I've discovered aging is a mixed blessing.
As the years have marched across my face, they've left wrinkles and sags in their path. And the once-limber joints are now telling me when the weather is changing.
But the news isn't all bad. Growing older has also honed my sense of humor.
In today's world, a good sense of humor is the best shock absorber you can have for life.
I recently read a phrase that sums up that philosophy: "He who laughs, lasts."
No matter what's happening in your life, laughter can smooth out many of the bumps along the way.
Through the years, I've found if I listen carefully, the world is endlessly funny. Listening, of course, is the key.
I've made a conscious effort to slow down, to watch and listen. Maybe that's why the world strikes me as so much more humorous than it did when my merry-go-round was spinning at break-neck speed.
By listening ... and looking ... I've added many a smile to my days, and to my ongoing smile file.
For instance, some time ago I overheard two women at the grocery discussing an acquaintance who was something of an air head. One said, "She told me she hates filling out forms. They're just too complicated for her."
The second lady laughed and replied, "She thinks Velcro is complicated!"
Then there's my friend Carson, something of a folksy philosopher. He's always good for a laugh. He recently summed up the work of the current Congress with "They're often wrong but never in doubt."
I recently noticed our neighbor, Joe, looking over the latest batch of "vote-for-me" ads jamming his mailbox. I had to smile as he muttered, "What this country needs is more unemployed politicians!"
One of my favorite sources of laughter remains the daily newspaper. I've found a never-ending collection of humor within those pages.
Headlines are among the best places to find a smile. The folks who write the words to top the news are under such time pressure that goofs often slip in. Here are some headlines I've come across that qualified for my smile file:
Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons
Statistics Show Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25
City Unsure Why Sewer Smells
Attorney Accidentally Sues Himself
Homicide Victims Rarely Talk to Police
Poison Control Center Reminds People Not To Take Poison
One-Armed Man applauds the Kindness of Strangers
Dead Body Found in Cemetery
Each of these little clips has brought a smile to my day. And smiles, after all, are both a comfort and a cosmetic.
Author Stephen King said, "You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants."
I'm convinced Mark Twain had the right idea when he said, "Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been."
I'm trying to remember that wisdom every time I wander by a mirror.