I chose my word: smile. Oh, and I'm keeping a list of my laugh attacks.



Saskia Keultjes, illustrator and gif nerd (see the eyes on this dress move). 
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I chose it.

I’ve joined countless others and chose a word to guide my thoughts and actions for the coming year. It will be the how of what I think, say, and do.

(If you’re unfamiliar with what this “choose a word is all about” check out what my oh-my-heavens-are-they-incredible blog friends LivSarah, and Kelly say about it. (Kelly makes me laugh; she's still looking for her word.)

My word is love (it’s always love) and SMILE. As in lift my lips up ever so slightly no matter what shows up. (This is one of the things I learned from Thich Nhat Hanh.)

I'm not suggesting stuffing feelings. (I believe feeling equals healing.) Rather, I want to practice feeling joy in all circumstances.

And it’s not a new one. This page from my 2006 journal (after my son passed on) is proof:


I want to consciously and more consistently practice smiling.

To extend this smile choice a bit, I’ve also decided to keep a laugh attack journal to record the times when I laugh like the dickens. It will hold laughs to come and those I recall.

I’ll tell you one on the list though I realize that stories like these are usually “you have to be there” to get it.

It happened about 6 years ago. Terry (partner) and I are traveling. (Honey, if you're here, this is too good not to share.)

Just before landing in Amsterdam, tired and eager to get out of the plane, I look over at Terry. He’s holding his glasses in his hands. They're broken in half in the middle at the nose piece. Fumbling, he tries to wear two monocles, each held on by one ear and unconnected in the middle. One lens is popped out. 

Uh oh.

I watch as he takes that lens and gently places it in his pocket. No words. Just that.

If that had happened to me it would be no problem. I’m not legally blind and without a backup pair of glasses and scheduled to do a public lecture in two days.

They’re pretty crooked and I’m imagining that lecture.

I want to blame my behavior on a lack of sleep, but I start a quiet giggle and then all out laughter. I can’t stop laughing. Terry knows I’m not laughing at him, but this is not the least bit funny to him.

So we do what we always do. Gather our luggage, take the train to the city, and head for our hotel.

It’s located in midtown. We’re tired, and one of us is crabby. The other—she still can’t stop laughing.

Usually we walk to our hotel. But we decide to hire one of those bike cabs used for romantic street roams to enjoy the architecture and canals.

The cabbie drags our luggage (two heavy bags) to the back rack and plops them in. I get the first hint that this is a bad idea. Why we didn’t just take a car cab, I don’t know.

In we get.

Terry and I are hunched and sitting close in a rickety basket. Real close. I could kiss that one lens with no movement.

Okay. I’m crying laughing as I write this.

The cabbie gets going. He’s breathing hard and visibly struggling. We’re headed for a steep bridge. About three quarters of the way up, the biker is suspended in motion standing up with the pedals even. He’s trying with all his might but he can’t move us forward. We’re going nowhere.

I look over at one-eyed Terry and laugh as if I’d been storing hilarious for a year.

We get out and the cabbie walks the bike over the hill.

This is what I’m talking about.

My journal simply holds a notation of the event (Amsterdam bike cab ride the day Terry’s glasses break). Maybe I’ll record my laugh attacks as stories.

Writing this shows that I chose the right words this year.

Now to calm down. 

25 comments:

  1. Laughing to tears with you on this one! Something about all the elements like you both being tired and you wanting to stifle a bit because the others present weren't in such good humor. Heh-he-he! I'm glad you are shining a spotlight on this favorite topic of mine! Smile!

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    1. Oh good. I know--a funny gets extra funny when we're not supposed to laugh. And thanks for joining in, Michelle. Now, I wonder what Terry would say, like worry about yourself! More LOL. He didn't even care how silly he looked, but then he had other concerns: like accidentally walking into a canal. Now, who would be laughing if I had to go in after him!!!

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  2. Oh, please do record your laugh attacks! Please! I can't wait to laugh along with you all year!

    (How did Terry cope with his lecture?)

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    1. Harmony, you just gave me an idea. I'll intersperse laughs along the way!

      (He found an open eye shop and ordered a new pair of glasses using his lens. 24 hour turn around. I think he paid heavily for that. Lucky man.)

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  3. I am in stitches here Susan. Stitches. The vision of him clutching a pair of monacles on the plane... then the build up as he continues to sport one ... on to the biker suspended mid peddle... That is just too much. Laughing out loud here. Poppy (pup) has retreated upstairs to her bed after casting me one of her "you're laughing TOO loud!" looks. So funny. Thank you. Such a great way to start the day. And thank you for your kind mention of me.
    I'm going to go back and reread this piece. Right now.

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    1. So you don't have to be there to get that this was funny! Thanks Kelly, and your reckoning with the whole choose a word thing is amusing and funny and reminds me that our word can morph.

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  4. Whoopsie - forgot to comment on the laugh attack journal. I out and out stealing this idea. Brilliant.

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    1. I can't wait to read yours. I bet you're gonna have a hard time choosing!

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  5. I just love the idea of having a laugh journal - I don't think we pay enough attention to those moments that just crack us up controllably and sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to it. What a great way to remembe the joy you felt. I'm glad to read in the comments Terry got glasses in the end!

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    1. Many thanks for your visit and vote for laughter, Vickie.

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  6. I just started a women's group, and we're reading through the book of Philippians. It's all about finding joy in all circumstances. Such a tough thing to do, but what a difference it makes!

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    1. Yes, Ann--I'm a "kiss the joy as it flies" gal. Thanks for your visit.

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  7. Seriously laugh-out-loud hilarious! And what a totally delightful guiding star word for your year. You've already passed on one of them to me already. Keep up the good work. And lease pgive us regular peeks into your laugh journal ;-)

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    1. Thanks so much Deborah! Yeah for more laughter this year. I'll share. xo

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  8. What a great idea! I know how powerless you are to stop laughing when under a laugh attack, when you reach the point you can't catch your breath and there's still no stopping...even when your partner is not the least bit amused. I never thought of keeping a journal but why not? What a cool thing to look back on someday. :-)

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    1. The journal is so cool! Recording them is a sure laugh. Plus it reminds me of all the fun in the life. Thanks for visiting, Susan.

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  9. Thank you for writing that so beautifully and for sharing it. I got the giggles half way through and could not stop. Yes SMILE a perfect word for the year. Now I wonder if Kelly has found hers yet.

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    1. Thanks Karen! xo Kelly's blog is a place where I find laughter. She's a hoot.

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  10. I burst out laughing at your first notice of the glasses, and ended up cry-laughing at the cabbie standing still, pedals even. Isn't it interesting that both laughing and crying can bring tears?

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    1. Yes! I'm usually crying when I laugh! Thanks for telling me you found funny here.

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  11. Love your laugh attack story!!! It had me giggling... :) I can see the whole thing and it will keep me smiling for the rest of the day! Thank YOU! ♥

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  12. I would have never thought of a laugh journal but it is a fabulous idea. and your story- Amazing. You had me laughing!

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    1. Oh Sue, thanks. I have a few other laughs up my sleeve. I think I'll write them here to remember.

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