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The Valley, May 2014


Feeding the Beast Without going into any of the gory details, I have to admit that the last few months have been a struggle for me and a test of my patience. Have you ever gone through those spells when life just seems harder than usual, and you find yourself at the end of your rope? I think that’s usually when smart people plan a vacation so they can crawl back up to the top of the rope. Well, I’ve been working my way down that rope for a few months now, and I think I’ve almost reached the end, but a vacation isn’t quite in the works yet. So what’s a person to do? I found myself driving to work last Friday, frustrated with every single car in front of me, behind me, and beside me. That’s right, the car ahead of me was going to slow, the car behind me was following too close, and at a stop light, I looked over at the car next to me and I was resentful because I imagined that they had no where important to go and they were going to just go enjoy their day. Yea, when you start imagining things like that, you realize you really should have planned that vacation YESTERDAY!

This sad story doesn’t end there either. I got to work, late as usual, and the minute my feet hit the pavement, I began reading my email on my phone as I walked from the parking lot to the building where I worked. That’s brilliant, right? Wrong! If you really want to be annoyed, read your email in the parking lot. So there I was, walking, but not watching where I was going, and tapping away replies to messages that I found particularly frustrating. Did I mention that a few weeks ago the little heel tap had fallen off of the bottom of one of my shoes, so to make matters worse, I was making a loud clapping noise as I walked through another building en route to my office. Ugghh, why hadn’t I taken the time to pound that heel thingamajob back onto my shoe three weeks ago? I had the thing (it fell off in my office for crying out loud!), I just couldn’t be bothered to do it! And the frustration level builds—the rope is fraying. About then, my heel-tap-less shoe slips on the waxed floor and I almost take a digger, but...I saved it. Good lord, how am I going to get through this day? My attitude is shot and I haven’t even booted up my computer yet.

After airing my grievances to a few officemates, I settle down to business. This is Friday after all, I can do this! The day goes without much incident, but by the end of the day, I realize I’m only slightly calmer than when I started. I leave the office about 5:15 and as I’m crossing Atherton Street, I notice that traffic is horrendous—bumper to bumper and moving at a snail’s pace. Oh yes, it’s the last day of classes at Penn State. Now I get it. As soon as I hit Atherton Street, I decided it was a good day to take the “back way” home because my frazzled nerves were never going to make it through the next 25 minutes until I reached beyond Boalsburg and faster moving traffic. It took me 15 minutes to get to Route 26, and from there I felt like a free woman. That is, until someone in a Ford Edge decided to ride my bumper all the way past Whipple’s Dam. At that point I stopped looking in my rear view mirror because I decided that I wasn’t going to let a person behind me dictate how fast I drove. I have no idea where they turned off. Pizza was on the menu for dinner, so I called it in from the road, but when I arrived at the OIP, the whole parking lot was FULL! Did I mention that my rope was already frayed? I turned around in the little bit of space afforded and managed to find a space farther away from the restaurant. It was standing room only and I had to squeeze myself in the door. Thankfully, my

pizza was ready, and I squeezed myself back out the door as more people were gathering in the entrance (and blocking my exit). Breathe!!! Ten more minutes and I’d be home and away from the madness. As I turned onto my street and then backed into my driveway, I quietly thought to myself, “Wow, I really don’t Don’t Feed think I can take any more people today.” Ok, so am I alone on this? Has anyone else felt this way, or is it just me? Am I the only one that lets everyday things just pile on until I feel like I’m ready to snap? Once I was home, and I knew I was home for the weekend, I began to gain a lot of perspective. Doesn’t that always happen when you are lounging on the couch and enjoying life? My frustrations didn’t start because of other people... they started because of me. They started because I was late, and so I was looking for someone to blame. Once you start to feed the beast, it grows and

“Fair & Balanced” means Spin gets Equal Time

grows until it gets so big it consumes you. Well, my beast was a BIG sucker by the end of that day! So I thought about that beast most of the weekend. Here it is Sunday night and I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to starve the beast this coming week. First, I’m going to leave for work on time tomorrow (yea, that’s the Beast! the plan). Then, maybe on the way home, I will stop at the Himalayan Salt Spa and treat myself to a relaxation session. Once I’m home, I’m going to try to break out of my regular “couch” routine and switch it up a bit so I’m more productive. Ok, that’s enough starvation for one day. How will I attack the beast throughout the week? Well, I don’t quite have that all figured out yet, but maybe it will come to me as I’m relaxing in the Salt Spa. It’s amazing how one little weekend can let you start the climb back up that rope!

“Getting stress out of your life takes more than prayer alone. You must take action to make changes and stop doing whatever is causing the stress. You can learn to calm down in the way you handle things.” Joyce Meyer a

May 2014 the valley new online  
May 2014 the valley new online  

The Valley is a FREE monthly newspaper serving Mifflin and surrounding counties in central Pennsylvania.