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Karyn Buxman | How to Laugh Through Life
Karyn Buxman Speech

Karyn Buxman | How to Laugh Through Life

Karyn Buxman - Live. Love. Laugh.

First it was her son, then it was her mother. Struck by double the tragedy, Karyn Buxman reveals the true antidote to life’s age old question: Is it all worth it?


What if getting up in the morning could be more fun? What if going to work and just starting our day could be more fun? When your body is feeling bruised and sore, and when your spirit is feeling tired, and when your mind is just beside itself with anxiety and stress it's so easy sometimes to lose that enthusiasm. I know that there is a handful of people who at this very moment are going through a really tough time.

My oldest son David, he's a football player kind of kid. One morning he wakes up with a pain in chest and it turns out that he had a fist-sized cancerous tumor in his chest. And so we went through weeks and months of extensive chemotherapy, my strapping football player lost all of his hair, had to have surgery and crack his chest open. And while I'm staying with David during his chemotherapy I get a phone call from my dad he said, "How soon can you be home?"

I said, "What's wrong?"

He said, "Your mom was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's."

My mom was so inspiring I thought she was the bravest person on the planet. When I was 16 years old she had given up nursing and anesthesia to take up flying. And she told me once when she was going through the disease, "I'm so glad I learned about the power of humor." As a matter of fact, at one point I was taking her to a doctor's appointment and then she said to me, "I need your help."

I said, "Mom, whatever you want. What can I do for you?"

She said, "I need to know how to tell the difference between your father Lamone and that other guy that looks just like him." Uh, I didn't know whether to laugh or throw up. That wave of nausea because I didn't realize it was that bad, that she really thought there was two guys in the house.

And I said to mom, "Okay, here's what you do. The next time you see one of these guys you say, 'Lamone?' And if he says, 'What Shirley?' That's dad. If he says 'Whose Lamone?' That's the other guy."

She laughed and said, "I can do that."

And I discovered that for most adults humor comes from pain and discomfort. We're not laughing about a great hair day. We're not laughing about a sexy figure. We're not laughing about having lots of money. We're laughing about the things that make us crazy. When you've got those days that it's just so hard, here's an intentional thing that you can do. Create a playlist. Come up with at least 10 things that you say, "Yeah, I think these are fun for me." Now, the trick is at least half of them have to cost $5 or less. When you are most in need of something fun to do is when you're least going to be able to think of it. So, coming up with a playlist, creating an awareness, manipulating your environment, manipulating your mindset, you can have an amusing life.

But if you want an amazing life then you be intentional about the other aspects of your life. Actually think, "What do I want?" To ride the rollercoaster with the wind in your hair. To delight in a child's giggle, a smile from a stranger. To see the joy and wonder amid the pain in a baby's first cry, or a loved one's last breath. Whatever's required at that moment to keep yourself moving forward, to grasp the game of life, to play hard, to win gracefully, to lose honorably, to find the humor in life's absurdities, to be able to laugh at yourself, to have an attitude of gratitude and a forgiving spirit, to live each day amazed and amused. This is to experience true success.

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