Why Maintaining Your Sense of Humor During a Pandemic is So Essential
Visualizing into the future is an effective way to deal with the present and to find a way to carry on in the face of adversity and hopelessness. Making sense of the year 2020 is something we will all benefit from doing, I believe. Engaging in mental gymnastics that stretch our imaginations and paint pictures we are able to insert ourselves into will give nourishment to the hollow recesses of our minds. Filling in the empty spaces within the caverns of our thinking brains allows us to write the story we will be telling until we draw our last breath.
It’s a perfectly imagined spring afternoon and I’m sitting at the Café Varenne in Paris, just a short walk from our hotel in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Across the table from me is Luke, my friend, my confidant, my soulmate. He takes my free hand and holds it in his, silently persuading me to put down the croissant that no longer holds my interest. He smiles broadly, I laugh out loud, and it feels like we are the only two people in the world.
After almost two hours we stroll down Rue de Varenne on our way to the Eiffel Tower, just 3 kilometers to the east. We pause along the Seine, holding hands and reminding ourselves of how fortunate we are to be here on this gorgeous day in late April. Together as one, yet separate in our thinking, experiences, beliefs, and the hopes and dreams we hold for our futures. The goal on this trip is to come closer together, converging on the similarities of the human experience.
We are now living in the “new normal” world and grateful for the experiences that eluded us both, along with the almost eight billion other inhabitants of our planet for well over a year. To now be able to walk in public without bobbing and weaving to avoid even the slightest brush with human contact is a gift we once took for granted. Masks have become fashionable and they have now evolved with regards to fabric and capabilities for human health. Even though life during 2020 was more reminiscent of the Jetsons than the Flintstones, the world has now morphed into a magical adventure where everything is possible.
Not everyone made it to this new world. Many were taken by the virus and many more gave up hope early on in the pandemic. Luke lost his mother and sister a month after they attended a crowded outdoor concert. I lost an uncle who never knew how he became infected. We both lost friends and clients and neighbors and acquaintances and people we only knew on social media. They were people who gave up their fight for a life in the future while still in the grips of the present. They had released their hope in the way a young child releases their grip on a balloon and watches it disappear as it makes its way higher and higher into the sky. And when it is gone they cry out for their loss, only to discover their action cannot be taken back.
Hope is a wonderful thing. Without it we have no reason to go on. With hope in our hearts and minds we make a bargain with the future to provide us with something superior to what we are presently experiencing. In Shawshank Redemption Red told us that “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” But he allowed his mind to seek out hope and soon found himself on the beach in the small fishing village of Zihuatenejo, Mexico.
You may be familiar with a poem entitled “Essay on Man.” It was written in 1733 by English poet Alexander Pope, considered to be the foremost poet of the early eighteenth century. You may recognize this excerpt:
Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
Man never is, but always to be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
The Post-Pandemic Future
The world of medicine has turned into what they refer to as “no touch” diagnosis and treatment. Highly trained technicians scan us from head to toe, at a distance of six feet away once a month; first to see what could be even slightly off kilter and then a second time to deliver meds and other healing modalities to repair any abnormalities or issues and rejuvenate our bodies to a high performance state. Autophagy is a state known and accepted by all and the aging process has been slowed down and even reversed in all but the most primitive forms of mammals. Domestic pets and farm animals are covered by personal insurance and receive the same level of care. The consequences of this alone has changed the world forever and alleviated much of the pain and suffering previously experienced by people all over the planet.
Technology has now been embedded in all who requested it. This allows “skin touch” Wi-Fi and access to what was once known as the World Wide Web with the flick of an index finger. Need to contact someone? Touch your palm with the tip of your index finger and they are right there with you, virtually.
Food is plentiful and natural. The word organic describes everything we eat and drink. Canned and boxed foods were eliminated when the new world began and everyone now shops daily for the fresh items provided for us by the farmers and others in the supply chain.
Money is no longer used in exchange for goods and services. It has become something of a collector’s item for those who still have paper and coin currencies in their possession. Our virtual accounts are automatically refilled and we scan with our index finger to signify what we need at any given time.
The new world isn’t perfect, of course. We’ve lost some of our freedom and individualism as we traded it in for conformity and security. I still write every day, but it isn’t the driving passion it had been for me before and during the pandemic. The trade off is worth it, in that my daily life is now filled with expanding my mind, working on physical strength and endurance, and in serving others along their newly found journeys of wellness, peace, and prosperity.
Now I’m back on Rue de Veranne and we’re flagging down a taxi so we can head back to the cafe for an early dinner. The sun is going down and it’s turned chilly enough for us to pause for a moment while I slip on my yellow cashmere sweater. My fingers linger along the soft smoothness of the material and I’m once again grateful for everything I have. God’s tender mercies are evident in every effortless breath I exhale and every step I take. Luke puts his arm around me and I know he is thinking about where his life has taken him up until this moment and where the two of us may go from here. He squeezes my hand as if he can read my thoughts and this brings us even closer.
Maintaining Your Sense of Humor
While it may be true that no one wants to loan money to a person with a sense of humor, there is more to life than business and investing. We must find the joy and bring the fun to every moment of our days. Keep it light and know that this too shall pass. Within the more serious of life’s events there is always something that will make you smile. Reflect and remember the little things you have experienced in life and keep hope alive for your incredible future. When I think of the saddest moments in my life, like losing a young grandchild to an insidious illness I am still reminded of the laughter shared in her hospital room during those final hours. We cried tears of joy as she transitioned to the non-physical plane and that is what I choose to remember.
What’s so funny about surviving a pandemic? You may be asking yourself this right now while wearing a gloomy face. The important thing to remember is that humor is very personal and requires you to see and believe in multiple perspectives. I have found more humor in the events and happenings of 2020 than of the previous ten years put together. There is a fine line between humor and tragedy, laughter and tears and it is up to us to decide which side of the fence we will be on each day. I challenge you to choose the path that will bring you closer to hope for the new world that’s emerging. The best is yet to come if you can see it that way. Check in with yourself morning and night to discover how you are feeling and what you can do in the moment to bring you closer to joy. This will be time well spent when you look into the rearview mirror in the future.
This article was originally published on my site at https://mondaymorningmellow.com/sense-of-humor-during-a-pandemic/.
I’m Connie Ragen Green, looking forward with eager anticipation to this new world of wonder, hope, and possibility. My goal and intention is to connect with you there so we may skip and frolic along the sandy beach, moving in and out of the splashing waves bouncing against the shoreline, and picking up the most unique seashells that hold the mysteries of the universe.