It would be fair to argue that I’m likely one of those folks you mention, given some of my history. There are some shared characteristics, surely. I’m not sure that hope is necessarily mine, but I would argue pretty strenuously that not buying into a victim mentality is a big part of it. I don’t have time for Poor Me. Honestly. One of my favorite people, a woman I met here on Medium, recently shared some of her most intimate and horrific details of her life. We were howling with laughter. I nearly wet my pants. What had happened to her was beyond comprehension. I have gone through much the same things (I can’t share, it’s her choice to write about it). Yet it was FUNNY. You cannot put a value on the ability to make fun of what threatens us. What scares us. What has beaten us to a pulp. Yet in the middle of the worst, those who find the funny find a way out. And after all that, she, as I am a multiple rape survivor and far more, are immensely happy, vibrant, and intensely grateful.
We are both 67, athletes, pilots, scuba divers, horse riders, adventure travelers, too. You see where I’m going with this. Both of us have been through living hell. We are scarred, embattled, and by god we are still laughing.
I read an article recently about how those who were possessed of a certain gift of black humor were far more able to move through the worst of times and thrive. That’s probably why in my own circle, all of them are immensely bright, wickedly sarcastic, stupidly funny and willing to skewer what we see around us.
Plenty of folks find that kind of humor offensive. They think we’re not taking things seriously enough. I beg to differ. Most folks, had they been through what we’ve been through (in my case, a broken back, smashed pelvis and at least three near death experiences skydiving and scuba diving among many others, same with my friend) they’d be dead, a quadriplegic or worse. In my case, some of those event were so funny that I had the EMTs in stitches even as they were trying to put morphine into my vein.
This is what EQ looks like in practice.
In no way would we make light of others’ losses. However when it comes to our own circumstances, all bets are off. Our favorite targets are ourselves, which allows for much hilarity. That hilarity has on more than one occasion gotten me better twice as fast as my peeps, back in the gym and on the horse again after massive injuries.
Life is one lengthy laff riot, punctuated by periodic nastiness, which, as it recedes, becomes more laff fodder. To me and to those in my circle, you’ve got a choice. Get beaten to crap by life, or be lifted up by it. None of us is going to make it out alive, and in the meantime I would much prefer to have more fun along the way than be a mass of complaints, ailments, self-righteousness and entitlement. I am entitled- I got this life. Nothing else. What I do with it is up to me.