We came face to face as I opened the front door to leave. “Y’Okay?” He asked, which is the Yorkshire way of saying “How are you?”
“I’m good,” I replied “How are you?” Which is the American way of saying “How are you?”
“Ah. Living the dream!” he said. And it was the way he said it. Not all sarcastic like “Oh you know … just livin’ the dream. Pardon me while I go drown my sorrows in the pub.” No. He turned his face to the heavens when he said it, and truth rang out of him while sunlight shown on and through his genuine dream-living face.
I’ll be honest, it caught me off guard. How can the postman be living a dream right this very second? Maybe when he’s on holiday but surely not while he’s delivering junk mail. He made his way up my next door neighbor’s walk and began to slide the envelopes into the slot on their front door, as I batted away the urge to ask him my burning question. And just as he nearly slipped away, I conjured up the courage and blurted out. “Excuse me!”
“Yeah?” He turned to face me.
“To be clear, I want you to know that I fully acknowledge I am the weird one here, having to ask this, but I’m a writer and people are curious to me. Why did you say that just now? Like that. Living the Dream. It sort of made my whole day.”
He chuckled a bit, as he shuffled and prepared the next handful of letters for number 82, probably chalking me up to being a nosy American more-so than a crazy artist and he said “Ah well, the sun is shining. I’ve got good strong legs and fresh air in me lungs. What’s more to want?”
“Well, nothing.” I said. And I said it fast as though I didn’t have to think about it, but I’ll tell you, while I meant it, I also had to think about it.
We get so caught up in this desire to be happy that we forget to just be happy, don’t we? We act as if it’s this elusive creature we have to chase and hunt down. Or this puzzle to solve. Or a discovery yet to make. We pack the idea of happiness into things we don’t yet have, places we’ve not yet seen, goals we’ve not yet met. We turn it into a quest. A vision. Something that lies beyond us, always. When in fact, most of the time happiness can be found in the sun on your face and clean air in your lungs and the two strong legs that get you around—whether they’re walking you down the beach or door to door carrying the post.
On my journey toward intention, this is something I’m keeping close—that I am already in possession of happiness. I don’t have to seek it, or chase it, or buy it or pine for it. That it exists in me as I am. It exists in the warmth of the sun, and the cool of the shade when there is nothing but clouds. It’s in the windows open while the breeze comes through ruffling the curtains, and it’s in the windows shut tight while the fireplace crackles. It’s in nothing more complicated than the simple gift of life. Another day to make a memory, a friend, a difference.
And so with that, I’m off to face a whole new day, perfect in its ordinary list of things to do and errands to run and chores to complete. But the sun is out. And I have good strong legs, and clean air in my lungs, and the people I love have those things too. So truly, I am living the dream of all dreams.