I am quickly learning how adult life is riddled with anxiety and uncertainty. And by quickly learning I mean I'm pretty much already there. To be completely honest, I am surprised that no one prepared me for this. No one took me aside as a child and warned me about the actual things that would give me trouble on a daily basis. No teacher, no baby sitter, no ambiguously related family member once removed on my sister's side. Not one! In fact, I think that to a large extent, adults in many parts of my life contributed to the current anxiety that seems to follow me around like an unwanted shadow.
Under no intention of their own, teachers, parents, and mentors alike seem to think it is taboo or even scandalous to not know what you want to do with your life. Or to not know who you are. Everyone seems comfier when there is a plan. Even if that plan is a lie. A plan for college, a plan for a job, a plan for a relationship. All important things that deserve an honest approach if nothing else.
People don't know what to say or do when things are left open-ended. Like every supervillain in every action thriller, many people are guilty of not liking loose ends. This leaves us, the people with infinite loose ends, the expectation that if we do not have things figured out, then we must be doing something wrong. We must be defected in some way or another. Which, from a human nature standpoint, kind of makes sense, fear of the unknown. This is a harmful stigma, one that will take active effort to break but must be broken nonetheless.
In the midst of the chaos that is adult life, as an admittedly anxious individual, I find it can be difficult to cope with everything that is swarming around me on a daily basis. Whether it be friends, work, volunteering, or getting to the goddamn grocery store before I run out of dinner options. It can all be a bit suffocating at times. And it is difficult to find a constructive way to deal with this suffocation.
Retreating to my bed and scrolling through my phone is a comfort, but is only a temporary fix. I do nothing with that time but waste it. Often, it means returning back to real life feeling worse than before. So I challenged myself. I challenged myself to find a proactive antidote. Something that not only numbed the anxiety of the moment but yielded lasting effects for my future self to capitalize on. And this magic potion isn't what any self-help book or therapist will tell you, at least not to my knowledge. Believe me, I've tried their magic.
Even though exercise does make me feel better, and self-awareness makes me happier on the whole, and planning my days makes me feel productive, these things are not my catch-all. That, my good sir, is laughter. If there is one thing I've learned, it is that there is no better feeling than laughing until you cry. Even laughing until you can't breathe. Honestly, the more you break down the better.
For me, this is like crack. Bad example, this is like weed. A healthy alternative to weed. It takes the edge off and, bonus, it's way, way less expensive. It's something I know to go to when I need to pick my mood up or even just forget about the difficult moments I would otherwise be going through. Laughter is comfort. Laughter is happiness.
So I've embraced the silly.
That was a bad line but once I wrote it, it was never going to not make it into the piece.
I was fortunate enough recently to have been able to go see not only one of my favorite comedians but my favorite humans. I admittingly unhealthily obsess over this man, John Mulaney. I can promise it is not in a creepy way, I would never. It is in a loving way. I love his presence on this earth because the content that he creates just makes me so damn happy. So many of my laughs belong to him.
His comedy specials are honestly the thing I turn to when I really need to un-sad. So in a nutshell, I am a board certified fangirl. Getting to my actual point, going to this live show not only made my night, my day, my week, and maybe even my year, but it also got me thinking about how truly powerful laughter is. The most positive of distractions and the most wonderful of actions.
So I invite you to seek out the funny more in your life.
And if you haven't already, go watch John Mulaney's Netflix specials in this order:
- "New in Town"
- "The Comeback Kid"
- "Kid Gorgeous"
And if you fall in love with him as I have and are in dire need of more Mulaney content, here is my short list:
- Nick Kroll and John Mulaney's Opening Monologue at the 2017 Film independent spirit awards
- John Mulaney and Pete Davidson Review Clint Eastwood's "The Mule'"
- "Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse," in addition to this being just a fucking outstanding movie, Mulaney plays Peter Porker