Despite your best efforts to laugh, let loose and let it go, there are seasons in life that you just can’t seem to catch a break. Times in which life feels punishingly hard and fun feels foreign — I have a suspicion there are many people in this position as we speak. When the circumstances you are facing feel impossible to change, your ability to laugh may be what is needed most.
Ironically, our toughest times have often been some of our happiest — when we welcomed our children into this world. Newborn life, although beautiful and a blessing, also had ways of pushing me to my limits — each and every night.
Harper, our first, came home from the hospital loathing sleep. As the evening hours rolled around, I started to feel myself getting increasingly anxious as I anticipated another sleepless night broken up by endless feedings, infant screams, and lots of diaper changes. There was a tight correlation between time of day and this momma’s anxiety level. I would dread the dark, knowing that I would be in this half-awake, zombie-like state of exhaustion trying to unsuccessfully satisfy our infant and her incessant waking.
Fortunately, a group of jokesters helped Adam and I navigate this beautiful — but challenging — time. We discovered the show, Impractical Jokers, in their first season and have been faithful fans ever since.
In this show, four life-long friends go out in public with a goal of embarrassing themselves and each other. It is simple and so very hilarious. The jokers create socially awkward situations, often saying or doing highly ridiculous things, all while the other jokers stand by cracking up. The humor is usually fairly clean and done in a fun-spirited type of way.
Watching the jokers, Sal, Joe, Murr, and Q, make fools of themselves and each other allowed me to lighten up during a time that felt perpetually exhausting and never ending. I knew that if I was awake in the middle of the night, wondering if I would ever get a good night’s rest again, I could at least laugh out loud while the jokers embarrassed themselves and carried on. Laughter helped me cope during a difficult and exhausting time. And, it’s not like my laughter was going to wake up our lovely little newborn, she refused to sleep!
I really love these guys because they are a symbol to us of overcoming a challenging time and they also represent the sustaining nature of laughter. When times are tough and the days are exhausting, laughter can put a little more pep in your step and can rejuvenate you!
If you find yourself in a position of needing to lighten up with laughter, I challenge you to proactively seek opportunities. It could be as simple as watching our beloved show, Impractical Jokers, but I recognize that might not be your ‘thing’ as it is ours.
Practical ways to lighten up can include calling a friend who is never short of funny stories and asking to catch up. I also find family game nights are a good way to invite humor into your days– especially when you play a game like Pie Face or Family Charades. Put on a song and have a dance party in your kitchen, it is hard to keep a straight face while showing off your best moves. I also find the simple act of going outside and chasing my kids around the yard results in breathless giggles from all.
Opportunities are there if you are willing to lift your eyes above the challenges of the here and now, to proactively loosen up.