Can you write a list of the things that make you laugh?
Since last summer, I’ve been working on three traits:
Humility – taking the appropriate space for a situation. My work with hospice challenges me to listen, to not-solve and to focus on quiet presence.
Equanimity – practicing not-reaction, not-replying and letting it roll. First in my actions, then in my words and eventually, I hope, in my thoughts. To challenge myself in this department I’ve opened up my social networks a bit. I’m doing well with not replying in writing – less so with not replying in my head!
Enthusiasm – I’ve noticed that the best parents and teachers have managed to hold onto their childish enthusiasm. Discipline, divorce, insolvency, fraud and positive feedback from being serious… have driven away most of my boyish enthusiasm. It takes a lot of exercise, or alcohol, to get me to let loose.
Why is fun important?
I’m awful at predicting what will make me happy. My default response to stress – sleep more, drink more, do less, eat more and take it easy – is a personal disaster for me.
It’s been this way for a very long time and I have learned to cope via two main strategies:
The Big Hairy Goal – via external validation – I wrap my identity around achievement of something most people find too difficult. The “can’t” of others becomes my reason to live.
Habit – flowing from the BHG, I create a plan that requires me to get out of bed and do work.
I’m not convinced that my method works for serving my wife, kids and family.
So I’ve been paying attention to what makes me laugh.
Laughing happens at times, that are very different to what I believe will make me happy.
- Adversity – especially extreme weather adversity
- Riding uphill at altitude
- Jogging in a forest – trees (and oceans) make a difference to every experience
- High quality coffee – strong – as in, coffee you feel
- You Tube – the Fun Police would look down on the stuff that makes me laugh
- The Onion – my #1 news source
- Memories of Molina, my buddy KP and Penfold – I’m grateful that my mind skews my experience
- Being with my wife
- Aussies – the more abrasive the better
- Chris Rock – this one makes sense
- My son, Axel – laughing with a two-year old? I thought “less toddlers” was the answer
- Sunrises – isn’t getting up early supposed to be a hassle?
Combos are even more effective – riding uphill, after strong coffee, in the snow, thinking of Molina… that’s a powerful laughter inducer.
The most dangerous fun police are the ones living in my head.