A Party Without Laughter
You’ve received an invitation to a party. It instructs you to RSVP. You do so.
The invitation is well decorated. Pink with while frills. There is something off, though. The hosts, a husband and wife, aren’t smiling in their picture. At the bottom of the invite it says:
NO LAUGHTER AT THE PARTY
You laugh a bit. Then pause. Are they serious?
You arrive at the party apprehensive. You’re fashionably late. You walk in the oak doors and there it is: the “party.” Heads turn to look at you. A few faces give weak smiles. Others just glance.
When you get closer, a few party-goers talk to you. Their tone is respectful and matter-of-fact. They ask how you are. They ask about your kids. About your job. They offer you a seat. You sit down and begin to watch for others to come in.
The party begins.
They are a few pats on the back and “How are you?”s passed around. The party is relatively pleasant. You see a few people you haven’t in awhile. Someone you know had a baby. The no laughter clause is never mentioned. At the end, you go home a little sad.
Is it a party without laughing?
What I’ve described doesn’t sound like a party, does it? Or, in the least, not a party you would be eager to attend. What if I told you that you attend this party everyday?
Being twenty-four, with my Facebook friends about the same age, I see a lot of posts about “Adulting.” What they are referring to is the exhausting experience of being an adult. Bills to pay. Not enough time. No fun.
People wish they could be a kid again.
I relate to these people. And I’m not suggesting that they change anything. I do suggest that they add something. Something they had as kids.
Basic studies show that babies laugh a lot more than adults do. I’d wager it’s the same for kids. I’d also hypothesize that as a person gets older, on average, the amount they laugh steadily decreases. As laughter diminishes, so does perceived quality of life. Till we reach something. Something we were fools to want: adulthood.
People will say adulthood is hard because of work, stress, not having enough time or money, troubled relationships, etc. Those things are realities. And they are difficult. But they are not so harsh that we cannot have at least kid-like happiness (baby-like may be a stretch).
To our disadvantage, the adult world is a serious place. And this seriousness can weigh heavily on our souls. It can weigh us down. Suck the joy right out of us.
How’s Your Ratio?
When you’re a kid, you laugh all the time. Joke and laugh and goof off. The joke/serious ratio is in favor of joking around, by a long shot. As adults, we experience seriousness most of the time, and only have a little joke time.
Think about the happiest people you know. Guess what? They laugh a lot. Or they make others laugh. Probably both.
Life is supposed to be a party. And parties have laughter. Or else they aren’t parties.
What should you do?
I’m not suggesting you throw away your responsibilities and “live it up.”
Actually, my advice is methodical. If you want laughter back in your life, you have to schedule in times to laugh. If you’re an adult, one who’s suffering with sadness or general adult-hood fatigue, you’re going to have to schedule the time.
I get up at four o’clock in the morning and vacuum. Not the most glorious occupation.
I could chalk this up to the woes of adulthood. But instead, when I get off work, I sit down and look up funny videos on YouTube. I watch Jim Carrey or Will Ferrell. Bloopers. Videos of uncontrollable laughter. Try not to laugh challenges.
When I laugh I feel lighter about things. I still have money to save and earn and spend on things. I still have a job and school to think about. I still have relationships to iron out. But it doesn’t bog me down or cause me to be distraught. I’m not in despair.
I’d go further than saying laughter is the best medicine. I’d call it the secret to happiness. The reason kids are happy. The reason adults often aren’t. So do yourself a favor and schedule plenty of laughter in.