Even the serious must learn to be light-hearted.
It’s very easy to get caught up in this fast-paced and highly strung modern world, where we are so wrapped up in our lives, that we push the serious meter into the red. Perhaps, it’s the most serious amongst us who need to learn to add a sprinkle of levity to their lives before they completely forget why they are living one.
To be fair, it’s not just the serious who need to heed this message, because even the average person can get swept up in constantly moving from task to task that being cheerful seems about as removed as peace in the Middle East.
Given my lofty goals and noble pursuits while on this journey of a philosophical life, it’s not the most complicit method for a continually cheerful, optimistic and hopeful mood. After all, taking on the burdens of mankind is not for the faint-hearted – contending with existence, God and the direction/fate of humanity is no small undertaking, but I’ve always felt obligated to do it so that others could live a more light-hearted life. The sacrificial motif runs strong in this one – I got that from my mother.
Speaking of my mother, she is there poignantly reminding me to not be so serious and remember to enjoy life for me (as well). Before I paint myself as a bore, I love to laugh and crack jokes as often as I can. However, I constantly wrestle with serious subject matter which may give the illusion of an inability to make light of situations.
“I find being able to laugh at yourself is imperative, but it seems like Australia and Britain are the only two places left which truly understand the art of self-deprecation.”
My brother was great at keeping things light-hearted. Once a happy-go-lucky soul, I fear the world has hardened him in a manner that is detrimental to his well-being. That sort of ‘free from serious’ spirit of his I see far less frequently, but I do my best to try and bring it out of him even if it’s only one night a week playing Gran Turismo together (as we no longer live together).
“You can’t live a great Friday or Saturday night out all the time, it’s part of the reason of what makes them so great when they happen.”
I’m not advocating a life of trying to fake being happy and upbeat every second of the day or to pursue some incessant hedonism, but we always manage to justify why we should be stressing or anxious. “I have this to do for work”, “my partner doesn’t spend enough time with me”, “the kids need new shoes for school/sport”, “take the dog for a walk”, “the mortgage/rent/bills have gone up again”, “the house is untidy”, “we haven’t seen them in a long time”, and on and on and on goes the endless list of things that will prevent the average person from entertaining the idea of lightening the load – they’ll be overwhelmed and exhausted. Instead, they’ll probably be wondering if the cavalry is coming over the hill to save them or praying the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train to put them out of their misery.
“Dare I say it’s deadly if one cannot be light-hearted.”
I mean, we don’t want to be around people who aren’t playful. Play, in essence, is social joy and it’s a biologically rooted system in not only humans as neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp found out. A lot of life is about “play”; we play as a child, we play as an adult, we go see a play, we’re playful with our intimate partner…there’s this imbedded social joy we seek out to have reciprocated back to us.
With that being said, I hope I don’t stop being somewhat amusing in my delivery of mostly non-light-hearted material. It’s in our best interest if we don’t hang humour, cut-out comedy or lasso laughter despite the myriad of (existential) concerns we currently face. If anything, it’s these very things which make life bearable and offer much needed moments of light-hearted relief.