Just a few days ago, I was sitting in the sun with my friends Vivian and Noa. In a wheelchair as a result of her cancer, Vivian made a joke about getting skin cancer. “Too soon?” she asked as Noa and I laughed. Wildly inappropriate perhaps, but not too soon! Moments of levity are more than just important, they’re essential. The joke lead to a conversation about not taking yourself, or your situation, too seriously. Vivian’s situation is heavy enough. She knows it and so do we. Acknowledging the elephant in the room and laughing about it once in a while is healthy. Talking and crying about it are healthy too.
Entering rehab, I thought my life was over, at least the fun part. By day two, guys were making jokes, had me smiling and laughing through my grief. The levity made things tolerable. Being serious all the time would make me miserable. Now I’m the one that sometimes makes inappropriate comments to Natasha (my wife) about drinking. I usually get a “not funny” in response, but then she laughs. Luckily, I have plenty of friends and family around that make light-hearted jokes at times too. Those ice-breakers keep things loose for everyone. I prefer it.
“My point is that it’s all good, healthy, and necessary. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself or your situation. “
In a world that’s increasingly becoming overly sensitive and serious, and too easily offended, let’s not forget that laughing, even at someone else’s expense, as long as they’re in on it, is okay sometimes. Dare I say, it’s good for us! In the couple of hours I sat with Vivian and Noa, we laughed, got a little choked up, and ended up dancing! If you sit with me and talk recovery for long enough, I promise you that I’ll go through the full-range of emotions. My point is that it’s all good, healthy, and necessary. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself or your situation.
None of us need pity, that does us no good. Vivian doesn’t pity me for my problems, and now that I’ve spent time with her, I don’t feel pity for her either. I’m in awe of her relentless positivity and determination, her openness with her feelings, and her healthy state of mind. I’ll give her a hug if she needs it, and I’ll damn sure laugh when she makes an inappropriate joke, whether it’s at my expense or her own. Life’s too short and too hard to be serious all the time. Laugh out loud, it feels good!