It might surprise you to learn, that, more often than not, whilst I’m swiping and bumbling away, I do spend a second or two to take in the blurbs that accompany the face I’m looking at. Sometimes it is actually fun reading, even if it’s just to screenshot the spelling mistakes and forward them with rolley eyes to my lovely Nat (she’s a teacher, she shares my cringes on that one).
There is one sentence though that keeps popping up and the more often (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’. 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, I feel uncomfortable and actually a little unhappy 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 God, 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 sombre. Funnily enough, ‘not serious’ does not strike me as something ‘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. It kind of strikes me 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 winning to bet money you won’t get the job. Because your selling yourself short. And you should never, ever do that. Have a good sense of humour, in a self defeating style if you must. 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 time. That does not mean you have to be serious all the time, not at all. Live with a light heart. Have a sunny disposition. Peep through the keyholes, pull the curtains back and climb over the walls. But don’t diminish the value of your life by not taking too seriously.