Postman Pat (The Good Life)

This post was originally published two years ago, on November 27th, 2008 at my now discontinued blog Insanely Interested. My son is now three and a half and he has a little brother too, but Postman Pat is still one of my role models. I started the original post by embedding Postman Pat’s opening theme as a YouTube video. The video was then removed from YouTube, but you can probably find another copy by searching for “Postman Pat” if you don’t remember this friendly fellow.

And then to the original post…

Postman Pat feels he’s a really happy man.

It was a lazy Saturday morning when all three of us (me, my wife, and our one-and-half-year-old son, Oiva) were sitting in front of the computer screen, watching children’s videos from YouTube. After an episode of Bob the Builder, my eyes caught Postman Pat in the list of related videos.

I don’t remember Postman Pat that well. I know I watched a few episodes as a kid, and that Pat always had his black and white cat with him.

But I remembered the song.

As we watched the song, my wife and I were looking at each other thinking the same thought: “This is how life should be!” I don’t know what our toddler was thinking, but for us, his parents, it was a touching moment of realization: There is something special about Postman Pat’s small, beautiful world. Something that we have lost on our way to maximum efficiency.

And I knew there was no other way for me but to blog about this very happy man.

Sing with me:

Postman Pat, Postman Pat,
Postman Pat and his black and white cat,
Early in the morning, Just as day is dawning,
He picks up all the post bags in his van.

Lesson number one: wake up early.

Pat starts his morning round just as the new day is dawning. This way, he gets to enjoy the fresh air, is not in a hurry, and can carry his work out without having to feel too stressed.

In a newspaper I read today, there was an interview of a real-life postman. This man has been delivering letters since 1966, and just like Pat, he loves his job.

One of the biggest reasons why he hasn’t switched jobs yet, he says, is that when you start your day early, you are also free to finish early. When you complete your day at 2 P.M., there is still plenty of time to spend pursuing your other interests or spending time with your loved ones — like Pat.

Lesson number two: Take your cat with you

But what I really love about Pat’s job is the way he does it: Pat takes his cat with him in the van, and no one is there to say that he should not do so. In fact, the song mentions the cat every time it talks about Pat.

Pat wouldn’t be Pat without his cat.

You may not want to take a cat with you to work. Maybe, like me, you don’t even have a cat. But I’m sure there are other things that make you who you are. Things that should always be mentioned when talking about you.

And sadly, many times, we are forced to leave those things behind. Because we are too busy. Or just because we feel we must be so very professional.

But when I think about Pat’s cat, I don’t see any reason why taking that big part of his personality with him to work would make Pat less capable of delivering the daily mail.

Let’s sing some more:

Postman Pat, Postman Pat,
Postman Pat and his black and white cat,
All the birds are singing, and the day is just beginning.
Pat feels he’s a really happy man.

Lesson number three: Hear the birds as they are singing

Sure, waking up early is important. But if you don’t use that time to enjoy the beauty of an early morning, what’s the use.

Maybe the real reason for waking up early is not to get more done during the day but to have more time to enjoy the beauty of life. Could it be that when you get a good start to your day, you don’t have to fill the day with even more tasks but can instead be less busy and stop to enjoy your daily tasks?

Ask yourself: Did I hear birds sing today?

Or was I too busy to notice?

Everybody knows his bright red van,
All his friends will smile as he waves to greet them,

Lesson number four: Take your friends with you

People love the friendly guy who has time for them. It’s as simple as that. And from what I’ve seen, it’s amazing to be that guy.

Pat is that guy.

Pat is never too busy. He stops to chat with his neighbors in this little town he lives in. And as a result, they all know and wave at him when he passes by in his bright red van!

Greet your neighbors, and don’t forget the people who matter to you on your way to success.

Maybe… You can never be sure,
There’ll be knock…[knock knock] Ring [ring ring]
Letters through your door.

Lesson number five: Don’t ruin the surprise

Jason Kotecki says this much better than I, so here’s a quote from his recent blog post, The Joy of Not Knowing:

It’s quite tempting to skip to the end, to sneek a peek, to make the magician reveal the the secret to his trick. Especially when you can. Resist, my friend. Don’t rob yourself of the misunderstood and unheralded joy of anticipation.

Because it’s never much fun to unwrap a present when you already know what’s inside.

Pat is in the profession of building anticipation. By delivering letters, he helps people dream that maybe today is the day when that precious letter from a loved one arrives, or the long-awaited Amazon orders bring you the book you have been waiting for months.

Don’t break the spell. Use mail instead of email every now and then. And enjoy every minute of the time you have to wait!

Pat feels he’s a really happy man.
Pat feels he’s a really happy man.

What Makes You Feel a Very Happy Man or Woman?

Postman Pat is happy doing his part in his little community, being surrounded by friendly people who appreciate what he is doing. All of these are pretty universal sources of happiness. We all enjoy knowing our work was well done, and appreciated.

Most of all, I believe Pat is happy because he is taking his time to enjoy what life has in store for him. Instead of rushing to the next experience he enjoys the one he is going through right now. He knows that there will be plenty of time for the next one too.

And Pat takes his cat to work with him.

But what is it that you’d like to do to lead a happy life like Pat’s?

For me, it could be many things: Opening my own bakery in a small town like Pat’s would be the closest I can get to this vision of a good life. But even just writing or running a business — or even going to my current day job — can be a part of a good life when I have my attitude set correctly towards sharing and noticing the happiness.

Now, the stage is yours. Do you think Pat has still something more to teach us? And what are you doing to lead a good life? Let’s discuss!