It's that time of year again: December is drawing to a close, and people are contemplating the clean slate they're about to be handed. Thousands are making their vows that this is the year -- the year they'll finally lose the weight, start eating right, quit smoking, mend that broken relationship.
I'm not usually a big resolution-maker, probably because I know I'll fail by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so why even bother? That's why I hadn't given much thought to New Year's resolutions... until the other day.
My son and I sat on the window seat at my in-laws' house and played the game where you hide something in one fist and the other person guesses which hand holds the item. The twist was that I had dropped the item behind me and each hand was empty.
Eli guessed time after time, each guess revealing an empty palm. As the game went on, I wouldn't even put my hands behind my back to "swap" the imaginary item before holding them out to him again, but he was oblivious, smacking the top of my fist over and over and giggling like a maniac. He wasn't the only one giggling. By the end of the game, we were both practically in tears, not because it was even that funny, but because we were just having fun together.
That was when it hit me: How often do I laugh like that? I could specifically remember the time before. It was Thanksgiving Day at my parents' house. All the girls in the family were cracking up about one of those awkward family photos we'd seen. Then my cousin and I systematically swiped everyone's phones and changed their Facebook status to something harmless, yet slightly embarrassing.
Was it juvenile? Sure. But is behaving like a kid every now and again such a bad thing? At what point do we start taking life so seriously that we stop having fun? I've heard it said that while children typically laugh somewhere between 300-400 times a day, adults only laugh around a dozen times a day.
The fact that I could look back and specifically remember the last time I'd had a good laugh was telling. Clearly I don't do it enough. So this year my New Year's resolution is simple:
I want to laugh more.
I want to stop thinking I need to be so "grown-up" all the time. I want to ignore the people who might look at me and roll their eyes, ignore the people who don't share my particular style of humor, and I want to laugh. Little giggles; big guffaws; the silent ones accompanied by tears rolling down my cheeks; the ones that catch me by surprise and shoot snot out my nose. However it happens, I want to LAUGH!
I have a feeling that if I can keep this simple resolution, I'll succeed with some of those other resolutions, too: improving relationships, feeling better, being healthier. Hey, maybe this will be the start of a new dieting craze. It sure beats cutting out carbs!