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Friday, 22 October 2010 13:03

The Birthday Hat Dare

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What is free, fun, and good for our health? Laughter. Yet, adults laugh on average only 15 times each day. In comparison, the average child laughs or giggles about 300 times a day. Are we losing our sense of humor as we age? The Dalai Lama says, "In my childhood, I had a religious assistant who always told me, 'If you can really laugh with full abandonment, it’s very good for your health.'” The assistant was right! Here's a birthday dare for you that is sure to have you laughing with full abandonment on your special day.

As my friends and family know, I have a thing about birthday hats. When it is my birthday, I wear a birthday hat no matter what I am doing that day. I have worn hats during races, in movie theaters, at restaurants, walking the streets of San Francisco, running trails, and strolling the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Typically my friends and family who are with me are subjected to wearing hats too. I love seeing other people smile as they go by us. How often are adults out and about wearing birthday hats? Plus, who doesn't love the extra "happy birthday" greetings from complete strangers?

My husband, Dave, who some might say is more on the reserved side, took the birthday hat wearing to a whole new level on his birthday this year. We have been together for 23 years, so perhaps I've rubbed off on him a bit—though he now has me beat! This year on Dave's birthday, he had to travel to Birmingham, Alabama for business. He was traveling all day alone. He wore a birthday hat from the moment he left our house in the morning to the time he went to bed in Birmingham that night. This included wearing the hat through airport security in Oakland, on the plane, during a plane change in Phoenix, in the cab to the hotel, and checking in at the hotel. He was invited into the cockpit on both flights, he was sung to by an entire plane of people, and he got a free beer from the Marriott. The photo below captures the essence of his day.

So, here's the birthday hat dare. On your next birthday, I dare you to wear a birthday hat for at least part of the day. If your birthday is not for another few months, put a reminder on the calendar right now on your special day that says "birthday hat dare". Report back in and let us know your fun stories!

(And, of course, try to find other ways throughout the year to laugh with full abandon like you did when you were a kid. It's good for your health.)

Dave and the birthday hat dare, August 31, 2010
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