The Power of Laughter

Kathryn - Austin, Texas
Entered on December 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

In my family, we take ourselves way too seriously. We are too worried about what we will do for a living, what skills we are going to have, or what our neighbors are going to think of us. Unfortunately for me, I am the person in my family that can’t seem to figure out how to be accomplished enough, or not say the wrong thing at the wrong time.

During holidays, this is further brought to my attention with our family gatherings. This thanksgiving was our turn to host thanksgiving dinner. As thanksgiving came closer, my mother fell into a frenzy of cleaning and decorating the house for all of her relatives. It really bothered me that we had to do so much prepping of our daily lifestyle to impress the family that is suppose to love us no matter what. It seemed silly to me that there is always so much pressure in their family visits.

When the big day arrived, my dad and I got the rare opportunity to stop by his family’s thanksgiving dinner at his mom’s house, before our own visitors arrived. From the moment I got there, it was a whirlwind of activity that didn’t stop until we left. There was a great energy in that packed house. No one was in their nice church clothes, or even wearing shoes, and my thousands of little cousins were yelling and screaming as they ran from room to room. There were spilled plates of food, and wine stains on my aunt’s favorite shirt and even ongoing family awkwardness with the more recently added relatives. The funny thing about this disaster of a gathering was that they were all incredible happy and having a good time. I realized the difference was that no one was worried about impressing anybody or showing their lack of put togetherness. We joked about our recent setbacks, or their kids’ lack of ability to remember to do their homework. While they weren’t solving any problems, it was fun to not feel the need to worry about anything at the moment.

That afternoon made me realize just how caught up I was in my own stress. The relief I felt after joking around about the little things I had been dwelling on helped me understand the true power of being able to laugh at yourself and your mistakes. As a college student it is very easy to slip into the mentality that the stress of every day is direly important. And not just with school stress, but stress with your friends and boyfriends and girlfriends here too. I’ve realized just how much energy is wasted on worrying about what she said, what they did, or what he thought. I truly believe that not taking yourself too seriously sometimes is one of the most important things you can remember, not just to help you relax, but give you the peace you need to be aware of and accomplish the important things in your life.