There is only so much room in the human brain. With a finite space, it is important, therefore, to keep it clutter-free, one would think., life and distractions happen and happen to us all. So in the course of overthinking and cluttering up my brain with ways to declutter my brain, it occurred to me how much time I spend thinking about ridiculous things.

Let’s consider food. I think about food an inordinate amount of the time. What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Supper? Did I pack anything for school? I wonder what they’re having in the cafeteria? What should I fix for supper? I should’ve laid some meat out. Are the boys going to be late tonight or am I? Is tonight a frozen pizza night? I want meatloaf, but I won’t have time to fix it. We can just do sandwiches. Shoot, we’re out of bread.

We even plan our food for months, don’t we? Let’s plant a garden. And we work and work and its weeks and weeks later before you get those amazing homegrown tomatoes, but oh…ain’t they worth it? So juicy and sweet. We plan for months and raise a beef and then kill it and put it up. But, oh…ain’t that homegrown burger worth it, too? The point is that a lot of thought goes into food.

I reckon in a way it shouldn’t be a surprise that we spend so much time thinking about and planning food. After all, it’s necessary to live and a great source of pleasure, too, if you do it right. But what about things that aren’t necessary to survival at all?

It crossed my mind the other day how, as a mammal, we are all covered in hair, and yet we seem preoccupied with fooling with it all. Allow me to explain. My eyebrows don’t just grow where they are or I would look like Michael Dukakis. If you don’t remember him, it’s worth a Google. Funny how a man can run for President of the most powerful country in the world and yet all I remember are those brows. But I digress….back to my brows. We must wax, pluck, and pencil. Two days later, it seems, it needs repeated.

Body hair includes eyelashes. They must be covered in mascara. Then there’s the mess of hair on the top of the head which must be washed, conditioned, then fixed daily, right? Some also cut and color. There are trips to salons with lots of money invested. Jeez, the trouble and time and expense! And the leg hair! Daily shaving and maintenance, from tip to toe, just trying to control the looks of something that God put on all of us. This is a lot of effort!

And at this point I cannot believe I’ve spent so much time listing this stuff in my head…much less that I spend that much time during the day working on it all. What else occupies that dark chasm between our ears?

How many of us spend time in our brains thinking about embarrassing moments from 30 years ago? They get easier and easier to dismiss, as we must, but don’t you hate that? If only I’d checked my skirt before I walked out of the bathroom….oy. How much time do we spend thinking about what we should’ve said? Or shouldn’t have said?

I find myself at random, inopportune times, thinking of something I needed to do. Having a nice time out with friends, and in the middle of supper, I’ll think, “Did I ever put away my kid’s birth certificate?”

Lately my mantra has just been, “Everything is going to be OK.” Because it always has been, right? Yes, we’re dry, but it will eventually rain, because it always has. And even when I’m stressed at work, I know the sun will come up. Why let these things occupy our minds? What should? Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy….OK, that narrows it down somewhat. I reckon that means no dwelling or wallowing.

I rather enjoy a good wallow. Those closest to me know it. Cora will tell me, you’re wallowing. At this point, I usually just say, yes, I know. I just want to wallow today. And she’ll say, “OK, long as you own it. Carry on.” But truth be told, wallowing is a waste of brain space. If our cranium is like our home, and it’s quite truly where we never leave, reckon we orta tidy it up. Crap. I’m not good at this.

Is this a type of worry? It seems counterproductive to be using brain space with something that cannot be changed, either because it’s in the past or just out of our control to begin with. And why on Earth didn’t Michael Dukakis’s campaign people do something about his brows? So many questions….

A teacher and mother, Meagan Morehead Bradshaw lives on a farm in Bland County; contact her at

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