Â â€œNobody can be uncheered with a balloon.â€
â€“Winnie the Pooh
So Minimal, In Fact, That If My List Were Clothing Youâ€™d Be Reading This On A Nude Beach
When was the last time you lost it? Not in a bad, â€œIâ€™m going to kick holes in the wall because Iâ€™m angry, and this wallpaper needs to goâ€ sort of way but lost control with laughter? Can you remember? Who were you with? What was the situation? (I hope you share some examples in the comment section!) Has what makes you laugh or smile changed in midlife?
It seems that I donâ€™t experience uncontrolled giggles as often as I used to, and that makes me sad. Has life experience tempered the snickers that were unstoppable not so terribly long ago? Allow me to ask a few questions.
Do you remember being a kid and getting chastised by parents, or grandparents, or your best friendâ€™s parents, because instead of sleeping at night youâ€™d be in bed squealing with laughter? I do! Life, it seemed, was hilarious. All of it!
Do you recall the teen years when the quickest way to deflect your awkwardness was to tease someone else about their rise in clumsiness, their choice of dating partners, or their mountainous zit that showed up exactly one hour before prom? I believe adolescent laughter, at least, slowed the pain that accompanied growing up. Besides, if you turned up one minute before curfew smiling like crazy your parents got nervous. How great was that?
The childbearing years were laced with smiles and laughter too. The â€œI killed itâ€ interview smile. The â€œIâ€™m getting marriedâ€ smile. The â€œWe put an offer on the houseâ€ smile. The â€œDid I just buy a car/boat/motorcycle that I canâ€™t affordâ€ smile. The â€œWeâ€™re going to have a babyâ€ smile. The â€œGirlâ€™s night outâ€ smile.
Most of my smiles and laughter during that time came as a result of my children. Even now, as I think about some exceptional moments, I give a snort laugh. There was the time my daughter and I witnessed a gentleman trying to push a squeaky and stuck-wheeled cart around Menardâ€™s. He kept throwing his entire body into the effort, and the more he did, the harder we laughed. There was the time my son explained his attempt to blast a waspâ€™s nest with a can of wasp spray. He nervously snuck up on the nest and pressed the button. Instead of the promised 10-foot spray, it barely dribbled out of the nozzle. His re-enactment of that anti-climatic moment had me howling with laughter.
But now, in midlife, the crazy canâ€™t-stop laughter comes less often. And, if you read my blogs with any regularity, my husband is most often the cause of the good stuff, the deep cathartic laughs. However, I do find I smile more at the small, barely noticeable moments, and thatâ€™s okay too.
For instance, this morning I happened to glance out the window and was dazzled by a sky that was pink and tangerine and glorious. How could I be anything other than happy?
After a walk with our dog, Booker, I decided to pick up a few groceries in town. Almost as soon as I walked through the grocery store doorâ€¦Wham! The smell of freshly baked cakes and donuts had me in a giddy mood.
Later, as I sat at my computer pecking away at the keyboard, I glanced up and realized our two cats were semi-sleeping together on my desk. They normally donâ€™t like to touch each other, so this was downright worth popping open a champagne bottle. You bet I smiled.
So, the big laughs are harder to stumble upon in midlife, but the simple little things that cause heart and soul smiles are multiplying.
As you can see, I didn’t come up with a “how to smile list” at all. Â To make amends, hereâ€™s a list of The 30 Most Satisfying Simple Pleasures Life Has to Offer by Marc Chernoff.
Be sure and let me know what makes you laugh. I want to share in your joy!