By all accounts, I was a very serious child. I viewed the world with a glass-half-empty mentality and some of my teachers were even worried because I took things so much to heart that I wasn’t giving myself much of a childhood. I do recall feeling like life was something I had to work very hard at.
I don’t remember the light bulb moment when I finally realized that being serious all the time was overrated, but it was a lesson I learned well. I found that laughter made even the worst situations more tolerable and now, I laugh at almost everything.
For example, I fell this week and I started laughing before I even hit the ground. I was holding an open container of blueberries and, needless to say, they flew everywhere and so did my arms and legs as I tried to catch myself. Whenever I look at the bruise on my arm, I laugh again. I must have looked ridiculous.
Many years ago, I was doing a ballet solo. The whole dance went perfectly. My last move was to step backwards off into the wings. There was a flight of stairs between me and the backstage area. Can you guess where this is going? Yup, fell down the stairs. I heard the audience gasp as I fell and I ran off that stage as fast as I could. It should have been the most embarrassing moment of my life. Instead, I laughed. I laughed until my stomach hurt.
It wasn’t long before my whole attitude changed and I almost looked forward to things going wrong so that my friends and I could share a good laugh. I once went to exercise class and an older lady said, “You’re due in a couple of months, aren’t you?” Instead of being angry or hurt, I called my best friend before I even left the gym’s parking lot. We howled with laughter (especially because I was in the midst of menopause and was most certainly not pregnant).
It is also true that once you train yourself to see the humor in things, you have a hard time shutting that particular talent off. I often find things funny that no one else sees the humor in. Is there a laughing muscle? Because mine is so in shape that I can find the humor in almost every situation.
There are of course circumstances that just aren’t funny no matter how hard I try to find the humor in them. And, there will always be times when laughing is not the correct response. For those times, being serious is not only appropriate, it’s respectful and necessary.
But, I find that as I get older, there are more and more things to laugh about. Laughter is a choice and finally, I am choosing to see the glass half full. After all...
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
What have you found hilarious lately?