Sometimes, I snort when I laugh.
I'm not embarrassed by this -- although some might argue I should be -- because when it happens, it generally makes me laugh even harder and persuades others around me to laugh, as well. So really, I feel like I'm accomplishing something.
When I spoke at my high school graduation, the theme of my speech was based off some variation of the quote in the title: life isn't meant to be taken seriously. "Life is so much better when you take time to play on the swings," I proclaimed with the sagacity of my 18 years. It was a lesson I had learned junior and senior year of high school; and as the type of student whose own mother used to tell her to ease up on the school work ("don't take it so seriously!"), it felt like a revelation.
The problem is, this is a lesson easily forgotten. I can point to times throughout my life when I have lived this mantra, and times when I have gone in almost entirely the opposite direction: a period during college when my anorexia felt like an Eeyore raincloud enshrouding me; a period after college where my roommate and I routinely danced in our apartment living room with the blinds open, facing Connecticut Ave at rush hour; a few months of despair when a relationship and a job ended at the same time; a fall where I ate, drank, and marveled my way through my city with a new friend.
The older I get, the harder I have to work to remind myself not to take things so seriously. But the moments when I let go are full of so much jubilance and freedom that they serve to highlight their own importance. Christmas Eve this year found me and my aunt crying with laughter over a joke that was not half so funny to the rest of the family. As I wiped my tears and gave a final giggle, I couldn't remember the last time I had laughed so hard. So I resolved to find a way to do it more often.
I don't really do New Year's resolutions, but maybe this year we can promise to give our friends and family more reasons to laugh so hard they snort. Because, as Oscar Wilde may or may not have said, life is too important to be taken seriously.