Remember the 1840’s (when you were in your youth) and how the most ridiculous things made you almost pee your pants with laughter? Something as stupid as a mispronounced word would send you into the kind of laughter where you basically can’t breath. And if you were lucky, this probably happened multiple times a day. Now, you’d be lucky if you chuckle at something once a week. But of course you type “lol” a few times a day in text. But seriously, when’s the last time you actually laughed out loud? You’ve relegated yourself to thinking cracking a smile is good enough for you. And it stems from how seriously we take life, and ourselves. So, here’s a simple request: don’t take yourself too seriously.
The more innocent times
For must of us, it was pretty easy growing up. Nothing really bothered you, because nothing was really a problem. You were given food, you had a place to sleep, you had love from your parents (for the most part, assuming they let you play your video games or avoid homework), and you were told what to do in school (all you had to do was do it).
So with no real life worries to bother you other than completing homework, exchanging notes with classmates, and figuring out how to lie to your parents so you can meet your friend at the mall, you had some serious room to breath. It’s safe to say you basically bullshitted your way through early life. Things just flowed.
You didn’t take yourself too seriously, because there was no need to.
It was easy to have a good time, laugh with your friends, and make an absolute fool of yourself for some attention.
Turning a legal adult
As you grew up in your early teens, you fantasized about two things: your teacher Mrs. Turner, and turning the big one-eight and getting to do whatever you wanted. Why 18? Because that’s the magic number in most of the world; the time when you can legally make your own decisions and do whatever the fuck you wanted. Guy or girl, it’s the turning point of a new chapter.
So you started counting down the years, the months, and even the days until you aged so gracefully to the ripe age of 18. The sound of “no curfew” was music to your ears. And the idea of buying cigarettes legally smelled delicious. Oh the joy!
Plus, it was just cool to be “that” 18 year old. Everyone would ride your jock. You’d get mad respect from the 15 and 16 year olds. Especially because they could rely on you to get them cigarettes.
But then, after you celebrated your 18th circle around the sun and got closer to celebrating the 19th, you realized it wasn’t that cool to turn 18 after all. Life came knocking on your door like a vacuum salesman, asking you to make high pressure decisions in a short amount of time. And he didn’t take “maybe later”, or no, for an answer. It was now or never.
It sucked. And it continued to suck. Making all these decisions, or lack of them, and living with the consequences began dragging on you. Whatever happened to being 14 and using your parents as a personal bank? You want that back. Badly.
More decisions to make. More decisions to live with.
“I can’t rely on my parents anymore?”, you mercifully think to yourself.
More decisions to make. More decisions to live with.
The vicious cycle continues.
Being an adult sucks
Suddenly, the things that were so hilarious a few years ago don’t seem so hilarious right now. Part of the problem is simple: you have bigger things to worry about, and because you’re constantly in a state of anxiety and worry, things get serious. Life gets serious.
And when things get serious, it’s not easy to laugh at something stupid and asinine. The problems you have in your life, big and small, weigh on you. You take them seriously because, well, fuck…how can you not? It’s your life and you want to make the right choices and see the success and dreams you’ve harbored internally.
But they aren’t there, and it continues dragging you down. And so you take yourself seriously. Do yourself a huge favor though, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
I know, it’s nearly impossible.
Life is a joke in itself
Things probably feel like a hot mess for you, because they are. But they are for me, too. They are for your friends. They are for the super successful people you look up too. They are for everyone.
See the theme here? Life is a joke, and we’re all struggling to piece things together and move forward. The highs that never last, the lows that never end. The twisted irony and coincidences, the karma you may or may not believe in, the serendipity that comes knocking. It’s all one big fucking joke.
Now I’m not trying to downplay the significance of life and the choice you have to make. Frankly, it’s hard work. Decision making is a skill that’s taken for granted. I suck at it. If you do too, step one is admitting it. Step two is figuring out how to improve it, which seems nearly impossible.
It’s easy to get bogged down by the bullshit, and we all fall victim to it way more than we’d ever like to fully admit. Life is full of decisions, big and small, from what you’re eating to where you should live and what you should do with your life.
It’s hard work, but you should probably find some time to squeeze in a little lighter mood once in awhile. Sounds stupidly easy to attempt, but it’s stupidly hard to execute.
All I know is one thing: don’t take yourself too seriously.