January 2020 seems so long ago. I remember that I was planning a new version of my book, "Treading Water" and subtitling it, "2020- The Year of Seeing Clearly." By March, that "seeing clearly" idea had become very cloudy indeed. And now, in December 2020, we are dealing with a public health crisis as well as political upheaval still swirling around us, very much like the choking smoke of a wildfire.
How then, can we think about laughter and happiness? For many of us, sheer survival has taken precedence, with job loss and health issues. Pandemic fatigue is a real thing, as we grow weary of isolation and precautions. As I wash my cloth masks in a bowl of soapy water and hang them to dry, I find myself wondering if wearing one of these will become as ubiquitous as carrying a cell phone. Will we end up viewing maskless days as old fashioned as rotary phones?
What we shouldn't do, is set aside laughter as something we enjoyed in the old days. We can't put happiness on a shelf for "someday." Without these, we have no resilience to help us manage difficulties, inconveniences, "new normals" and permanent life changes. We need to look for laughter and pursue happiness on a daily basis in order to build up our resilience.
I know that there are days when the only thing we can be grateful for is that the day is over. With a healthy level of resilience, you can rise the next day with renewed energy and a feeling of hope. During this 2020 Holiday season, we may find ourselves stressed and stretched even more than in previous years. We may not be able to celebrate the way we have in the past. We may find ourselves facing a new year full of uncertainty. Take time to self-care - remember you cannot take care of others unless you take care of yourself. See below for some links you may find helpful, including a link to a Laughter Break session at OLLI-RU in January that may be "just what the doctor ordered" for all of us in the New Year.
until next time, Don't Go Gently, Go Laughing!