Think about that for a minute. Could you tell me or anyone else what single day has been the best of your life–at least so far? (One can hope that an even better day awaits you in the future)
I have an excellent (though not infallible) long-term memory, and yet it took me quite a while to answer this question. Not because I have had so many absolutely perfect days that picking “the best” was difficult–quite the opposite, actually. I could easily tell you what the worst day of my life was, not only exactly what happened, and who else was involved, and what was said, and how I felt, but also the date and day of the week, even to roughly about the hour that everything fell to pieces.
I could also easily tell you about the second-worst day of my life, exactly what happened, who else was involved, etc. And the third. And several other. I could, but I won’t. The stories are too personal, and they would either bring you down or bore you. Everyone has their troubles, and though mine affected me greatly (and a few still cause me some pain), they’re nothing too far out of the ordinary. And other people I know have suffered far, far worse.
But the best day of my life? And by “the best,” I mean nothing more than the most pleasurable, the most enjoyable day, not the most significant, or anything else. The sort of day that you would want to relive, if you could. The sort of day that would be the prototype for what each day in Heaven would be.
So, the best. For me, it’s tough to decide.
You might think it would be graduating high school or college, but by the time I got there, I was sick of it and just wanted to get out. You might think it would scoring the winning touchdown, or hitting the decisive home run, or sinking a three-point buzzer beater in a big game, but I’ve never been much of an athlete (and really, football’s the only sport I’m passionate about).
You might think it would be getting married, but our wedding was, in all honesty, a bit of a mess that nevertheless turned out all right. You might think it would be either of the days when my children were born, but there were complications (the first time, I thought I was going to lose my wife and/or my daughter on the operating table). It wasn’t getting a particular job or visiting a certain place: I’ve had good jobs and crappy jobs, been to beautiful places and horrible places.
It’s not that I’m unhappy now, because now is the best time of my life. I have a wonderful, loving wife who treats me exceedingly well; two girls who have matured into smart, capable young women of whom I am very proud; a nice home in an excellent part of the country (I refer to where I live as The Shire); lots friends and relatives whom I cherish; a challenging but not too-demanding job that pays me more money than I ever thought I would make; and the opportunity to blog, run a popular wargaming website, and publish books, the last of which is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.
And it’s not that I don’t have a lot of happy memories, because I do. I’ve had thousands and thousands of great moments with family and friends. Within the last few years, I visited London, Iceland, Italy, and France, and those were wonderful trips, especially Paris (driving in Italy wasn’t fun at all, but once we got to where we were going, it was well worth it). My daughters have been in fantastic musical productions at their high school (I liked Hairspray and Beauty and the Beast best).
When they were little, I loved taking our girls to Dutch Wonderland and to Disney World. I’ve owned a lot of pets who gave me lots of joy. I’ve had the pleasure of watching my Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins win several Super Bowls (we won’t discuss Neil O’Donnell or that one against the Raiders). And so on.
Watching the tantalizing last drive by the Steelers as they try to defeat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII
But to choose the single best day of the 18,000+ I’ve already lived?
If we’re talking about a day when everything was fun, when everything went right, when there was no drama or problems, and I was just having a great time with family and friends, I’d have to say that the best day was my 40th birthday party.
It started with my favorite breakfast of bacon and eggs, then I set up downstairs for a huge game of Warhammer 40,000 using every unit and model of my overly large Space Marine army. For quite some time, I had always wanted to play the whole army at once, but ordinarily, it wasn’t feasible. A little while later, a few of my gamer friends showed up with their Eldar armies, and we had a massive and very enjoyable game for several hours, all the while consuming adult beverages.
The game ended in a draw as we left for my mother’s house, where she was kind enough to host a huge party for me. The food and drink were fantastic (my mother is an excellent cook), plenty of people came, the weather was gorgeous (no sure thing, in November), we had rented lawn games (like mini-golf), and everyone had a wonderful time.
The night culminated with my brother-in-law Drew, my friend Mike, and I jumping off my folks’ pier into the Chesapeake Bay on a lark, but even though the water was VERY cold (and immediately sobering), it was great fun, and something I’d do again in a heartbeat.
So, no, it wasn’t a day as important as graduating from college, or getting married, or seeing my children being born. But for sheer joy, I don’t know if I can beat that day, when I was doing what I love with people I love, when everyone was happy and had a great time.
How about you? What’s been your best day so far?
Kenton Kilgore is forging a new direction in young adult science-fiction and fantasy. His latest work-in-progress is This Wasted Land, a modern-fantasy/horror novel, to be published in 2017.
Kenton is the author of Dragontamer’s Daughters, based on Navajo culture and belief. He also wrote Lost Dogs, the story of a German Shepherd and a Beagle-mix who survive the end of the human world, only to find that their struggles have just begun. With Patrick Eibel, he created Our Wild Place, a children’s book about the joy to be found in exploring Nature.
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