That Serious Face

10 Jul

Do you often front your serious face?  Sometimes, I worry it’s the only face I wear.

I carry casual conversation too seriously; I drink a cup of water too seriously; I’m telling you, I’m a Capricorn and any other Capricorn will tell you that when we tell a joke, it’s like we’re delivering it like the Gettysburg Address.  Gravity is in my nature, my DNA.

Although, recently, I’m starting to rethink that.  And going to the Kentucky Derby earlier this year helped that come to the forefront.


I was all set to surprise my sister, something my family likes to do from time to time.  We secretly buy me a ticket to Louisville, (my hometown) we purposely don’t bring it up anywhere near her, and the minute I touch land they pick me up and we throw her a curveball by showing up to where she is.  I was supposed to arrive on a Wednesday evening, but 30 minutes before we were all set to board, our flight was completely cancelled.  I was rebooked for the next morning, set to depart at the humane time of 6:00 AM, and spent most the evening and accompanying early morning hours fuming at the nearly $125 of wasted cab fare I had to spend to get back and forth from the airport so many times.

I board my flight to Kentucky, what is normally a smallish plane that is typically half-full, and am shocked to see it jam-packed full of people, everyone in bright pastels, the women in large, obtrusive traditional Derby hats, all anxiously awaiting their arrival so they can run to the horse tracks.  I sit wedged next to two hefty women, and as we wait impatiently, we are informed our flight is delayed at least another hour.  We all cry out exclamations, I am completely stewing in a web of fury, my blood pressure rises to a point I don’t think I can take it anymore when I suddenly look down at my shirt, a bright pink button-down, which I was instructed to wear to the festivities given my propensity to sport my usual New York black and grays — and I chuckle.

Me, a Capricorn, suffering from sleep deprivation and abuse from the airline — delayed, and chuckling.

What I Practically Looked Like Dressed for Derby.

What I Practically Looked Like Dressed for Derby.

Why am I taking this so seriously? I kept wondering  Why are we all taking this so seriously?  We are rushing to a small town in the middle of the country, sporting big hats and bright shirts, to watch a bunch of horses run around in a circle.  Hell, I practically looked like a cupcake and the women next to me looked like cheap drag queens.  And truly, since that moment, that moment of sitting in my own tempestuousness in my bright pink shirt, I have taken notice of every situation I’m in where I take it very seriously.  And yes, the list is long.

I don’t think this planet is designed for people who take it too seriously; I’m not sure that’s the key to abundance or happiness or even success.  Sure, when we approach situations from a solemn and grave place, we think we are getting ahead, that we are actually beating the system somehow and deserve what we’re trying to achieve more, that this is somehow a tactic that will get us farther along.  But, I’m of the impression that people who are more laid back and carefree actually wind up getting more and becoming less disappointed from this world in the end.  If “all life is a test and only a test, if it were more than a test we would have been given more instructions about what to do and where to go” — as the expression goes — then why take approach it with such sobriety?

Choosing not to take experiences too seriously can wind up cultivating a more authentic experience with it in the end.  Choosing not to take people too seriously can allow you to accept them for who they are.

I was telling a good friend of mine about this very delayed entry I had planned on writing several weeks ago, and she said she thought the topic was relevant as the other morning, she, too, found herself in a flurry of schedules and phone calls and culminating stress.  Her boss, an affable young man who heard her sighing and fretting at her desk, approached her and asked, point blank, “What’s the matter?” And she proceeded to tell him her endless agenda — commitments, activities, obligations, it ran the gamut.  Her boss looked at her, cracked a smile, and earnestly said: “You realize that none of this matters, don’t you?”  And she was dumbstruck, left alone at her desk, her never-ending list of responsibilities having now lost their luster.

Maybe other planets and dimensions are meant to be taken more seriously than this one, I don’t know.  But, the more I look at that famous statue of Buddha, the more I understand why he’s laughing — because down here, you kinda have to.


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