Overall, we Griffiths are a happy lot.
We smile frequently and laugh with loud abundance, making no apologies for either our ongoing humor or the loud cackling chortles we let loose. Consequently, we have a lot of photographs of us looking like the town idiots or as if we belong in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. That’s okay, we don’t mind.
What’s wrong with conveying happiness with a whole face (and often whole body) expression? Isn’t it a wonderful thing to let joy leap out of you full force, shaking your entire being like the happiest of puppies?
As grown ups, we spend too much time not being like children:
- We don’t run for the sheer fun of it—even just around the yard.
- We no longer play hide and seek—starting at dusk and staying until after dark.
- We don’t fly high on the swings—we should never remove the playlets from our yards.
- We don’t get out the Crayola crayons for the treat of seeing colors fill a page, inside or outside the lines—although adult coloring books are now available.
Why do we stop doing these activities that are relaxing and fun?
When I was a child, I did childish things? Is it that? Sorry, that’s not a good enough answer.
Some people don’t quite get the blog I write, Adventures of Burt and Muggins. They were created for the simple fun of it, that’s all. The journeys the boys take and trouble they get into are meant to entertain, to lighten up the adults of the universe. When my husband, Alex, has this tiny fake dog and monkey posing in one predicament or another, my favorite thing isn’t to watch him. It is to spy on the people observing him. The cover photo on their blog was taken in Lyon, France while a man of our age sat at a nearby table, drinking coffee, and watching the photographer at work. His smile was huge, delight apparent on his face.
How much do we laugh?
Years ago, a friend learned that kids laughed 300 times more in a day than he did. From that moment, he vowed to start causing more laughter and enjoy more belly chuckling in every twenty-four hour period. That’s when harmless but entertaining practical jokes—like a drawing on construction paper taped to my computer as my screen saver—started turning up around the office. A quick internet search and an article by the University of Kentucky shows that statistic is still valid. If we’re the folks in charge, why are we letting the little ones have such a big leg up on us?
Kids, when life is right for them, laugh. Children giggle with whole body abandon, they ask for what they want and do what is necessary to get that one thing. They fly into Grandma’s bedroom pre-dawn, towing a princess dress and story book and demanding, “Dama! Put dress on me and read a story!” She wanted, she asked, she got. Well, the “got” part came after the sun rose.
Granted, we adults can’t be that direct and get a good response from family and friends, especially at five-thirty in the morning. However, we can be clear about what we want or need and be polite about asking for it. I don’t hesitate to tell my husband, “Hey, I’m a little sad today.” He takes that as his cue, or invitation, to unleash the laughter. It can be binge watching The Big Bang Theory or some antic with Burt & Muggins. He’ll go to any lengths to get me outside my head and living in laughter.
Babies smile when they discover they have toes and fingers. They giggle when we laugh. They delight in the moments of joy-inducing things provided in the right here, right now. Grownups should remember to take pleasure in the simple that comes into our lives every day—from fresh air to sunsets.
Adults are tasked with the responsibilities of life—we are spouses, parents, friends, significant others, we are children, nieces, nephews, we are employees, business owners, writers. We must earn livings, support households, save for retirement, contribute something to the world around us.
Whew. That’s a lot of pressure.
We need joy in our lives. We need humor and laughing and whatever can bring that into our worlds is a good thing. That can be reading Calvin and Hobbes, taking our kids to the circus, or sledding down the biggest hill in your neighborhood. Maybe it’s watching The Three Stooges or your favorite Gene Wilder movie.
Let us make a promise to start snickering and ha ha’ing more heartily every single day!
If we Griffiths—and those we collect into our world as extended family—want to laugh at inside jokes and corny puns to the extent that our faces contort and the guffaws can be heard for a quarter mile, so be it. We’ve found at least one way, one soul engulfing way, to behave like children for a little while.
Those men sure looked like they’re related, eh?
Post expanded & updated from original.
Another post about my fun parents, please read, It’s Our Parents’ Fault