There are things about being a teenager that I wouldn’t take back if you paid me. I’m so grateful for the many ways I’ve matured in my adulthood; I’m more self confident, more willing to chart my own course, and I have a much better handle on how to style my thick, unruly hair.
But spending time recently with a group of high school students has reminded me of one thing I’ve lost a bit since I was a young student: laughter.
It’s not that my life is devoid of humor, but watching the kids, I realize they’re constantly laughing. They may be insecure and not sure of their place in the world, but they’re quick to make a joke, to find humor in a weird situation, to tease each other and laugh about it. Though the phrase “teenage angst” if often tossed about when we talk about high school, I’ve actually found that these kids take themselves less seriously than I take myself.
And I’m learning from them. I feel lighter after I’ve spent time with them, in part because I can’t help from joining in on the laughter when I’m with them.
In our grown up world, it can be hard to just let ourselves go, to laugh until our sides hurt and we have tears running down our faces.
I miss that about high school. And here’s the thing – laughing isn’t just fun; it’s good for us. The physical act of laughing actually releases endorphines in our brains.
So I’ve been trying to figure out how to recreate it. I’m trying to find the humor where I can, to let go a little. And when life itself isn’t feeling that funny, I opt for a little momentary laugh break with the help of funny babies or silly animals on You Tube. A few deep cackles can improve my mood for hours.
I might not be able to return to the hilarity of being a kid, but I can bring a bit more humor into my grown-up life. And my days will be better for it.