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WHAT’S EVEN SCARIER THAN FREDDY AND JASON?
ADULTHOOD The other night, my wife and I were tucking in our youngest child and only daughter in her bed. After saying goodnight, we went to flip off the light switch when her little voice asked us not to. After all, she logically reasoned, monsters come out when it’s dark. Like most kids her age, while she’s afraid there are monsters hiding in her closet or holed up under her bed right now, she will have forgotten about that fear entirely by next week. That’s the joy of being 5 years old, isn’t it? All your greatest fears are easily solvable. vampires might be infiltrating our dreams a bit more often. Perhaps you’re spending more time running through corn mazes with your teenage kids, staying up late to watch the latest horror film, or picking out the perfect costume to scare your neighbors with at the end of the month. Regardless of how you celebrate this spooky holiday, you’ll notice that at the heart of all Halloween festivities is one specific feeling: fear. Fear plays a rather intriguing role in our lives, and in fact, many adults become so paralyzed by their fears that they aren’t able to take the small steps required to work through them. When I was younger, I made a point to watch all the terrifying and gory horror movies. Back then, my friends and I would watch “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” just to prove to ourselves that we weren’t afraid of anything. But as you get older, you realize that the fears you deal with on a daily basis don’t have anything to do with a superhuman With Halloween on the horizon this month, images of goblins, ghosts, and
I say, “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” I can start to focus only on the circumstances that I am able to alter. So much of fear stems from the unknown, of not knowing what will happen next. By understanding that there are boundaries to what I can control, I’m able to keep myself from unnecessary worry. After I’ve pinpointed where I can affect change, I use Carnegie’s method of attacking fear by imagining the worst-case scenario in any given situation. Once I have that in mind, I can plan a course of action to deal with that scenario. Then when the situation in question finally plays out because I’ve prepared for the worst, I’m better equipped to confidently face whatever happens. While we adults have already figured out that monsters aren’t living under our beds, life still throws a lot of scary curveballs at us. But that doesn’t mean we have to live out our lives in a constant state of fear and worry. Start by accepting that some things are simply out of your hands, and then make plans for the things you can control. After all that, what’s left for you to be afraid of?
murderer in hockey mask or a serial killer with a glove of razors. They have much more to do with important and realistic things, like your family, your work, or your health. After being raised by two of the biggest worriers in the world, my mother and my grandmother, I inherited a similar trait. But after years of artificially (and constantly) stressing myself out, I decided that I no longer wanted my life to be governed by worry. Whenever I feel a big spell of anxiety coming on, I remind myself of two important things: the Serenity Prayer and Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.” The Serenity Prayer is important because it reminds me to slow down and actually consider the situation worrying me. When
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