For the last few years, I’ve abandoned making resolutions, but have chosen to adopt a word of the year. For 2012, I chose compassion. Last year, my word was gratitude. For 2014, my word is laughter.

My inclination is to gravitate toward the more serious and intense. I enjoy deep conversations about life, love, struggle and sadness. Small talk is not my strong suit.  This trait dictates that I will not fit in certain circles. For some time, this presented a source of conflict and unnecessary rumination, but now I realize my experiences dictate who I am. I accept that there is an undercurrent of discomfort that is a part of my internal fabric. This relates to my general restlessness, the pendulum that swings between sorrow and happiness, and the general apprehension I sense as time passes from one moment to the next. This inability to get completely comfortable creates a source of tension that prevents me from enjoying the present.

Really sinking into the present is a consistent battle. The anxiety that underlies this dilemma is a prevalent theme that courses through so much of my day. What I am looking for is a way to temper this side of my personality. For the last few weeks, I paid attention to moments when I felt full, present, and light. I realized, although this maybe obvious for most, that this feeling happens when I am laughing or surrounded by laughter. My daughter laughs with her whole body and the sounds of her belly laugh domino and land on my face. A smile emerges and in that single second I am immersed in this almost foreign, but good place. This is how I decided that my word of the year will focus on laughter.

As much as incorporating laughter into my day sounds so easy, I’ve realized that it takes work to really pay attention to those seconds that strike you as funny. I usually laugh at clips of stand-up comedy on You Tube, corny jokes by my husband, and my daughter’s revelations regarding her day at school. There is a release that blossoms with laughter. I think I underestimate its power. Not everything needs the edge of discontent.

Victor Borge once said that “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It may also be the shortest distance to one’s self as well.

Here’s to laughter in 2014.

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