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When Life Hits the Fan ... Yes, And!

young and old hands holding each other

I am a single, middle-aged woman who has her stuff together; I was going to bypass the mid-life crisis … or so I thought.

Almost two years ago (shortly after I joined ComedySportz® Minor League), my dad was diagnosed with a liver cancer (he had survived his first bout 6 years earlier); my mom had Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML). It was a lot and my world got a bit gloomy. I’m not sure where I would have been without CSz practices as my weekly anchor, stress relief, playtime and pure joy.

But it is more than the joy of playing like a child again; I have learned life skills that are helping me through this rough patch of life that we ALL go through with a tad more grace. “Yes and …” is the key to it all.

My dad needed treatments that required overnight stays in the hospital; Mom was determined to stay with him. I was determined she would not. I never said no, I never was a dictator, I agreed with my mother every step of the way, but (with a “Yes and …” attitude in my back pocket) Mom stayed in a hotel next door to the hospital using my brother’s points and I stayed with dad overnight. Everyone was happy.

My dad is still with us; sadly my mother is not. Dad is 85, in declining health, and as can be expected, this poses challenges for my siblings and myself (not to mention my dad).

My pre-improv self butted heads with my dad a lot; we are too much alike in some ways. When I approach life with “Yes and …” attitude, my dad and I get along GREAT! We are best buds. I am also able to see and diffuse situations before they become situations … like Dad wanting to drive somewhere. “Well, yes … but it is so much easier for you to get in and out of my car.” I don’t have to rehash the same old fight about the car keys.

Improv has impacted my life in so many positive ways – I just wanted to be a better public speaker, but I think I have become a better human.

Virginia Epperly has been a Minor League Player at ComedySportz® since 2015.

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