The State Of My Mind

Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep. I read recently that a good technique to keep your mind from wandering and to fall back asleep is to mentally alphabetize all of the states.


I’ve tried this method a number of times, and perhaps it works if you’re a normal person, but not if you’re me. Here’s why:

  1. In my head I try to count while I list each state, to be sure I didn’t miss any. Then I realize I’m at Wyoming but have only counted to 34. Then I realize I missed all the N states altogether, and did I forget the C states too? Better start again
  2. New England is sketchy, because that’s a whole lot of small states all squashed together and I can’t always separate them in my mind when I’m doing my final checklist to make sure I didn’t miss anything because I lost count again. Yes, it’s now 2 hours later and I am going through the map state by state. So this is working well
  3. The Carolinas and Dakotas. Why must we have two of each? Not to mention all the states that start with New
  4. Sometimes, just to challenge myself, I try to start with the original 13 colonies. Then I think if I had a better memory I could put all 50 states in the order in which they joined the union. When was the damn Louisiana Purchase? Seward’s Folly? Which incidentally, when you think about wasn’t such folly because Alaska is awesome. Although, Alaska also gave us Sarah Palin, who we could live without. I mean, what is her deal? Good thing my mind isn’t wandering
  5. I have an overwhelming urge to turn on the light and write all the states in alphabetical order, to be sure I got them all since I keep losing count. This too defeats the purpose
  6. Around Utah I realize that I forgot Missouri again. Do I go back to the Ms to be sure I got them all, or just throw Missouri in there haphazardly between Vermont and Virginia? And doesn’t that defeat the purpose of alphabetizing? And doesn’t this whole thing defeat the purpose of trying to freaking sleep?
  7. I think about what states border California and that sends me way off onto a tangent reminiscing about a very wonderful girls’ weekend I had in Lake Tahoe. We drove all the way around the lake, from the California side to the Nevada side and back around to California. We had so much fun that weekend! Like the evening that we…OK, I’ve definitely defeated the purpose again
  8. I chastise myself for not doing a better job of keeping in touch with my Tahoe Trip girls. Has it really been 10 years since that trip? Let’s see, I was living in New York at the time, so it had to be 2006? And is it really now already 2016? OK, once again, not sleeping
  9. I try to remember if I’ve ever been to New Mexico. I don’t think I have, but it would really make sense to get a map and pin the places I’ve been so I know what ground is left to cover; if, and only if, I care about visiting all 50 states. Which I don’t. But still, shouldn’t I know where I’ve been before I’m too old to remember? Wait, I am at this moment unable to remember if I’ve ever set foot in New Mexico! What the hell is wrong with me? Did I or didn’t I? Sleep continues to be elusive
  10. Letters for which there are not a state. B, for example, a perfectly nice letter but no states that start with B. Why? And if there was a state name that started with B, would I visit? Would it be on the west coast? Maybe a state needs to be renamed, like the stupid North and South situation with the Carolinas and the Dakotas

Anyway, if I have dark circles under my eyes, you’ll know why. This is the state I’m in.


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10 Responses to The State Of My Mind

  1. Pam Waits says:

    It’s easy to understand why you’re having trouble sleeping!

  2. Carol Ferenc says:

    Love the list!! Have you ever considered a career in stand-up comedy? Number 3 is my favorite. Why, indeed, do we need two Carolinas and two Dakotas?? I was laughing out loud!

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      My 25 year career as a manager doubled for stand-up comedy…trust me! As to the Dakotas, frankly, I doubt whether they even exist. I try to stay on either coast and not venture too far into center of the country. Except Chicago of course, since it’s fabulous and my nephew lives there. Glad you enjoyed the post!

      • Pam Waits says:

        I can vouch that North Dakota exists since I grew up there. Not so sure about South Dakota though.

        • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

          I still harbor suspicions about both Dakotas. It’s not that I don’t trust you, but you could have been sucked in by the vast right wing conspiracy that creates these alleged red states…

  3. Diane Prokop says:

    Seems like an ambien would be a whole lot easier.

  4. Sheep are much easier and effective.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Or cats. I could count cats. Or alternate sheep and cats. Sheep, cats, dogs…the possibilities are endless!

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