Wednesday, March 30, 2016

March 30, 2016

I don’t know where I’d be if it wasn’t for my vibrant and yes, somewhat offbeat and often quirky sense of humor. Life is hard, and if you couldn’t laugh at yourself and the way you end up on your ass from time to time, how would you get through it? I’ve heard it said that the human body cannot produce laughter and ulcers at the same time – that it’s chemically impossible for it to do so. I don’t know if that’s true, or not. But it sure sounds as if it should be.

It’s hard not to be tense in these times. It’s also hard to, as they say, “not let the turkeys get you down”. Like everything else in life, keeping a good sense of humor, and exercising it on a regular basis is a decision.

But it’s a decision well made.

My daughter and I are in our fifth week of our fitness regimen. Most days we go together, but some days because of her schedule, she meets me there. The facility is beautiful, and though we have missed a couple of days due to being under the weather, we don’t either of us let that bother us. A missed day does not a regimen break. And trust me, over the last few weeks we’ve each had plenty to chuckle about as we’ve tried to get back into the swing of things. Even self-depreciating laughter helps.

On Monday, when we’d finished the last element of our routine—the swim—we were relaxing in the hydro-therapy pool, which we do every time we go there. This is a hot tub with jets, and is about twice the size of any one I’ve seen at any hotel. It isn’t as hot as a regular Jacuzzi, just warm enough to help sore and recently worked muscles. A father was bringing his small daughter, complete with water wings, into the pool. The child’s mother was already in the water, so daddy lifted her, intending to hand her over. The moment her small body cleared the edge of the pool, the toddler began to pump her legs, mid-air, for all she was worth.

Jenny and I burst out laughing, because we were both reminded of our puppies being lowered into the bathtub.

Watching kids play is a good way to grab yourself some lighter mood. They are totally invested in their world, and in that world there is nothing but play. Do you still play? Maybe not in the sandbox, but do you take time to just have fun? It’s a difficult habit to cultivate, because the adult in us insists that we need to be serious and do what needs doing and not waste any time! I just love those memes on Face Book, that talk about being too tired to “adult” today. Aside from making me smile, they tell me I’m not the only one to feel that way, and that’s always a comfort.

I was beginning to fall into the trap of thinking that the time spent at the gym and the pool—about nine hours a week counting travel time—was infringing on my more serious and important “work time”. It took me a couple of weeks to convince myself that if I just stick with it for a few more weeks, then my energy will improve so that the time I do spend working will in fact be more productive. It’s getting there. Already, my daughter has confessed she isn’t nearly as tired during her work day as she was pre-exercise program. It does this mother’s heart good when her child who is not a child can admit that her mom was right, after all.

It is hard to keep your sense of humor in fit shape, just as it’s hard to keep your body that way. And like your body, if you let your humor go without proper exercise, it takes a while for you to get it back where it should be.

I have a no-fail prescription for that situation. It’s my go-to emergency plan when I feel myself falling into a bad mood, or when I am just really sad, and I don’t want to be that way anymore. Yes, sadness and even bad moods have their place and their purpose. But they’re like going to the toilet. Everybody does it but nobody wants to stay there all day, or even dwell on the experience beyond what’s necessary.

So go to YouTube and look for laughing babies. Just like laughter and ulcer formation can’t co-exist, neither can your down mood and laughing baby videos.

They’ll get you cracking up, every time.


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