The woman crossing the road walked with intention – a huge smile on her face. We were at a stoplight when I spotted her out of the corner of my eye. She was walking alone, without an audio book or playlist to keep her company. So what was it that was making her smile with such willful abandon if not a catchy tune or sarcastic commentary of a serial podcast? The expression on her face was that of a person who just discovered a big secret. A big happy secret.
I wanted to know. I wanted Dave to stop the car so I could find out what it was. I felt this urgent need to invite this smiling woman to the coffee shop or the wine bar and find out why she was smiling — for no reason. I wanted her to share that joy with me.
The older I get, the more I’m drawn to happy people. People who make me laugh, are comfortable in their own skin, and aren’t afraid to color outside the lines. And by that, I don’t mean the I-don’t-care-what-people-think-this-is-who-I-am kind of people, because as much as I believe in being authentic, there are too many people who use that “take me as I am” attitude as permission to be an asshole.
I’m at a point in my life where I have no time or patience for bullshit. For insincerity. For agendas. For mean people. I just want it to be easy. I want to be around people who inspire me. Who are loyal and honest. People who give a shit.
I want to be around people who smile for no particular reason.
Meryl Streep, who I absolutely adore, nailed it with this quote:
“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.
“I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”
Amen, Meryl. Amen.