I have a high school reunion on the cards in the next few weeks, and I often catch myself thinking about that time in my life. One thing that stands out for me is how I took life so seriously back then - to my detriment.
I remember becoming aware of Joan Rivers during the latter half of my teens, and I found her outrageous. She was brash, she was crude, I was shocked to see an older person behave like she did - and I loved it. It was at a time in my life when I was beginning to realise that my outlook on things probably wasn't working for me, and after seeing her I spent some time exploring her comedy.
I eventually stumbled across some major interviews she did, and one thing that became clear was that she wasn't a comedian for the sake of being a comedian. She truly appreciated the value of laughter and its ability to ease some of the harsh hardships we all experience everyday. It got me to rethink and change my perspective, and though there were many other factors involved, I cannot separate Joan Rivers from my humorous awakening.
Thanks to my humorous awakening, I am more likely to laugh than cry when I am disappointed, I tend to laugh at myself by default and stress less - and I never go a day without finding at least 5 things funny.
Joan Rivers was a trailblazer. I realised this when I watched her on The Celebrity Apprentice. Her approach to the game was different. She spoke extensively about the problems with the way we do business, and was all about playing the game with heart and bringing heart back to the boardroom. On more than one occasion, she spoke about heart and I think she did everything with a lot of it. She would go on to win the competition. As the oldest contestant, by a wide margin, she reminded me that older people have so much wisdom and experience to share. Our job is to listen.
During her life she broke glass ceilings and kicked down doors in many regards. She became one of the first celebrity gay rights activists, worked tirelessly to support those living with HIV/AIDS through her work with 'God's Love We Deliver' and was determined to teach the world to lighten the f**k up - because life is hard, but it is also funny.
Her lessons may not have meant a lot to everyone, but they definitely meant a lot to me. Thanks Joan!