Lightness in August: Taking Time to Enjoy a Good Laugh
August 8, 2022
Hosted by Ron Roel
Life is challenging for everyone these days. If it’s not one bill, it’s another. If it’s not culture wars, it’s inflation. We’re faced with constant feelings of insecurity, not knowing if we will be OK tomorrow. So how do we lighten up amid all this chaos? In today’s episode, columnist Jerry Zezima, an unshakeable humorist, syndicated newspaper columnist and author of six books, including most recently “One for the Ageless,” talks about his craft and why laughter is so important in keeping us sane and healthy—especially through our elder years. Academic experts who study humor (yes, they do exist) regrettably point out that most people start to lose their sense of humor starting around age 23—and it doesn’t rebound until our retirement years. At the same time, we’ve also learned that laughter, while perhaps not literally the best medicine, is very good for our health—like vegetables or therapy, only more fun. Psychologists and physicians cite lots of research showing the many benefits of humor, especially as we age. It relieves stress, helps ease anxiety and depression. It supports our immune system, helps lower blood pressure, and relaxes our muscles. But Jerry did not become a humorist for his health. He writes with a lens focused on laughter because that’s who he’s always been (it didn’t t stop at age 23) and because he is relentlessly curious, exploring life for small, unexpected moments of connection—or incongruity. He is an incurable pundit. He has made many radio and television appearances; done several YouTube videos, is a popular public speaker, and he is writing a sitcom. Whatever the venue, he will nudge you with gentle humor until you surrender to a smile. He has the time. His still has an active family life in so-called retirement, with his wife, two daughters, and five grandchildren. But, he insists, he has no interesting hobbies.
Monday at 12 Noon Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel
Thanks to advances in medicine and health, most of us are just at half-life when we reach our mid-40s, with many potentially productive years ahead. But there’s no road map to prepare us for this period. That’s where 45 Forward comes in.
My show provides you with strategies to shift the traditional waiting-for-retirement model to a journey of compelling life chapters. Each show tackles an aspect of health, finance, family and friends, housing, work and personal pursuits as part of an integrated plan. Experts discuss topics like revitalizing relationships, creating mini-retirements, managing the maze of technology, finding your next homestead and caring for aging parents.
The show instills confidence, and hopefully some comfort, amid the stresses permeating today’s society. Fear of the future is not knowing how to prepare for it. 45 Forward does not proffer prefabricated answers, but helps you shape your life amid the daily anxieties of our time.
I’m a veteran journalist who spent a wide-ranging career covering business, politics and social issues, the last two decades focusing on the blend of diverse life skills I call successful aging.
I have written extensively on aging topics, spoken at conferences, radio and TV shows, and launched several entrepreneurial ventures, discovering along the way that the path to aging well also requires an unexpected entrepreneurial vision. I spent 20 years as a writer and editor at Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday, helping to found Act 2, a weekly section for 50-plus readers. I created Roelresources.com, a website offering practical advice and inspirational essays for people ages 40 and above. I have been a volunteer and consultant to AARP Long Island, writing articles, advocating for seniors, and developing action plans for the AARP Age-Friendly Communities initiative.
I am active in programs and organizations that support seniors, such as the National Aging In Place Council and the Senior Umbrella Network. I have developed a special expertise in family caregiving, as one of four brothers who took care of their mother for almost 25 years. I regularly collaborate with many professionals who provide services and support for older Americans, and I am completing a book for caregivers on Long Island, “The Caregiving Navigator/How to Plan, What to do, and Where to Turn When Caring for you Aging Loved Ones. And Yourself,” scheduled for publication in early 2021.