The Unimportance Of Being Serious

It might surprise you to learn, that – more often than not – while swiping away on my dating adventures, I do spend a second or two to take in the blurbs that accompany the face I am looking at. Sometimes it is actually fun reading, even if it’s just to screenshot the spelling mistakes or some outrageous statement and forward them with a number of expressionist emojis to my lovely Nat (she used to be a teacher after all so she shares my cringes on those).

There is one sentence though that keeps popping up though and the more (Dear Lord please let this be grammatically correct) I read it, the less I like it. ‘I’m not taking life too seriously’ or the fairly similar ‘I’m not taking myself too seriously’. Actually, the latter does strike me as being slightly worse. Now at first you think, okay cool, this person must be fun and easy-going. Nice company and good for a laugh. But does it really say that? I really don’t believe it does. Not once you give it some thought. I’m sure, I’m pretty cool to hang out with. I can laugh about myself, goof around with friends and be fun. But I would hesitate to call that not taking myself seriously. More so, and maybe given my own struggles with depression and the darkness that comes with that my view is very biased, but I feel really uncomfortable and actually very, very sad to think someone doesn’t take life too seriously.

Normally when we use the words ‘ not serious’, we try to diminish or devalue something that’s going on. Someone cut their finger chopping carrots? Ah don’t worry about it, it was nothing serious. This guy didn’t call again after a couple of dates? Never mind, you weren’t serious yet anyway. You had to go to the doctors? Oh thank God, it was nothing serious at all. You get my drift. Of course on the other hand, if something is indeed serious, it bears an air of gravitas, of bad and somber. So deep down, ‘not serious’ does not necessarily strike me as something particularly good.

So if someone doesn’t take themselves seriously, it does make me wonder what they are trying to say. Or how they see themselves. And I cannot help but see it as a lack of self worth even though I am sure they would very much beg to differ. But then why phrase it like that? Just imagine you would say this about yourself in an interview. I am willing to bet money you won’t get the job. Because you are selling yourself short. And you should never, ever do that. Have a good sense of humour, being able to laugh about yourself. That sounds a lot nicer. At least in my opinion.

And this whole thing about not taking life too seriously. You always, always should. It’s the most precious gift you have been given. Every minute of it counts and there are plenty of people who have theirs cut short through no fault of their own and they would give anything to have more of it.

You can believe me when I say this because I have been in the dark more than once and wondered if it would be better to not continue with living. Because it seemed so hard and painful and impossible that ending this wretched existence just seemed to be the only sensible conclusion because that way my mind and soul would finally be able to find peace. I cannot even begin to tell you just how grateful I am that I never ever succeeded in putting those thoughts into practice.

That does not mean you have to be serious all the time, not at all. Live with a light heart. Have a sunny disposition and a positive outlook. Be an eternal optimist. Peep through the keyholes, pull the curtains back and climb over the walls. But don’t depreciate the value of life – your life – by not taking too seriously.

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