The happiest day of your life...

BlogHer Original Post

I thought I was going to be blogging today about looking at your life and picking out events and choices and experiences that directly (or indirectly) led to your current level of happiness. I was going to blog about how we could actively choose to be happy, or make active choices that would ultimately lead to happiness.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to that post.

I woke up one day last week, to what I thought was going to be just a normal day. A day of good things and not so good things. Ordinary things and frustrating things. Nothing that would really change my level of happiness. But something random, out of the blue, did happen and that thing ... it changed everything. My happiness level skyrocketed. If I were a different sort of person, I might even have been heard to say "this was the happiest day of my life" or even "this was one of the happiest days of my life" because that is what people seem to say when really amazing stuff happens.

Have you said it? "This is the happiest day of my life!" or "That was the happiest moment of my life!" or "This has been the happiest experience of my life!"

Most people seem to have said it or they can easily come up with several "happiest" days.

I tweeted "What was the happiest day of your life?" and I got no @replies. I got a lot of DM'd replies and since they were DMs I'll just tell you that they ranged from quitting a job I hated to the birth of my first child. There were some other really, really personal happiest days and I'm not going to mention them here because they're very private but I can say they were in fact truly happy days because they were so incredibly life changing - life changing in ways that you and I and the average human being will never understand. Those types of "happiest days" I can understand. But, I'm not someone who has ever been so incredibly unhappy that one event could change my life that way. (And I do realize just how lucky that makes me.)

I took the question of "happiest day" to another level on Facebook and asked about the "best day of your life" and whether "best days" are automatically "happiest days". I got some interesting responses.

Deb Roby said "happy comes easy, best is harder". My LYS friend Sharon talked a lot about how she can have a "happiest day" even when things don't go perfectly - best days are when everything does go perfectly, happy days are happy for other reasons.

I understand what Sharon means. I've been really, super happy for no reason I could actually point at and say "That! That is making me so darn happy I could burst!" Sometimes happy just cannot be explained.

I talked to TW and this and she described... the time it was just a normal day in Anderson and we were driving home from Waffle House. Holding hands in the car. Not really doing anything special, just having a normal day.

She remembers telling herself that she wanted to remember everything about that day because she was really happy. Huh. I have no idea what day that was, it doesn't stand out for me - but I understand it. Happy just hits you.

There are a lot of people who call their wedding days or the births of their children the "happiest days" of their lives. I'll post some links to those stories here, but I recommend you Google "happiest day of my life" just so you can get an idea of how often people talk about this. It makes for an interesting way to spend your day - pondering your own "happiest days" or the fact that, if you're like me, you don't seem to have "happiest days". I have great days but not "happiest" days.

In one of the twitter private conversations I had about happiest days, someone said there is something inherently wrong with trying to label these types of experiences as "the happiest" and I agree with that wholeheartedly.

Let's not also forget that our happiest experiences often occur in the midst of a whole lot of angst, pain, confusion and crazy.

* Weddings - one of the most stressful events ever.
* Leaving a job - another super stressful event, no matter how darn good it is to leave.
* Having a baby - really, do I need to explain the crazy painful stress involved in that?

I found it interesting that I found very few simple, happy moments listed as happiest experiences. Folks seem to latch onto the really big things. I'm a fan of the small stuff.

Like the night, 1997 I believe, during a Girl Scout camp when a group of adult leaders were laying on a hill after the girls were (supposed) to be asleep, just chatting the night away, when suddenly... meteors, dozens and dozens of meteors. Hours and hours of meteors. That was an amazing, wonderful, happy experience - one I have never forgotten, one I hope to never forget, one I am so thankful to have been able to share with the people I shared it with.

A night on a hill in Panama, watching an unexpected meteor shower with friends isn't on the same happiness level with the birth of your first child. Or is it on the same level but a different type of happiest moment? I suppose I could be like this person and have a whole list of happiest days, talk about things being my sixth most happiest day but that seems wrong for me. That whole ranking thing isn't for me.

All of this thinking about the happiest moment (experience)(day) of my life led to even more thoughts about happiness, thanks in part to littlemee who bought up Aristotle in my Facebook discussion.

Aristotle calls no one happy until they are dead...

Which led me to research Eudaemonia and from there I stumbled into Eudaemonia for all and Snarkmerket.

More blogs to explore as you think about happiness:

  • The happiest day of my life - in Greece
  • Gayle from Glynne's Soaps blogged happiness today.
  • A Beliefnet discussion about the happiest day of your life.
  • September 11 - the happiest day of my life
  • The Experience Project has a happiest day of my life group and a Happiest Moment of My Life group
  • Poppymom's happiest moment, from a post in 2005, made me laugh.
  • This is an interesting post about happiest moments - birth, wedding...
  • At 43 things, there are a surprising number of people who have happiest day type things on their lists.
  • Where does all of this leave me? I have no idea. I just wanted you to know how I spent my day - thinking about really happy days, wondering about yours, and dreaming about the happy moments still to come.

    Share your happiest day stories, please.

    Flamingo House Happenings


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