Thursday, 29 August 2013

Junk Food for My Brain

just some of the magazines I used to read
My name is Joy, and I’m a Woman’s Day reader. I first started reading the magazine as light relief on the bus on the way home from work. I thought it was a harmless pastime, but before I knew it, I found I had to buy it every week. I was in denial for quite some time, and even told people that I only bought the magazine for the crosswords and sudokus. But deep down, I knew I was addicted, and loved finding out about who was cheating on who, and who had put on (or lost) enormous amounts of weight, and who was only 28 and having a relationship with their long-lost 60-year-old father. And like all addictions, it didn’t just affect me – if not for people like me, creating a market for paparazzi photos, Posh and Becks could be living a normal life (yeah, right), a whole generation of people wouldn’t be scarred from seeing those photos of Fergie getting her toes sucked, and Diana might still be alive!

I should learn to chill out like Maggie
There you go, there should be a regular meeting for people like me, so we can share our stories of addiction to women’s magazines. Until recently, I hadn’t bought a Woman’s Day since just after we moved to Bathurst. Whilst my life has been busy, and it feels like I just don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do, it must be the right kind of busy for me, and I must have enough time to just chill out, because I haven’t felt the need to feed my addiction.
When I was working, my brain had enough stimulation that in my down time, I needed something that didn’t require me to think too hard. It was like junk food for my brain, when I read the magazines. And the trivial crap in those magazines was just up my alley – my brain retains all that sort of stuff (Les hates playing Trivial Pursuit with me). Just like real junk food, brain junk food is empty calories – of no real benefit, but you feel good at the time.

a recent visitor -
this has absolutely no relevance to this post!
In my reading prior to retiring, it was said many times that it is important to keep exercising the brain. So since I stopped working, I’ve consciously tried to do just that. I have puzzle books so I can do a crossword, Sudoku, logic puzzle, or any of a number of other brain exercises, whenever I want to. Just recently, I discovered crossword puzzles that are mathematical, where I have to solve mathematical puzzles to find the answers, and they have to fit into a grid the same way as words have to fit into a normal crossword grid – brilliant fun! 
So I’ve been doing all the right things, and feeling pretty good about it all. But then, a week or so ago, I relapsed. Yup, I bought a Woman’s Day. And I hate myself for it. It feels like I’ve gone back to my old bad habits.
if you look carefully, you can see the green of
the pea shooting - my vegie garden project
But it was also educational. I can now see that there are limits to what I can do and continue to live the life I want to live. I can look back at what’s been happening for the last month or so, and learn that it was too much. I can see how out of balance it was, and the effect it has on me.
I can also learn to live with the fact that, just as I will always be addicted to chocolate, I will always be addicted to Woman’s Day. Is it really such a bad thing? I don’t think so. I allow myself the pleasure of a chocolate hit every now and then, and it is only a problem if I eat the whole block instead of just a few pieces. So with the magazine, I’ll only worry if I find myself considering getting a subscription (yes, I have done that in the past).

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