What do you look forward to above all else?

In this thread tdn describes what he calls the “best minute of the year” for him. It is a defining moment in his life that he looks forward to annually above everything else. His “reason for being” as it were.

I was wondering what events, places, or times other dopers have as thier “best minute of the year”. What one annual or periodic thing (Event, time, or place) do you look forward to above all else? What event do you absolutely live for?

I have two such events:

Every year on Dec 24, my dad, brother and I have always met for lunch at Coney Island Hotdogs in Kalamazoo, MI for Christmas Eve lunch. This tradition started out as a way for my dad to get us boys out of the house so mom could get presents wrapped. Dad would take us to a sporting goods store where a friend of his worked. We would hang out there and then go to lunch at Coney Island Hotdogs. As the years passed by, the sporting goods store closed down and my brother and I have grown up, but we still go to lunch every Christmas Eve at Coney Island Hotdogs. It is my absolute most favorite time of the year.

The second event is Abbott’s Magic Get-Together in Colon, MI. I was introduced to this event by a good friend of mine 10 years ago and I have never missed it since. This is a 4 day convention put on by Abbott’s Magic Company the first full week in August, but the whole town of Colon hosts the event. I camp out for the week there. It is literally a 4 day non-stop party, only with magic shows every night, dealers selling some amazing stuff, lectures, street vendors, and other events that the town puts on. I have friends that I only see at this convention (and never see any other time of the year). We have such a good time that when the convention is over and we are striking camp, everyone is quite somber because they know it will be another year before they come back. I’ve been to other great magic conventions, but this one convention… I absolutely LIVE for.

Every Thanksgiving dinner. When my grandmother has spent all week cleaning, shopping and preparing…all day cooking and stuffing and basting. The smell permeates the house. Family and friends walk in the door and take off their coats, stamp the snow from their boots, give hugs and presents and flowers to everyone. Jokes and teasing fly back and forth. Then we all sit down at the dinner table and salivate at the food spread out before us.
There’s nothing like it and I look forward to it all year.

The first day of summer vacation. The feeling of complete liberation is dizzying. No work for 70 days! Lots of sleep! Freedom! It’s the best.

My life is a series of random moments and events, so there’s no guaranteed annual one.

But my life is complete when I’ve just arrived somewhere tropical and Asian, and got to the hostel, dropped off the bag, changed into cool clothes, and hit the street looking for sights and sounds and cheap stall food and cool beer, and damn the jetlag. Even the smell of drains is like perfume during those initial moments. Thinking about it now is giving me a frisson and a tear in my eye.

It used to be Christmas Eve at grandma’s house. Unfortunately, grandma’s gotten older, and my mother and my aunt have developed a nasty rivalry, and… there really aren’t any family Christmases anymore.

I don’t get to it every year, but the Oceana County Fair in Hart, MI is my favorite place. No other county fair in the world would ever replace it. The odd parking setup where you drive through the fair to get to the parking lot and ride a tractor drawn tram to get to the exhibits, the livestock exhibits, the magnificent grandstand to watch what are probably pretty poor harness racehorces, the popcorn and elephant ears, the farm equipment displays- I just want to soak every second in.

It may be just that summertime makes me yearn for cooler weather or that the to-do about Christmas has begun to fade as a fun time or that my birthday or that of those I care about has quit being a big event, but today the thing I’m looking forward to most is the start of football season. Fall and football go hand in hand these days, and I’d like to skip August and get started right away.

  1. Arriving at a ski resort condo. Filling the fridge with a week’s shopping of great food for the home cooked apre ski gourmet dinners and plenty of wine. Unpacking my gear and that click of boot buckles and bindings for the first downhill run of the day. Perfection.

  2. Slapping of halyards against the mast at night. Rocking of the boat on the water. Whir of lines and winch bearings as the sails are set in a stiff breeze. Then nothing but rush and splash of water on the hull and the sound of the rigging and sails in the wind.

  3. The hum of tires and gears as I ride my bike. The wind in my ears.

  4. The exhaust note of my car as I push it through the low gears with the windows down.

  5. My children’s voices and laughter and to hear them tell me that they love me.
    Yep. Life’s rich pageant! :smiley:

I look forward to receiving an upgrade in status at work, which would basically mean that I have a state job for life, with pension and benefits. I’ve been here for five years without any benefits. They’re keeping me because I’m good. It just seems to be taking a long time to get on the staff for real. I do know that the GM is applying for it every time it comes up. Oh well, someday.

