Diane Keaton, in her latest book, “Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty”, summed it up best:
“A smile is appreciation, and empathy, and wonder. But laughter is release. Laughter is letting go. Babies laugh three hundred times a day. Adults twenty, if we are lucky. What is it with being an adult? Does growing up – and, in my case, growing old – have to be characterized by increased seriousness and less laughter? I intend to joint the babies of the world and laugh more. Especially since – and this is a fact – laughter leads to less stress. It just does. So while smiling is lovely….laughing is beautiful.”
A few days before coming across this paragraph, and staying up until midnight to finish the book, I confessed to sofagirl that, while my life was absolutely fine and I have few reasons to complain, I felt like I wasn’t having enough fun. Laughing madly sort of fun. My days are a sequence of responsibilities, problem solving, seriousness, some downtime but not madcap laughter.
US?? US NOT BEING ABLE TO HAVE FUN? was her reply. And the out of character caps are all hers too, to underline how preposterous my predicament was. We used to have fun. I certainly have the facial lines to prove much laughter was had over the years, but if I stretch my hole-riddled memory to pinpoint the recent times when I had belly-laughter fun, I can count the episodes on the fingers of one hand.
Time to remedy that, I thought. Not quite sure how to go about it though. Don’t get me wrong: my life can be interesting, and mellow, and exciting, and lovely and I could dole out another ten pleasant adjectives to describe why there is nothing wrong with it. But a playful element is missing. “I have to let go of my need to be perfect” sofagirl continued (in lower case) in her e-mail. And maybe that is just it.
As aware as we are that perfection is unattainable (and leads to boredom anyway), of how important it is to be in the moment (a phrase I am starting to loathe), to let go and all those other Oprah’s platitudes, we both revert to the M.O. that ruled much of our lives: everything on our lists has to be taken care of or…or what? Or else? What else?
Last night that silly movie with Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, that, stupidly, I would never have paid price of admission for, was re-running on tv. And I watched it again for the third time, for the sheer pleasure of watching Melissa McCarthy deliver deadpan profanity laden lines that are just hilarious. She is one funny individual who makes the world a better place.
Fun, for the sheer pleasure of it, is underrated. And contagious. A couple of years ago I took an impromptu trip to Miami to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t seen in twenty years. It turned out to be a laughter filled four days with five Italian women let loose in the city, with nothing to do but be themselves, outside of our daily constricts. And that might be the point. In order to have the healthy fun I have been brooding about, it’s important I take myself out of my ordinary life for chunks at a time. Sue and I used to take three-week trips to distant locations, once a year, outside of our comfort zone and unable to stay connected with our world, in those ancient times where no internet or cellphones were available. And I am not blaming technology – that I thoroughly love – but I blame myself. For not letting go more often, for not chucking responsibilities once in a while and revert to silly me.
Does growing up […] have to be characterized by increased seriousness and less laughter? No. But I forgot.