9 months ago

Does Humour Really Decrease As You Age?

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Television producer and author MAÏA DUNPHY on the importance of preserving humour  …

Remember that ad for milk where the weird, life-sized artist’s manikin warbled “a child’s got more bones than a grown-up’s got”? Well unfortunately for us grown-ups, the same can be said for funny bones. One of the inalienable facts of life is that the kind of belly-aching, heart-stopping attacks of laughter you had so frequently as a child come along far less frequently once you’re old enough for a mortgage and reality. As we age, humour decreases almost as fast as collagen, and I have yet to see a clinic offering funny-fillers. However, I’m happy to reveal that laughter and adulthood are not mutually exclusive; it’s just that you have to try a bit harder to find the funny. Walk past a playground full of kids, and you will hear peals of laughter and delighted shrieks; walk past a coffee shop during business lunch hours, and you probably won’t (unless someone has hilariously given the barista a fake name to write on a cup. “Petra Fied? Skinny soy latte for Petra Fied?”).

We need humour as much as we need air, we just don’t always realise it. Humour is what makes the mundane better and the miserable bearable, it’s the enemy of apathy and the best thing about it is that it can always be resurrected, no matter how long it’s been dead. Unless of course you never had a sense of humour in the first place, in which case I’m sorry to say it’s like going bald and no hairpiece you buy will ever look real.

Maintaining a sense of humour is often about how you react to things – a smashed glass, burnt toast or a toddler dropping your phone into the toilet. Choosing to take a deep breath and find the funny in things that cannot be changed is life-changing. Try it. And please don’t give baristas fake names; that stopped being funny in 2016.

Maïa Dunphy

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