Well, here we are, we’re looking at what’s left of 2008 and I’m wondering what the heck happened, as usual. Last year at this time I was in Florida, frittering away my time at the race tracks, writing articles, and looking at the remnants of 2008 and wondering what the heck happened. Now I am in LA, doing a little acting, still writing articles, looking into buying a house and wondering where the year went. The years just seem to fly by, don’t they?
I was lying in bed thinking about my life and going from year to year to get some kind of feel for how in the world I got here. Remember how much we laughed when we were young? Now I am lucky if I get one good chuckle a day. It seems like the longer we live and the more we know about life, the easier it should be to laugh and live because we know more, but yet I can go through a whole week without a damned good laugh. That just isn’t right.
I was thinking of how I haven’t been working hard enough at learning Spanish and how I should push myself to accomplish more meaningful things in life. I began to list all the things I should do and it dawned on me that what I really want to do is to laugh more and be happier. That’s what I want out of life. There have been times when I was working my head off and laughing at the same time. That means, in spite of hard work, I was happy. There have been times I was in pain, but laughing my head off at some crazy thing. That means I was happy despite the pain.
All through my early years, no matter what else was happening in the world or around me in my little world, I could and did laugh, and I was happy. If my fragile little heart got broken, I’d feel bad for a while, but end up laughing about it. I might get angry about something, but sooner or later, I’d see the irony or ridiculousness of the situation and laugh about it.
If I’m so much smarter now, why isn’t life more enjoyable? What good is anything that I learned if it didn’t make me happier? I think if a young person were to ask my advice about life I’d tell him or her to never grow up and don’t lose a single laugh. It seems that living sucks the joy out of life and that’s just crazy.
I don’t worry about the future like I used to. So why aren’t I happier than I used to be? I understand human nature better than I used to and forgive people more easily than I used to, but still, there is less laughter in my life.
I still like to get up early and watch the sunrise, but it rises on a day when I will probably not laugh once when I used to laugh many times in one day. What I wouldn’t give to see the sun rise on one of the old days one more time and to feel the absolute joy of just being goofy. I have spiritual wisdom, tolerance, love my fellow man, believe in eternal life of the soul, but the laughter is gone. Where? What have I foolishly let slip through my hands while I was becoming so wise and proficient at living?
What makes older people frown while young people laugh? I have a new year’s resolution, other than eating more pie. I am going to laugh if it kills me. I will not go to bed without having at least one good laugh or I will consider the day a failure. I am going to find a few good sites for jokes and add them to the top of the list of my favorite places. I am going to read the funnies first and then move to the crossword puzzle. I will judge a newspaper by how many comics it has and the quality of the crossword puzzle and humorous human interest stories.
I don’t really need to read the news, unless it will make me laugh. I’ve been reading it far too long and have come to the conclusion that only the names are changed as each generation gets its chance to have the joy and laughter sucked from it. I am going to age foolishly, not gracefully. I will joke, laugh, listen to Spike Jones and the Berrymans, dust off my collection of Marx Brothers films, buy funny and inappropriate birthday cards, and stick my tongue out at strangers.
It seems that somewhere along the line we begin to seek contentment and find ways to be content rather than ways to be happy. Life loses its edge and we settle into a rhythm. I would rather be discontented and happy, laughing uproariously at least once a day, than contentedly plodding through middle age without a good belly laugh on the horizon. Life was sometimes embarrassing, uncomfortable, scary, painful, when I was younger, but it was also more fun. Maybe the problem is that I am not doing enough things that make me uncomfortable, cause a little pain or social anxiety.
I not only need to make faces at strangers, but also at life, and I desperately need life to stick its tongue out at me and to make funny faces back at me. That means letting go of some of this contentment. It means taking chances, not just for the sake of taking a chance, but to gain something in return, something that has more value than I ever knew, a good laugh. I enjoy my life, my writing, the adventures I have, but enjoyment isn’t the same as laughter. There is really nothing quite like it and no reasonable substitute. I like nice things and they bring a little joy, but what I really want is to suddenly burst out laughing at something that happens without warning.
Life, where is your whoopee cushion? Have you no joy buzzers left? Why, when I bend to smell a flower, don’t you shoot a stream of water in my face? Let’s yuk it up a little here. So this is my New Year’s Resolution and let it ring throughout the universe, “I am going to laugh my way through 2009, if it kills me, and I mean that, seriously!”