I am relatively obsessed with the TV show “This Is Us.” I know quite a few of my friends are as well, we text a lot of “what was that?” and “OMG” during the show or right after. It’s a well written and engaging show, and if you don’t watch it you can probably still follow the thread of this today, because it was just one scene from this week’s episode that got me thinking.
The adopted daughter of Randall and Beth, Deja, has gotten involved with a sweet kid, Malik. But he is a teenage father, and that has all the parents riled up. They skip school one day, and have that amazing day that only teenagers ever seem to get to have. The parents of the kids are having a tussle over it all, and Deja comes up and says how sorry she is they skipped school, but that she is not sorry for liking Malik, and that she isn’t sorry because it was the best day of her life. Her character is 14 years old. At 14 it is probably still realistic to be able to point at the best day of your life. And that is what got me thinking, after I was done crying like I do through that whole show every week.
What has been the best day of my life? Now I am about to turn 50, as I have mentioned before. That is way more days to consider than a 14 year old would have to sort through. And I also have to consider that maybe I haven’t lived the best day of my life just yet. I thought about being 14, and it seems to me I had some pretty good days that year. That was when I was developing new friendships, and at 14 you are just old enough where you are getting a little independence from your parents. They are letting you explore the world, just a little bit. There were likely some bad days too, but you certainly don’t romanticize them when you are looking back for the good days.
I know that to pinpoint one day as the “Best Day” is too tough. I can pick out some of my worst days, those are fairly vivid and more recent. They left a mark, and I don’t wish to revisit them in a nostalgic way. I think looking back for my best days reveals that it is more about who I spent the time with than what we were actually doing. Good friends and family you love make the most simple things great when you get to combine them. Throw in laughter and silliness and you can have the best day anywhere, really.
Walking through a state park in Arizona with Marge and Butcher was a great day. Going to Lambeau Field with a good friend who I don’t get to see anymore was a fantastic day. Trying to ride the bus from The Strip to Fremont Street in Vegas with Jamie and Jesse was a ridiculously fun day. Any Thursday of the Mile of Music with my brother Mike turns into a great but fuzzy day. Cleo’s on Christmas Eve and Butcher getting flustered at the old Houdini’s was a great day. Going with my new friends to see “Footloose” in the old movie theater at Valley Fair Mall was a great day. Riding the Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland with Dad talking like a pirate was a great day. Dad losing his hat on the Tidal Wave at Great America after he said the centrifugal force would keep it on his head was a great day. Sweet talking my parents into letting me go up north to the Mole Lake Bluegrass Festival with Amy, just us driving up there alone, was a great day.
Just a few examples of great days and memories. Are any of those the “Best Day” of my life? I don’t know, I haven’t lived all of my life just yet. But I am happy to have all of those memories, some are recent, some go back to that 14 year old girl. The road ahead will provide some more great days too. Keep living that life, remember those feelings when you have a good day. Typing out those above gave me some serious smiles just now. Little moments in a big life.
Live your life making memories, and don’t apologize for it. Not every memory has someone you got to keep in life, except when you keep them in your heart, where they are safe forever. You don’t know at 14 that more great days are coming, so get after those feelings like a 14 year old kid living it all for the first time. And a big thanks to “This Is Us” for reminding me of some of those things that happen at 14 stay with me forever.