Don’t Forget To Laugh

Happy winter holidays

A dear friend of mine went for a walk two days ago.  As she was walking across the parking lot near her home, a driver decided it was a good idea to back up with no reverse lights and within moments, the life squad was there because my friend could not put any weight on her leg.  Yesterday, they did surgery to repair her tibia and her knee.  I saw her today as her physical therapists were working with her to teach her how not to put weight on her leg for the next six weeks.  She was excited that she would be able to get to the restroom by herself.

Just like that.  Her plans for the next six weeks were shot.  This story pays homage to why phrases become cliches: Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

At this time of year, it’s important to think about what we do every day and why we do it.  Is it worth spending your time on it?  Is it worth getting upset about it?  Is it something you’re doing that’s taking up the time you should be spending doing something more important?  Do you care about what you’re doing?  Does it matter to you or to anyone else?  Are you angry for the right reasons?  Are you working to fix the problems around you?  Or do you just like complaining about them?

I had a tough time thinking about what to write for this year’s holiday message.  After days of pondering … and after my friend’s accident … I’ve come up with a few things:

  • Spend your time doing the things that bring you joy – or that bring others joy.
  • In something.  A cause.  A party.  A book club.  A dinner group.  A professional organization.  Go to lunch with a friend.  The years spent in solitude have taught me to appreciate the simple act of spending time with other humans contributing to some common purpose.  Isn’t it grand sitting in a theater or paying tribute to an honorable person at a charity benefit at those tables where they’re serving rubber chicken?  Yeah – okay.  Well, you get my point.
  • Do things you believe in. Don’t be silent about your values.  It’s not someone else’s job to make the world … at least the world around you and your family … the way you want it to be.
  • Consider what’s possible. The word should be can – not can’t.  Take the word “but” out of your vocabulary.  Change it to the word AND.  “I’d do more but I’m busy,” should be come “I’m busy today and here’s my plan to do better tomorrow.”
  • Don’t be a bystander. Jump in there and do what you believe is right.  There’s no one else to do it, or who will be as passionate about what’s important to you than you are.  Go with your strengths and change a little piece of your world.  See “Participate,” above.
  • Treasure the people in your life. Things can change in a heartbeat.  Those moments together, the memories we make, are what makes life worth living.
  • Appreciate the moment. We are guaranteed nothing … not even the next moment.  With all the uncertainty in the world, this is probably the most difficult thing to do.

When I think about the history of progress, war, industry, healthcare, technology during the last few centuries, and think about what even my recent ancestors endured, I feel like a spoiled brat lamenting anything bad going on in the world.  Nonetheless, humans have done a consistently brilliant job of screwing up our lives, our politics, our world.  No matter what the century.  And there are those who are relentless in their mission to help make it better.  Strive to be one of those people.

The ultimate holiday message, for me, is to just suggest that we live our values, find joy where we can, and give as many hugs as we can as often as we can.

Life is what happens while we’re making other plans.  Let’s try to live every day as a new adventure and work to leave the planet just a little better than the way we found it.

And laugh.  Don’t forget to laugh.

Happy Christmas.  Merry Hanukkah.  Joyous Kwanzaa.  Sending hugs.