Yesterday at 7:30am my three-year-old yelled, “This is the best day of my life!” We were walking home from walking Big Brother to school. So far, we’d woken up, gotten dressed, eaten breakfast, and walked his brother to school like we do pretty much every day. I wanted to say, “Why? What’s so great about today?” He often says that it’s the best day of his life.
When he first started saying it, I wanted to correct him. No, it’s not. This is just a normal day.
I expect him to say this on days we go to the water park or the zoo. Maybe on his birthday or when his grandparents come visit. But he says it several times a week. He says it when we’re playing Legos on the living room rug or blowing bubbles in the park. He says it when we’re at the post office or the PX. He’ll say it when we’re snuggled on the couch watching TV or reading a book. He says it at 7:30am after he and his brother kicked each other all through breakfast. The kids has no standards at all.
But what if it is the best day of his life? What if, for him, every day just keeps getting better? All the daily good things snowball and every day is better than the last. What if my categories and criteria for the best day ever are wrong? Maybe the best day of your life isn’t filled with new babies or weddings or water parks. Maybe the best day of your life is filled with Legos and bubbles and walking your kid to school. I only have two babies but I can blow bubbles at the park almost every day. Your best days don’t have to be behind you, ones you remember fondly. They can be the one right in front of you.
I have two kinds of derby practices. There are the fun ones where I can feel myself improving on a specific skill and there are the ones where I feel lost. I fall a lot. I overthink everything. Ok, keep my arms in. Butt down. There’s a hole. Hit her with your hip. Not like that. Get lower. Arms down. Get back up. Don’t use your hands. And all these things that I know, that my body knows, get converted into words and it’s an overwhelming list of things for me to attempt to do at the same time. It’s like trying to remember to breathe and telling your lungs to inflate and your heart to beat and pump blood through your body while instructing your right leg to move and then your left. I don’t need to do it and when I try to it becomes impossible. So I elbow someone or I stand up too tall and fall over or I miss the perfect hole. And then I curse a lot and skate around looking grumpy.
It’s because I keep forgetting that every day I get to roller skate is the best day of my life. I get so wrapped up in being frustrated and annoyed that I forget how incredibly fun it is. I’m hitting people on roller skates. Does it get better than that? I mean, honestly? I’m doing it with a fun team that I really enjoy. The criteria for a successful practice isn’t: Did you fall down? It’s: Did you hit people on roller skates? Are you better than you were yesterday?
And maybe that’s it: Are you better than you were yesterday?
Maybe that’s the criteria for the best day ever. It’s not: did you attend a big splashy party or did something life-changing occur or did you complete every last item on your to-do list? Are you better than you were yesterday? Are you becoming who you want to be? Are you becoming the best version of yourself? Are you moving towards a place where all of your actions are motivated by love? Are you figuring out what you love and doing those things? Are you loving your people? Are you moving towards your goals? (Even if the goal is a hockey stop and you’re still really bad at it.)
The best day of my life is:
Any day I get some writing in
Any day I read a book I enjoy
Any day I cook and eat a healthy meal
Any day I exercise
Any day I roller skate
Any day I play legos on the rug with my kids
Any day I go on a hike
Any day I get to spend time with my husband
Any day I get to hang out with my friends or even talk to them on the phone
Any day we play with bubbles
And you know, it’s not an impossible list. If I am better than yesterday simply because I’m writing more and therefore improving slowly then it’s the best day of my life. I’m a better writer than I was yesterday. I’m a better me.
And maybe my three-year-old already has that figured out. He learned several new words today, worked on steering his tricycle, blew bubbles at the park, and tried a new food. Better than yesterday. This is the best day of my life.