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Hear No Sadness, See No Sadness

Today I did our bimonthly grocery shopping while my wife stayed home and straightened up the house.  Since we have three dogs and five cats, the grocery shopping is pretty intensive.

 I was probably in WalMart about 90 minutes- the last 30 minutes or s0 began to really get to me.  There’s just so many people and lines and things to think about (constantly checking the list, where in the store to go) that it can get overwhelming.  It’s simply not a pleasant experience.

I stood in the aisle for a few minutes and took a few deep breaths.  I knew that if I let it that this experience could make the rest of my day that much worse.  I knew that this would be a bad thing, if only because it wasn’t that big of a deal.  It’s hard to think that, however, when you’re in the middle of the situation.  Worse yet, I was slightly worn out from the long week and in no condition to deal with the teeming masses that is a Walmart Saturday afternoon. 

I dealt with it by basically surrendering.  I shut my brain down and simply went through the routine so I could get out of the store with my happiness intact. 

I looked at it this way.  Say you’re a king, and your primary goal is to protect your castle.  You only have so many boulders to load into your catapult, and it takes time to make more.  That means it’s best to save them for a serious situation. 

In my example, the Walmart situation was basically a lone, deformed zombie that repeatedly banged against the stone walls.  There was no point lobbing my boulders at it, because it was obvious it would die soon anyway.  So I simply ignored it, knowing that soon it would go away.  Had I treated the situation as being more serious, I would have expended serious energy and effort into vanquishing an enemy that really didn’t matter in the first place.  This necessarily leaves me vulnerable when the real enemy decides to attack with arrows and slings of misfortune.

So today I learned a valuable tool for preserving my happiness when annoying things occur- I simply ignore them until they go away.  Of course, such a thing won’t work (and is patently unhealthy) when something serious or relationship-based occurs, but it does the trick when life throws you the occasional pothole that can’t be avoided- particularly when you lack the energy to deal with it in a more effective way.

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