I was recently in Cody, Wyoming. A small town of approximately 10,000 people in the NW corner of the state near Yellowstone National Park. The city was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody at the turn of the century BEFORE last. I met a local at the lively Irma Hotel Saloon (yes, apparently bars are still saloons in the wild west). He was very friendly and talkative and I did not want to be rude, so I smiled and obliged him in conversation and learned quite a bit about him in the amount of time it took me to drink half a pint of Buffalo Bill Beer.
I didn’t catch his name, actually I never asked, which is a bit out of character for me. But I chalk that up to the weary traveler in me, having traversed many kilometers on foot in Yellowstone earlier that day. So let’s call him Bill. Seems like a popular name in the area.
Bill is a classic repeater. He likes to tell you the same thing over and over. The pros here are that the character becomes unforgettable. The cons? One can certainly get annoyed quickly while engaged in conversation.
Bill is originally from Ohio, but lived in Florida for 20 years working for KOA campgrounds. They transferred him to Cody, Wyoming where he manages the KOA campground pool and hot tub during the summer months only. They have to close the campground late Sept-May because their pipes are only 3 feet deep and will freeze and burst in their brutal winters. So what does the KOA pool manager do all winter? Moves into town and lives in a $400/month apartment that he pays for annually in advance. His ability to do that because of all the money he makes in the summer managing that pool.
Bill is 66 years old, but he looks barely over 50. Not a gray hear on his long curly mullet cut. And super smooth skin. Trust me, I am certain he has never had any work done. No facelifts or botox for my buddy Bill. No way. He must be living right. Although, self-admittedly, he likes to drink lots of beer at the local Cody saloons. And all the locals seem to know him. How could you not? He is a repeater.
Bill continued on about being on social security and medicare and between that and his KOA salary he is able to live a happy life and only work 5 months of the year. He has no pesky wife or children to get in the way or make life difficult. He made repeated points about how much her enjoyed his lifestyle. So I raised my pint of Buffalo Bill Beer and toasted my new friend, the other Bill, to “living the life”.
Then ol’ Cody Bill the Repeater surprised me with saying it wasn’t exactly the good life. If he could meet someone special it would be better. So I wished him the best of luck finding what he was looking for as I morphed back to my weary traveler face and drained my beer.
When I went to bed in the haunted Irma Hotel I thought about Bill and all the people who say they are “living the life”. Or wish they were living the life. But the definition of the good life is as different for each person who desires it.
Does living in a big house and driving a flashy car and wearing expensive designer clothes define the good life? Does living on a remote beach or in an isolated cabin, one with nature, define the good life? What about managing a KOA campground pool in wild west? All of these could be the good life. And yet I have met people from all walks of life all over the world who look like they are living “the life” and yet they are unhappy. Or still searching for the one thing to bring them happiness.
Silly people, that happiness is only within us. And I am thankful to have lived on this earth long enough to come to that realization. It is not about what we own or the job we have or the power we wield or the income we enjoy. 90% of our happiness is about our attitude. That’s right…its already inside you. It is really about how we choose to embrace what we have and react to what happens to us. I bet you ol’ Cody Bill The Repeater is just as happy as Brad Pitt. Perhaps more right now. Monday Musings. Have a great week.