The most wasted day is that in which we have not laughed.
I love to laugh. And, I have a really loud, contagious laugh. My bosses are always shushing me at work because I’m too loud. I can’t help it. I love to have fun, and I love to laugh. When my sister and I get together, we giggle constantly. I even get sick of it, but it’s so much fun. We’ve done it all our lives.
Wikipedia says that the average child laughs about 300 times a day. The average adult laughs around 20 times per day. I hate that. Why do we stop laughing? They say that laughter is healthy and it stimulates all kinds of good hormones. See the article on Wikipedia for the health benefits of laughter.
My grandfather and Daddy used to tickle us as kids. It was always fun for awhile, and then we’d beg them to stop. But, I loved it. I can remember all of us screaming, “Tickle me!” And, of course they loved doing it. The only thing better than laughing yourself is making someone else laugh. My user ID on Match.com starts with makemelaugh. It represents a challenge. The secret, though, is that everybody makes me laugh, so it’s not really that hard to do. My nephew Bryce always says to me with a kind of funny frustration, “Why do you LAUGH all the time.” Well, why the hell not?
In the darkest days of my marriage, I didn’t laugh much. I was depressed. I had a lot of worries and anxiety. Nothing was really funny, or at least I didn’t filter it that way. I was super sensitive, and, of course, to laugh, you sort of have to let go and feel free. I felt trapped and unhappy. My life just wasn’t conducive to laughing. I remember one night my ex and I went out with one of my girlfriends, and we laughed all evening. He noticed. When we got home, he said, “It was great to see you so happy. You never laugh like that anymore.” I really appreciate these times in my life when laughter comes easily and often.
I like to be funny, and I get that from my Dad. All of us King kids have a really wicked sense of humor. Some of it can be sarcastic and hurtful, though. Not everything can be turned into something funny. I had a sarcastic sense of humor until I was in my 30s. I began to realize that being the butt of somebody’s jokes wasn’t funny. It was hurtful, so I put some boundaries on myself to stop doing that. I still slip up every now and then, but I really do try to keep my humor pretty playful and not sarcastic. My ex would say mean things to me and then tell me he was trying to be funny. That’s a cop out to use humor to hurt somebody. Passive aggressive is the technical term. Ugh…
When I left Accredo, one of my coworkers in Cincinnati said over a conference call, “I’m really going to miss coming to work and hearing that laugh.” Could she hear it in Cincinnati? I traveled a lot for Whirlpool in the 90’s, and I would be away for long periods of time. I remember I came back to the office after a long trip, and I was talking to some folks at the front door. One of my old employees came running up to me from around the other side of building. She screamed, “I knew she was here. I could hear that laugh.” How nice to be known and remembered for my laugh!
Laughing is good for you. Its healthy. It gets your blood flowing. It lowers anxiety. It is bonding and connecting. There’s just not a lot of downside to it. I do have laugh lines on my face, but, as long as I keep laughing, you don’t see them so much. I think laughter is a sign of good emotional health, and I love hearing the laughter in the rooms of recovery. We sometimes laugh at things that other people would never see as humorous. My ex and I heard a man tell his story one night, and on the way home, my ex said,”I was offended by the laughing. That wasn’t funny. The stuff he was going through was horrible.” Yes, I said. It was. But, we laugh because we don’t have to live that way anymore. It’s the only way to make sense of it all.