When I was in college, my advisor sat me down for a chat. Most of it was about coursework and career planning, stuff that slid in one ear and out the other like a well-lubed green bean.
But one thing he said stuck with me.
“You have this nervous laugh you do all the time,” he said. “You really need to break that habit.”
I can’t remember my exact response, but I’m certain I laughed.
Then I went home and thought about it. A lot. And over the next few years, I became self conscious about laughing. Was I doing it too much? Was I really nervous?
Looking back with the hindsight of someone who’s lived 36 years and learned a bit about herself in that time, I can tell you the answer is no. I’m not nervous. Not usually, anyway.
I just like to laugh. I like it a lot.
Probably a good thing, considering I write romantic comedy. It might not work as well if I wrote about cancer or the holocaust.
I wish I could go back and grab my 19-year-old self by the ear and whisper, “don’t listen to him. Just be yourself. Keep laughing, it’s what will carry you through life.”
But I figured it out along the way. That was apparent a few days ago when I was boogie boarding in Kauai, and unbeknownst to me, my father shot video of it.
When we played it back later, we both started laughing about…well, my laughing. Maniacal, if you want to get technical, but obviously an indication I was having a pretty good time.
“Anyone who watches that won’t realize I was standing about 70 feet away,” my dad said. “That’s how loudly you were laughing.”
I’m OK with that. Whether nervous or maniacal, I’m proud to be laughing my way through life.
Have you ever gotten advice you later realized wasn’t quite right? Something that steered you wrong early in life, perhaps? Please share!
And please feel free to laugh with me. Or at me, whatever rolls your socks up.