Considering the weather lately, I am looking forward to winter.

The start of hockey season. Seeing friends I haven’t seen all summer; the smell of ice; taking the jerseys out of the closet and deciding which one to wear opening night; the first meet-n-greet where I get to see and hug the players and families I haven’t seen all summer…

Hockey Withdrawal Syndrome isn’t quite as bad this off-season as I am on the executive board of the Booster Club, and we have meetings all summer to make sure we’re ready when the season starts.

My birthday is Christmas Eve, and anybody who has that birthday can tell you how much it sucks. But over the last seven or eight years, I’ve started a tradition we call Jessmas (guess what my name is). Because I know I’ll never get to see them or celebrate my birthday otherwise, all my friends come over on Christmas Eve–usually quite late, once they’re done with their families. We have my birthday celebration for an hour or so during which I get birthday presents and nobody is allowed to mention that there’s any huge holiday upcoming, and then we transfer to Christmas Mode and everyone exchanges gifts. I’ve got stockings for all my friends that are usually filled with super balls and silly putty, and while it’s not on the list of Best Birthday Parties Ever, it’s almost always the most enjoyable night of my year.

Every year since college, around June or July, I dust off the old backpack, campstove, tent, doggy backpack, etc. I pack everything up and we (me, my fiance and my dog) head for whatever destination I have picked out. Sometimes it’s somewhere we’ve never been before, sometimes it is our old favorite (name redacted to protect my own personal interests:)). But there’s one thing they all have in common: water. We hike for hours, get all hot and sweaty, stop to admire nice views, complain about various mal-adjusted gear, remember the things that we forgot, and at long last we reach our destination. I love the feeling of accomplishment and relaxation. But finally at some point, I put on my bathing suit (or sometimes just my birthday suit) and I walk up to the edge of said water. It is freezing cold and I know it. I sit in the sun to try to get extra warm, but at some point I realize I just have to do it. I hold my breath, count to whatever, and finally I force my brain to let me jump… then the next thing I know I’m hitting the water…that’s the moment.

I just got goosebumps. Time to go camping.

Waking up next to my wife every morning. Everything else pales by comparison.

The first day of honest-to-goodness autumn. I hate the heat with a passion, and I love the cool crisp mornings and evenings of the fall. It goes all the way back to when I was a kid running long distance. Summers suck for those long runs, especially if there isn’t a lot of shade, but man, the autumns rocked!

The last day of each semester. When I know that from here on in, I can do whatever the hell I want–or whatever the hell my wife wants me to do, but whatever she wants me to do is usually better than night school.

Going to the airport to pick up my wife after her business trips. I get there an hour or so early and just read or study until I hear them announce the flight, and then we share a cabride home while she tells me about whatever city she was at. Usually it comes down to the quality of Chinese takeout there, but that’s OK. I’ve gotten to know Logan airport very well.

I always look forward to the first Montreal Canadiens game of the year. Die hard hockey fan, what can I say.

I live for the days I get to see my boyfriend again after our long times apart. We trade visits every couple of months, and I always have a countdown going for the next reunion. The moment I first see him in the airport, and he smiles at me… and that first kiss… just thinking about it makes my heart beat a little bit faster :). 32 days left until the next one.

Dammit, silenus, I had this already formed before you posted, so it’s not a direct response to you.

Anyway, I should say something like the morning of our anniversary, the first night of the year we make love during an intense storm, or that first day we’re snowed in and get to spend an unexpected day together. But those aren’t the moments I look forward to most.

I look forward to that fist step onto the grounds of Lambeau Field each year. The day of our first child’s birth may be a challenger when it happens, but no guarantees. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t look forward to the next trip. 5 minutes after leaving a game I’m already looking forward to the next year. (Win or lose. Just to steal some thunder from the jokesters) :wink:

It’s a sickness and I and my wife accept it. :slight_smile:

In the Northwest, it’s late spring, and the Cottonwood trees are in full bloom. The smell that comes with the floating cottonwood seeds is wonderful.

I love being in the Pacific Northwest in the spring.

It’s one of those smells that takes you right back to a place in time. For me, it’s the end of High School, and I’m setting off to make my way in the world. Eight feet tall and bulletproof.

Oh you poor bastard! You gave up 2 feet in the beatdown that is life? Man, that sucks. :smiley:

June, Annual convention for the company that runs the MUD I play/work for. It’s the time I get to see friends that I pretty much only talk to in game or over AIM with…best 5 days of the entire year.

Sadly, at this point that’s nearly a full year away…