Don’t yuck somebody’s yum

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions. They feel like a set up for failure to me. They tend to be far too ambitious and are most commonly made in far too high a number.

Instead, I prefer to commit to and share a challenge, something that I believe would improve my life and the lives of those who opt in as well as the world at large.

For this year’s challenge, I present: “Don’t yuck anyone else’s yum.”

Jenny Block and her cousin Emily

If someone loves to do, eat, wear, drink, experience, listen to something that it no way harms you or anyone else, just let them. And if you want to really work the program, find joy in their joy.

That 40-year-old woman with the Mickey Mouse backpack? Tell her you hope she has a magical day — and mean it. That middle aged balding man jamming out to Taylor Swift alongside his daughters at the concert? Give him an approving nod and a smile. That skinny guy all alone on the dance floor having the time of his life, despite clearly not being able to find any beat in any song? Invite him to join your dance circle.

In other words, leave the judgement in 2022 and make 2023 the year of celebrating others’ joy and inspiring and expanding our own.

I went on a cruise with my cousin Emily in October. She is the best role model when it comes to this challenge. It was a Love Boat cruise on Princess — the real “Love Boat.” The original cast was onboard (minus Gavin MacLeod, may his memory be a blessing).

The cast of new reality show The Real Love Boat even came on board to see the cruise off.

The boat was packed. Everyone was so excited — people wearing custom-made Love Boat t-shirts or dressed like a character from the show; events and meet and greets and Q&As with the cast all week long.

The boat was abuzz, honestly. I mean, cruises are fun, but there was something special in the air. It took me about a minute to realize it, but, once I did, I could no longer ignore it.

There were two kinds of people on that boat. First there were the people who may or may not have even known or watched the show. Or maybe they remember it fondly, but don’t have any sort of massive affinity with it. Then there were the super fans.

And here was the thing: No one on that boat — not a guest, not a staff member — no one yucked anyone’s yum.

The super fans set the tone and the rest of us fell in line.

Trivia with the cast — what time should we be there? Q & A in the theater — where’s my seat? A toast in the atrium with the boat’s performers dancing to the Love Boat theme song and the cast singing and clapping along — where’s my camera?

Jenny Block, center, with the cast of the original Love Boat and the crew of the Princess Love Boat

It would have been easy to make fun of the super fans. That show’s been off the air for years. That guy doesn’t look anything like Doc. What are you going to do with all those photos of the cast?

What difference does it make if Lauren Tewes (Julie) said hi to you, or Julie Whelan (Vicki) laughed at your joke or Bernie Kopell (Doc) clinked glasses with you, or Ted Lange (Isaac) shared an elevator with you, or Fred Grandy (Gopher) signed your hat?

I’ll tell you what difference it makes: All the difference in the world.
Life is short, and it’s often hard. The true pleasures are the simplest ones, the things that set our hearts on fire for no particular reason at all. They just do. It

might be art or music or a certain place or, yes, a TV show from the ’70s.
It doesn’t matter what it is. What matters is that you or someone else loves it. And sometimes watching someone else enjoy their “thing” can be even better

than enjoying your own.

Emily played every game and laughed whole heartedly at every joke and shook every hand and took every photo and laughed and danced and relished the joy of everyone around her. It was downright infectious.

That week on Princess among the Love Boat lovers re-inspired me to never yuck anyone else’s yum. If you dig it, have at it. I say re-inspired, because my dad taught me if I am going somewhere or doing something that’s not really up my alley, I can find my fun in watching others having theirs. It’s a fantabulous way to look at life.

So, no, the Royals and movies and music from the ’50s and ’60s and BBQ sauce on nearly everything — including tacos — will never be my thing. But they are all my wife’s thing. So I am going to do my best to enjoy her enjoying them, because being annoyed by them makes me unhappy and hurts my wife’s feelings. Instead, I’m going to find joy in her joy.

Doesn’t mean I have to read about it or watch it or listen to it or eat it. It just means I need to trade the eye rolls in for an honest, heartfelt smile.

Imagine a judgment-free world where we celebrated the harmless things that make others light up. Imagine a world where if you aren’t necessarily doing what you love, you can still enjoy the moment just as much because someone else is.

Imagine a world where every day you “set a course for adventure and your mind on a new romance…” with life.