When was the last time you had a begin at your toes, belly shaking, tears streaming down your cheeks, nose-sorting kind of laugh? Yesterday? Last month? Last year? I hope it was recently. I hope it happens more often than not and I even hope that it’s sometimes at yourself. Yes, yourself. I’m not sure I would have written that last statement fifteen or even ten years ago. But as I’ve gotten,
older, um- wiser, I’ve learned that not only is it ok to laugh at yourself, but it feels good. It’s a sort of inner acceptance that occasionally you do embarrass yourself and sometimes it’s damn funny – and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, there was a study done in 2011 regarding this very topic (look, it’s not as ridiculous as the The Elephant Self-Recognition Study to see if elephants recognize themselves in a mirror). The University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Zürich studied 70 psychology students to measure their ability to laugh at themselves. When the study ended, it was discovered that being able to laugh at yourself is a distinct trait. It also revealed that it coincides with having an upbeat personality, pleasant mood and a good sense of humor. I think if you asked those that know me best, they would agree that I have those traits. And I can tell you from personal experience, as recently as yesterday, that I can most definitely laugh at myself. I often share my embarrassing moments on my Facebook page. I do this for two reasons. First, most of the predicaments I get myself into are rather comical and I like to think that by sharing them, I’m showing others that we need to stop taking life so seriously and lighten up some. Second, it makes me happy to know that sharing my latest blunder made my friends laugh, yes, even if it’s at my expense. When I write something and someone replies with, “that made my day”, or “I haven’t laughed that hard all week”, well, that makes my day. Like “paying it forward”, but with humor.
My most recent embarrassing moment occurred this past weekend at the park. Autumn was in the air, so instead of going to the gym, I decided to power walk outside. I have a rather diverse taste in music but when it comes to working out, it’s all about Motown and old-school R&B…with a little latin tossed in. With my iPod in hand and a fabulous playlist created by yours truly, I hit the pavement. Something about this time of year invigorates me and I had completed a mile in record time. Ok, I wasn’t exactly training for a marathon, but it was impressive none the less. With the endorphins now kicking in, I began my second mile almost jogging – emphasis on ‘almost’. And then, it happened. I heard those first few notes of the song that makes it impossible for me not to want to dance. I’m talking get my stilettos, a red dress and find a dance floor kind of dancing. My pace quickened as the song played, I had a rhythm now and I was singing along to the song. Half way through the song it happened, I’m not sure it was even a conscious decision, but all of a sudden I was doing a cha-cha/mambo step with a few salsa moves. It was during this impromptu dance session that my ear phones fell out – and that’s when I realized I had a small, but quite attentive, audience. Two elderly couples were watching me and when our eyes met, they applauded. I smiled, took a bow and started laughing. One lady said to me, “dear, I want to know what you’re listening to so I can move like that”. I was still catching my breath (and laughing) when her husband asked me if I came to the park often. I told him that I do three to four shows a week. The five of us talked for a few moments and then I continued on my walk. I’ll admit, I felt a bit foolish as I walked away but then I thought to myself, why? I was having fun and in doing so, I brought a smile to four other people. Life is too short to be taken so seriously, that’s what I’m learning. And I think I get it now…that famous quote by William Purkey,
“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
I think this will be one of those stories that has a “Part 2”. So I’m going to close for now, I really need to get ready – I have a show in 30 minutes.
Wondering what song inspired my mid-morning mambo – well here it is: