I was born without a sense of humor. I am, however, very high-strung. Not a good combination. A few years ago, I decided that the key to managing stress in my life was humor. I just had to learn how to find the funny in life. It was helpful that my partner has a hair-triggered wit. Funny, clever things just fly out of her mouth. But there are different kinds of funny and hers is sometimes a little dark. So I starting reading every book by every funny writer I could get my hands on – the idea being that complete immersion might help even a hard case like me. It did. I grew a sense of humor. Not only can I laugh more often, sometimes, I can even make people laugh. Happy day.
My next t-shirt (via zazzle.com)
But I have to practice pretty regularly or it goes away. The following is part of an exercise I try sometimes as a tool for managing stress. I made a list of all the things I was worried about and then tried to write a funny version. Some of the tougher items never made the funny list but a few did. And if you’re honest, a few pretty stupid things will appear too, which is always fun. Anyway, it helped to change my mood.
Some of the things I worry about:
…that my partner sometimes talks about herself in the third person (and I can’t always tell if she’s joking).
…that #2 son seems to be experiencing a kind of school-induced narcolepsy which may someday lead to a permanent position at Burger King.
…that #3 son can play Minecraft for 6 hours straight without stopping to eat or to go to the bathroom.
…that #1 son might decide to get another enormous skull tattoo.
….that menopausal is my new normal.
…that global warming will flood my favorite vacation spot.
…that I won’t be able to stand the winters in Canada when we move there to escape the climate of intolerance in the US.
…that nobody will notice that pun.
…that Nintendo is putting out a new damn expensive game system.
…that our sons will decide not to have a Halloween party and I won’t get to decorate the house. (No fun without an audience.)
…that my computer might crash leaving me to deal with the real world without Facebook, email, Photoshop, or my blog.
…that my dogs get bored.
…that unless he learns to do his homework, #2 son will be living in our basement when he’s thirty spending all his time off from Burger King playing Dungeons & Dragons or video games with Friday-night interludes to watch movie classics like Jackass 2 with his big brother.
…that #3 son will be living in the basement with him.
…that they’ve already seen Jackass 2.
…that it made them laugh.
…that whether I’ll get skin cancer was probably determined by a sunburn I got in Ft. Lauderdale in 1977.
…that I really am a hoarder.
…that my IQ is inversely proportional to my age.
…that God is real and she’s pissed.
…that hip hop won’t die.
…that I’ll never own my own bookstore or little beach motel.
…that when I clean out my email inbox, I will find messages that I really should have responded to weeks ago (Happened this morning. My apologies to Catherine, Jennifer, my brother, Scott, and Daddy.)
…that one day, instead of washing the dishes, I will take them out in the driveway and smash them one by one against the concrete.
…that I am forgetting something important (often true).
…that if my short term memory and attention span keep deteriorating at the present rate, I’ll need a full-time keeper by the time I’m 50.
…that I’m going to think of something super-clever to put on this list after I’ve published it on my blog.
So what do you worry about? What would be on your list? How do you deal with stress?