadn't see it anyways. Another friend, she'd laugh and say "how do you know you aren't going to die tomorrow?" Well... that's true. But how do I know I won't live until I'm 85? No surprise, I'd rather make the safer choice and save. Funny, she started medical school married to one husband and finished it married to another. Apparently in the second divorce she cleared a chunk of money (his since they were married hardly one year) and was able to pay off those school loans. Funny how that works.
Which brings me to current day - raising two young kids with my husband. I have less chance to stop thinking now that I'm thinking for both of us it seems. Thinking about saving for college (again!), budgeting, making sure the property tax bill is paid. Wondering are my kids developing normally? Do they have good manners? Should I sign them up for soccer? Are they eating well-balanced meals? Did they wash their hands before dinner? None of these things would get done if I didn't think of them first and do something about them. It's exhausting, as I'm sure many women would agree. It also makes me all the more in awe of women who can do it alone; while my husband may switch his brain off when he gets home he does play with the kids, take them to the park, cook a good part of the meals and loves to read them stories before bedtime. I'm grateful for that.
But I'd still, once in my life, I would like to know what it feels like to be able to turn my brain off. Just for a day or two.