Life is too weird to be so serious all the time.
A lot of the best things in life are pretty silly . Laughter, flirting, romance, inside jokes, even owning a pet, it's all fairly silly and fun stuff. I think a lot of us could do with some extra silliness in our lives. I know personally that I've gotten a little too stuck in what I call Serious Mode for my liking as the years go by. And looking around at a lot of the other people I interact with, I think almost everyone has gotten just a bit too serious for their own good.
Get out of Serious Mode
There are definitely a lot of things that you really do need to be serious about but there is a difference between taking certain important things seriously and being stuck in Serious Mode pretty much all the time. I think too many of us have gone so far down this path that we're just stuck in Serious Mode by default. And when you get yourself stuck in Serious Mode you are numbing yourself to a lot of the joys of life. Many things in life are better when approached with an attitude of silliness and playfulness. While Serious Mode is an inherently closed off way of living.
Thankfully opening yourself up to some bonus silliness is something that we were born knowing how to do. In countless ways we are socialized to lock our silliness away as we "grow up" but if you just let go of your own restraints a little bit you’ll find silliness there under the surface.
Kids are the silliest people on the planet and anyone who's spent some time sharing a moment of silliness with a child has felt the spark of joy that silliness can bring to your life. I suspect the silliness that children bring to your life is one of the many reasons that those who have kids report having more meaning in their lives. But there’s no reason you are only allowed to act silly when kids are around.
Small Acts of Silliness
So how do we start unshackling ourselves from Serious Mode and embracing silliness more often in our lives? My advice is to start with Small Acts of Silliness.
Small Acts of Silliness are a play on the idea of "small acts of kindness" which is embraced by many different religions endorse as good not only for those that you treat with kindness but good for yourself. So doing things like saying thank you to your bus driver, helping a neighbor, or bringing some treats in for your coworkers.
Small Acts of Silliness are similarly effective, though can be more aimed at amusing yourself than anyone around you. There are limitless ways to incorporate little acts of silliness in your life but here are some ideas that might help get you get started:
- Play the air guitar or drums along to your favorite song
- Share a pun with a friend
- Blow out the straw wrapper as a "bullet" at your friend
- Put on your favorite sci-fi soundtrack while driving and pretend you're driving a space ship
- Make fun shapes out of your food
- Intentionally step on the cracks in the sidewalk while walking
- Wear some fun socks
- Make a meme and share it with your group chat
A lot of these may sound stupid, pointless, or embarrassing but that's the whole point. Life is better when you embrace the cringe and live a little silly. Give it a try for a few weeks. I promise you'll end up at least a bit happier.
Note that silly throughout this post refers to things that are playful, joyful, happy, fun, etc. Me calling something silly is not a dismissive value judgement as the word silly is often used. Silliness is a positive trait here. ↩︎