Thursday, March 6, 2008

Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset

The other night Jen and I were watching an episode of what has become one of our favorite shows: Intervention. (It's fun to watch people fall apart and get put back together again.) On this episode a girl was talking about how she didn't want her pill-addled sister ruining her wedding. She kept saying how it is supposed to be the greatest day of her life and she wanted it to be just so.

I have no issue with the fact that she wanted shit to go down just the way she wanted. It is her wedding after all, and it's a huge event, but something about "the greatest day of my life" thing hit me funny. I stopped the DVR.

"Hey. Would it bother you if I told you that our wedding day wasn't the greatest day of my life?" I asked.

Not even a pause. "No."

"Phew. Good. Cuz, it wasn't."

The day Jen and I got married was a great day. I love being married to Jen and will continue to be until she wizens up, but it wasn't a fireworks-in-the-heavens-touched-by-the-hand-of-God kind of day. It was small and sweet and we were surrounded by the people that we love most (and who manage to love us back), and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

That got me thinking though. If that wasn't the greatest day I've ever had, what was? I didn't and don't have an answer.

If I were a parent I could fall back on that and say it was the day my child(ren) were born. Because I'm not a parent (or a woman) I have no idea what giving birth is like, but I have a hard time believing that passing a nine pound bloody crying mess through a place reserved primarily for passing urine could ever be the greatest day of your life. As a man married to a woman, I couldn't imagine watching my wife go through that and be able to say it was the greatest day ever without expecting to get hit.

"Honey, you took a dump on the table in front of a room of strangers, but wheeeee! What a day!"

I've had some success and a few achievements, but nothing worth noting within the context of "The Greatest Day".

The things that make me happiest are a work in progress, and I have a hard time limiting them into one day. While getting married wasn't the greatest day of my life, it was definitely the best thing I've ever done, but that was a reality that took time to get a hold of. While I can't imagine giving birth as being fantastic fun, I can imagine looking at my kids and being amazed that I was luck enough to have something like that in my life. Maybe I'm just slow or a bit gloomy, but real joy tends to take awhile to soak in to me.

Not that I think people are wrong to pull a day out of their life that means more to them than most of the rest, I'm just without one of my own. I love hearing the stories of what actually makes other people's lists, because once you get past the marriage and kids things you can really get to know someone.

I know it's not original, but I find myself believing the idea that life is a very small handful of life changing decisions hidden in months and years worth of time that is spent dealing with the repercussions of how those few moments were handled. It's those stretches of time that I managed not to fuck up too badly in between those big days that I cling to. And if that is the yardstick that I am going to use to measure my life by, I think that I'm in the middle of one of my greatest Not Fucking It Up Too Badly periods.

I'm grateful, because that can turn on a dime.

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