This I Believe

Blake - Norman, Oklahoma
Entered on January 30, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that laughter is a crucial part of everyday living. I have reached this belief through many experiences. The most notable of these being the important lesson I learned from my dad.

My dad worked everyday as a DO of internal medicine. He was never happy in his work, his marriage, or his life in general. The only light hearted activity that he participated in was his nightly observance of The Andy Griffith Show. I refer to it as an observance because the amusing antics of Barney Fife never compelled him to crack a smile. He watched the classic television show with such devotion because he said that it reminded him of his past, which I assume was much happier.

My dad was diagnosed with inoperable cancer in October of 2006. He had a malignant tumor on his tongue that had to be treated with chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Faced with what seemed like dire circumstances, he reevaluated his entire life. In doing this, every aspect of his life changed dramatically for the better. He then realized that he had been taking himself way too seriously. He told me that the number one thing that he learned from the whole experience was that laughter was a vital part of life that everyone needed to practice daily. He credited not laughing as one of the main causes of the cancer. He has since had a one hundred percent remission due to the chemotherapy treatments and quite possibly his new attitude.

I believe that human beings are naturally inclined to laugh; it is our nature. There are many things that we can do in order to laugh more and thus enjoy a better life. As a full time college student, I find that listening to comedy albums on my iPod while walking around campus melts away the anxiety of finals week. Making time to watch an episode of The Simpsons or The Office helps me deal with the overwhelming number of paper deadlines that I have looming over my head. The best way that I have found to enjoy life everyday is to exchange humorous stories and experiences with the people that I love. Laughing with my friends and family not only benefits my overall health, it also builds my relationships with others.

Laughing is a tremendous aid in dealing with the stressful situations that everyday life presents to us. It is really my only coping mechanism for living the inevitably painful parts of life that all humans experience. I have learned many things from my dad, but I think that among the most important is the principle that laughing everyday is absolutely essential in living a joyous, fulfilling life.