Seriousness makes one dull and dry. It feeds the ego and is an unnecessary burden that many of us bare.  

Once upon a time I was a happy, carefree person who faced life with confidence and joy. I was a fun person.  Yet, I recently glanced in the mirror and saw a somber, serious person staring back at me.  This person has no twinkle in her eyes, no impish grin to indicate a sense of fun.  She appeared consumed by the serious business of living and focused on pleasing others.  I knew that she was consumed by a sense of duty and political correctness and worried that her best effort wouldn’t be good enough.  Her focus on living up to the expectations of others was so deep that, when traumatic events or tragic situations occur, she suppressed her emotions in order to remain strong for others.

How did the somber creature in the mirror gain control of my life?  Why was I playing by others’ rules? When did I give up and stop believing that I had the power to live on my own terms?  Frankly, I wasn’t sure when or how in the hell this happened.  But, living by other folks rules is limiting the joy and fun in my life and I vow to lighten up and reconnect with the person I once was. I declared to again view each day as an adventure – not a chore. Therefore, I’ll no longer live others’ rules. Instead, I’ll shape my life around rules that make sense to me.

My new life rules include:

  • Accept that I don’t have to become a worthy human being. I already am one.
  • Focus on my personal goals, not those imposed by others.
  • Determine my own success.
  • Be grateful for every breathtakingly gorgeous moment that life offers.
  • Embrace laughter, fun and joy whenever they enter my life.
  • Notice simple things like a ray of sunlight or the twinkle in a child’s eyes.
  • Relax into the moment.
  • Love myself
  • Be still and trust God to make it right.

Don’t waste time worrying about things that are completely trivial.  I can almost guarantee that, as you reach the end of your life, you won’t care what you cooked for dinner (or even if you cooked at all). You won’t be thinking about the ex-lover who did you wrong or the friend who never called you back. More likely than not, you’ll be thinking about the people you love and the relationships you shared with them.  You’ll be thinking about the moments of beauty you missed because you were busy taking life too seriously.

Life should be less about how much fortune, fame or public acclaim you can amass. It should be less about how many others you pleased or how many breaths you have taken. Rather it should be measured by the laughter and joy you experienced and the moments that took your breath away.

Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV.  Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.comShare your thoughts and opinions with her at