Recently at the funeral of a lovely ninety-three year old woman, I was particularly taken by one of the many beautiful, funny and endearing comments made about her. One of the things said about her was that she had ‘the ability to not take herself too seriously’ and she often advised others to do the same. This resulted in a life lived honestly, with humour and with a good sense of personal self and enjoyment. She was loved by her family, flourished in roles as parent, grand-parent and great grand-parent. She lived a simple life but a life that had meaning.
I thought about the comment for some time. I admire people who can live straight forward lives and be clear about where they stand on issues, big and small. I love to see people passionate about specific interests and pursue them with genuine enjoyment and fun.
Now I know the example I give is about someone who lived the majority of her life when perhaps, personal choices were less and times where more defined regarding employment, gender, social and economical opportunities. However, when I listen to the stories and lives of our older generations, I can’t help but think that perhaps they had a few things right. Not that for one moment, do I want to forgo the opportunities that my generation and my children’s cohort are experiencing but maybe, just maybe, there are lessons to be learnt about how to think about our lives and how we manage ourselves within these new and exciting if not demanding times.
So, when I heard the term ‘she didn’t take herself too seriously’ it struck a chord. I could well afford to stop and think about that notion. Perhaps we are too tense, too worried, too anxious, too intent on getting what we want in life, too focused on appearing successful and on it goes. Somehow, when we pursue the above we inadvertently develop a seriousness that permeates all aspects of our lived experience, we lose the ability to be ourselves. When we take this course we forgo the joy of being able to enjoy simple things, to laugh at ourselves and to just be happy…perhaps. Anyway, from now I’m going to try to remember to loosen up, just a bit!