Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Happiest

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I had ever made a list of the happiest moments in my life. I told him that no, I hadn't. He said that he had done so awhile ago and found it was a healthy exercise.

I then asked the question, "Do you mean the happiest moment when it happened? Or the happiest even with the hindsight of knowing what resulted?" He said the happiest moments when they happened.

His answer led to a philosophical discussion. In terms of my memories, I cannot separate past happiness from present reality. For example, the night my parents and I slept on the floor next to my sister's Hospice bed in our family room was not a "happy time" when it happened. In hindsight, it is one of my most treasured, and yes, happiest memories. On the contrary, a man proposed to my my Sr year of college and we became engaged -- I'm sure I was pretty happy at the time, but in hindsight, given that we never married and the subsequent weeks became a life-changing heartbreak, it is not a happy memory for me. I hardly remember it at all, but the parts I do remember do not evoke happiness.

If you were to list your happiest moments, in which camp would you place yourself?

I cannot separate the reality of the present from the fleeting emotions of the past. The present reigns.

If I were making a list - with the knowledge that hindsight plays a significant role in my list - off the top of my head, mine would be as follows:
  • Giving my dad the Book of Memories I compiled for him on his 75th birthday.
  • Receiving the FAITH and LOVE rings from my sister before she died.
  • The Auburn v. Vandy football game my last fall at Vanderbilt.
  • Working at The Anchor Center, Denver May 2008.
  • Hiking Cinque Terre with Kelley May 2007.
  • Basically any adventure with Kelley...
  • The 100th W&L Fancy Dress Ball.
  • Climbing Mount of the Holy Cross in August 2006.
  • The day of my harp recital my Sr year at Washington and Lee (2006).
That is my list for now. Sure, there have been times when I am so excited I can't sit still, but those aren't the enduring memories. Sometimes, in those events, the anticipation is much more exciting than the actual event ... which is why it doesn't become a lasting memory.

What are your happiest memories?

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  1. Your list is too short. Either that or you aren't happy very often - which I know isn't true.

  2. Brooke,

    I love this post and think its a healthy thing to keep adding to it as you come across moments or even remember something you've forgotten. I love that you created a book for your father, I can only imagine it was an all time favorite!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat


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