Laughter is my first lesson in longevity!
Well, it’s not my birthday yet (March 25), but I’m going to go ahead and start the celebration. It is a special one this year. 50! Time to rejoice. I made it. As a matter of fact, I’m going to celebrate it for a whole year. From March 2014 though March 2015, I will be having my own personal “Year of the Greg” right here on this blog.
I think I deserve it. When I was three years old and still not able to walk, my parents were told by doctors that I had Muscular Dystrophy and would not live much more than another decade.
As it turns out, to those doctors credit, they were right about the length of time my spine would hold up. But medical advances in orthopedic surgery gave me a lifeline at age 13 when I had spinal fusion surgery to straighten and support my back. This meant that I could take deep, full breaths and live without the chronic pain of a twisted spine. It also meant that I could no longer walk. That’s when I got the power wheelchair, right before high school. Right before the adventure began.
As I celebrate the “Year of the Greg,” I will be giving credit to people who have been pillars of support my whole life. I will also be passing along tidbits of knowledge that you may find useful in your own life.
Losing it in Laughter!
The first piece of knowledge that leads to longevity is understanding the power of a good laugh. Laughter strengthens us by giving us energy. It removes our focus from physical and psychological pain and takes us away to a place of bliss. Laughter removes us from negative effects of stress. It gives us immediate energy.
Think back to the moments of the single greatest laugh in your life. You remember it. What was so funny? As you remember it, I bet you’ll laugh again.
For me, I was a senior in college at ASU. My cousin, Ron Pope was visiting. We, along with a couple of my frat brothers, went to the mall to try to find some new shirts for me to wear. Finding fashionable clothes that fit me has always been a problem. Because I am so small, I have to always look in the boys section. We went from store to store and found nothing. It became frustrating. Every time someone found something that might fit me, I rejected it because it didn’t look good.
“How about this Smitty?”
My frat brother, Darrin Bumpus, held up a shirt for us to see. He had this stupid look on his face while presenting us a toddler sized t-shirt featuring a little dinosaur wearing a baseball cap swinging a bat!!
And then it started.
We all lost it! Ron started laughing so hard he fell to his knees, started rolling on the floor, slapping the ground with the palm of his hand! I was cracking up, having difficulty sitting upright in my chair! Darren kept trying to get up but would start laughing again he would fall back down to the department store floor. Security came and they smirked too at the sight of the hysterical scene. We managed to regroup and then Darren grabbed another shirt and it all happened again. We just couldn’t stop laughing.
Thinking about that as I write this puts me in a great mood. As I think about it, I feel no frustration. No pressure from my problems. No stress. It feels good to remember that brief moment in 50 years of life. And feeling good is good for your health.
What was the single greatest laugh you’ve ever had. Share it here. Write about it. You’ll feel great as you live those moments again through reflection. Use the “comments” section below.