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Do this – you’ll live happier

What do you need to be free from?

That’s a pretty big question, when you ask someone just like that. I’ve posted a podcast about it, and the answers from friends ranged from “fear” to “expectations of others” and the like… we all get pretty philosophical around the answers to this question.

But I think that really, the answer is much more simple. We need to be free to laugh more. Think about it. How often do you laugh? When was the last time you had a good, genuine, joyful laugh?

I was invited to play at a wedding the other day. Beforehand, I met with the bridal couple and chatted about the expectations for the day. It was clear that the day was going to be very relaxed.

But I wasn’t quite ready for what I was about to learn. There was much laughter. There was dancing – to nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a vocal. And everyone sang along. There was an inherit freedom to party, dance, to be themselves. Unashamedly. Like kids.

So I’ve adopted some new resolutions for the new year…

1. Occasionally, I’m on cooking duty for the family. I like to have music on while I’m in the kitchen, something to drink and there’s generally one rule: if you come into the kitchen and there’s music playing, you have to dance. Needless to say, the kids always pull in for a jam.

Get your jam on

2. Kids in a crowd dilute everything. That’s probably why I enjoy shows that incorporate the whole family. So I’m aiming for more of those kinds of shows in 2020. If the kids are feeling it and start busting a move, the very least the adults do is smile. The lid gets lifted off adult inhibitions, and we feel – at the very least, internally – some sense of joy.

3. We had dinner with friends the other evening, playing some board games. After a couple of glasses of wine and some banter between the guys’ team versus the girls’ team, we were on a serious roll with the laughs. And the next morning, my pal messaged me to say he hadn’t done that in a while. This is worth noting ahead of the new year, and worth redeeming.

When I was in school, I remember studying a poem called Old Folks Laugh. I think there’s much to be reminded of here:

Old Folks Laugh

They have spent their
content of simpering
holding their lips this
and that way, winding
the lines between
their brows. Old folks
allow their bellies to jiggle like slow
tambourines.
The hollers
rise up and spill
over any way they want.
When old folks laugh, they free the world.
They turn slowly, slyly knowing
the best and worst
of remembering.
Saliva glistens in
the corners of their mouths,
their heads wobble
on brittle necks, but
their laps
are filled with memories.
When old folks laugh, they consider the promise
of dear painless death, and generously
forgive life for happening
to them

Donate towards the Great Deep.

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