Monday, May 2, 2011

Good Friends and Tattoos

The last week has been... awesome, emotional, stressful, busy, exciting, a growing experience. I have basically practiced Jim Valvano's wisdom all week:
"To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."
Well, audience, I must have had something special. When thinking about this little nugget of wisdom, I realize how grateful I am that I have friends, family, and coworkers that really do make it possible (and very likely) that I will laugh. Every. Single. Day. How great is that?! Here are some facts about laughter:
  • Laughter lowers the levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. Lowering these levels enhances the work of the immune system and may prevent disease.
  • You can stimulate your heart and lungs, elevate your blood pressure and improve breathing capacity by laughing.
  • In terms of exercise, you can get the same benefits from laughing 100 times a day, as you can from 10 minutes of rowing.
  • 15 minutes of laughter equals the benefit of 2 hours sleep.
  • One good belly laugh burns off 3 1/2 calories.
But that's not all Jim talked about. Thinking. Thinking every day. Well, of course I do this. But in the last week, I've done some excessive thinking, both good and bad. I spent a decent chunk of a day thinking about whether a relationship was working for me. Good thinking to do, yes. Happy-thoughts-producing? Not so much. I then spent an evening talking with some friends after a volleyball game. I did some thinking there too - my friends sure know how to bring up topics that require deep thinking! But we also laughed. A whole lot.

But my favorite thinking memory from the last week? Spending 1:30pm-midnight on Friday (with just a brief two hour break) with a great friend. We were supposed to be planning our Happiness Project group. We did get a few goals jotted down, but we spent most of the day and night just talking, reliving experiences, comparing pasts, analyzing ourselves...thinking about what our lives have taught us. It truly is an incredible feeling to have a friend that I can do that with. A little freaky at times with how similar we are, but I feel so, so lucky.

And then, the third thing Jim thinks we should all do every day: cry. Honestly, why did that have to be on this list? Is it really necessary to cry to have a full day? Well, let me tell you. I think I cried almost every day this last week. A mix of happy tears (from all that laughing, you see) and not so happy tears (from the thinking, of course). I also cried on my first real bike ride in probably 4 years. But I don't want to talk about that! But all of those other cries? Awesome. I've found that crying, like blogging, is an incredible release. I can just let out all of my stress, fears, pain and feel a new breath when I've finished. And being moved to tears from laughter? If you haven't experienced that, I hope someday you do.

I think this was a great week. I had quite a few amazing nights with the people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. And even though not everything went the way I would want it to, I felt pain, and I was very stressed, I ended the week thinking: life goes on.

And that brings me to the second part of this post's title. As long as everything goes as planned, I will be getting inked on Friday afternoon. The outer edge of my right foot will have an addition: life goes on. What a great reminder to see every single day for the rest of my life!

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." -Robert Frost