Dec 2020 News/Columns

Waypoints: Laughing heals the soul, by Geremy Olson

Every day on the water you have the opportunity to make memories. Laughter just helps you make good memories.


Waypoints: Laughing heals the soul

Laughing is like breathing; they both keep you alive.

by Geremy Olson

WayPoint: Laughing heals the soul and builds friendships. Failure to laugh hardens people and leads to heartache. Laughing is like breathing; they both keep you alive.


I loved to fish as a kid. When I say loved to fish, I mean I got kicked out of swimming lessons because I only wanted to swim underwater with the fish. Needless to say I jumped at any and every opportunity to get out and fish. So, obviously I said, “Yes” when a family friend asked if I wanted to go fishing one weekend. This particular fishing trip is definitely on my top ten most memorable fishing trips ever. In fact, I would have to say that everything I teach about how to raise kids in the outdoors links back to that one day on the water. That day I learned everything you should never do with kids in the boat. Thirty-five years later I would have to say that that trip showed what no one should ever do in a boat with or without kids present.

A lot of things went wrong that day and I completely understand the frustration this poor guy was going through. I won’t go into all the details but it involved multiple bait shop stops, trying to start a boat, license issues, trying to start a boat, a broken rod, trying to start a boat, and finally, no fish. Things that everyone encounters if you do anything in the outdoors, just all in one day for this unprepared guy and I had a front row seat to witness all of it.

When in hindsight you know you made the wrong decision it’s better to laugh about it than to get angry and hurt the people with you.

I never fished with him ever again because I never wanted to have that experience again and for many years, I never understood what happened.

A couple of weeks after I turned sixteen, my dad and I drove down to the lake to go spring pike fishing and stopped at the bait shop to get my first fishing license. I got so frustrated because they didn’t have any left to buy. There were only 2 weeks left in the season and the old licenses were sold out. I got so mad and it got worse when dad started laughing.

He looked at me, seeing my frustration and said “the only thing you can do is laugh and move on.”

I wasn’t any happier but instead of getting mad, I learned that day how laughing defuses a situation and leads to better things. Dad asked some questions, we talked to a game warden and I got to go fishing that day with my first fishing license. This spring day made its way on my top ten most memorable fishing trips ever.

Two things happened on this trip. I learned how important laughter is to life and how not to repeat what I witnessed on that memorable trip years before as young kid. Secondly, I caught my first pike over fifteen pounds.

I have learned in the years since then, that laughter is much more important than we give it credit for. It keeps us from making bad decisions when things aren’t going our way. Laughter brings perspective to what is really important in the long run. More importantly learning to laugh helps us prevent ourselves from hurting those we love and care for.

We live in a world where bad things happen. Don’t forget to take the time to make the best of a bad situation.

As a guy that struggles with the nightmares of PTSD, I have learned over the last four years how powerful laughter is when it comes healing the heart. When we leave or remove laughter from our lives, we get too serious about the things that in the long run don’t matter. This leads to getting jaded and cold. What happens is we turn into that guy I went fishing with as a kid.

We all have bad days. We all make mistakes and we all have days that don’t go according to plan.

A couple of summers back I was part of an experience that really drove this home for me and my family. My son Andrew was in the boat with our good friend, Matt Jollymore, when they couldn’t figure out why his boat wasn’t working well. They forgot something important when they put the boat in the water that morning. Instead of getting mad and frustrated, they laughed & called for help. After solving the problem, they made a video so everybody could laugh together. We all had a good laugh and we all had a positive outdoor experience and a lifelong story to tell.

Laughing heals the soul and builds friendships. Failure to laugh hardens people and leads to heartache. Laughing is like breathing; they both keep you alive.

(Geremy Olson grew up in the outdoors. After being burned as a volunteer firefighter, he had to figure out how to teach outdoor skills to his children from a wheelchair while learning to walk. Today he is an inspirational speaker, FCA Outdoors volunteer, tournament director, video producer, wildfire consultant and proud father of the owners of Missouri Secrets Tackle.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

You may also like