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Laughter is, after all, the best medicine

By Vicky O. Misa | Vicky.misa@news-star.com | (405) 214-3962 | Twitter: @Vicky_NewsStar
The Shawnee News-Star
Vicky O. Misa, reporter for The Shawnee News-Star

A bad thing that turned out to be good happened at work.

And what I mean by “at work” is, on my laptop in my makeshift office at home surrounded by the doggos and family — as I have been for nine months now.

Thanks to COVID-19, this year has been a challenging one.

I believe the crushing weight of mounting obstacles, challenges, concerns and unknowns this year seems even more heavy than it was in March, when everyone was first blindsided by the pandemic and its effects.

Why now?

The holidays are here and we're stuck in isolation.

Plus, I think most of us probably never dreamed the crisis would last this long, really.

People are built to endure stress in temporary spurts — typically short periods of time that ebb away eventually so things can return to normal. It's not supposed to be a longterm level of operation.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm discovering with each passing month that normal isn't getting closer, but it's shooting further out of reach.

We cling to the notion that 2020 is just a bad year, as if regular life is going to magically return on Jan. 1, 2021.

I think as the year is closing down, we've rounded a corner that's really forcing us to reassess what we might have expected in the early months.

This thing is not going to go away without a fight. And, let's face it, we're all exhausted from just fighting to survive, let alone kicking it up a notch.

This brings me back to my original note about a bad thing that turned out to be a good thing.

Something happened today that shouldn't have.

Due to a simple mistake, an email meant for a particular somebody was instead sent company-wide. (I'll just say it went to a huge number of people.)

It wasn't on purpose, there was no ill intent or maliciousness involved. It was simply an error.

We didn't have time for it. We are, after all, very busy and under a lot of pressure.

But it happened.

We didn't need it.

Or did we?

In the span of 23 minutes, a flurry of more than 80 email notifications blew up computers, phones, tablets — you name it — as people (replying all) alerted the sender to the error (and everyone else), complained about follow-up responses (to everyone), demanded to be cut loose from the email chain (from everyone) — and worse (to everyone).

Not all the responses were negative, though.

Several people jumped at the opportunity to share (to everyone) the fact that the misdirected email had, in fact, resulted in a bout of laughter, joy and happiness they had long needed and much appreciated.

A coworker of mine and I both (through messaging each other during the short, but hysterical, ordeal) were literally brought to happy tears and uncontrollable laughter as we, too, got to experience the wonderment of human interaction we have all been missing for a long time. What a way to improve the mood.

We were reminded of how important it is to connect to each other, and how so much of that's been taken away for quite some time.

We've all been missing each other terribly, due to circumstances we can't control.

The goofing around, chatting about nothing important and simply seeing each other in person (instead of in an occasional Zoom meeting) are a such a natural part of our daily lives that their absence has caused a lot of sadness and down days.

Those random, seemingly unproductive moments have become more precious than gold.

I'm saying all this in a plea for everyone to be a little kinder and gentler this Christmas season; we've all been through a terribly rough time.

We need each other more than ever.

So, my advice is this, don't be one of the grumpies who are hunkered down so low they can't see over the urgency to get on with the next item on the schedule. We will all continue to work and achieve and complete goals. But for the sake of our mental health, we need to also lift those spirits — ours' and others'.

So take a minute now and then to dig out some joy wherever you can find it and laugh as much as you can stand it.

Try to see the bright side in those ridiculous and unexpected problems as they come — because they will keep coming.

Survival is all about how we react to what we're facing — and who is at our side when we do it.