What's the Happiest You've Ever Been?

The situation in the world right now is, in a word, bad. The ills of the world are many - the Iraq situation in all of its ugly shades, the price of a gallon of either gas or milk (take your pick), the neverending battle that is the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, my truck having a flat tire, <insert your own miserable misfortune here>, etc etc etc. I tell ya, it is enough to get a man or woman down.

I’m also here to tell you, though, that we’ve each had one singular moment when we were happiest…there was a moment when things couldn’t have possibly gotten any better. Thinking back on that moment may help get us through some of the rougher patches.

Mine is, without a doubt, the moment I first held Lilly, Queen of the Universe. I was very reluctant to become a father. My now ex-wife was a recovering alcoholic and we were both sort of fumbling around trying to fit her tender sobriety into a new house (with the attached new mortgage), and a new and very, very stressful job for me. And now, just for shits and giggles, we’ll add a new person. All of that fell away when I got to hold a squirmming little new person, cleaned up pretty well but still “hot out of the oven,” that was pure and good and fresh. I was completely entranced - completely mesmerized. I even told the doctor that he could now retire, as he had delivered the world’s most perfect child and that any further efforts on his part were going to be a big letdown. He thanked me for the career advice and told me “I guess it would be pointless to tell you that you should try not to spoil her.”

So, in an effort to get the endorphins rolling around in your collective melons, tell us when **you’ve ** been happiest. It’ll probably do us all a world of good.

20 years ago. I had a great girlfriend. I had my '66 MGB. I was learning to fly and to SCUBA dive. But the thing that made me happiest was Ida. At least, until she found someone else.

Campy and predictable, but it’s my wedding day. My favourite thing in the world is to have the people I love around me, and I had all of them there. And they were there to watch my beloved and me vow love and fidelity to each other, in the presence of God.

I think the very happiest time of that very happy day was after we’d got back down the aisle. We stood together at the back of the church and hugged every one of the guests as they came out of the church. And everyone was crying and smiling and I remember being picked up and spun around by someone and dancing an impromptu jig or something with someone else.

Now I’m dripping. I always cry happy.

The first few moments after giving birth. There are no words to describe the thrill and bliss of having participated in the miracle of new life.

The memory of that feeling plus knowledge that they’ll eventually grow up is what allows parents to permit toddlers to survive toddlerhood. If you can let them live 'til they’re 5 years old, you’ve got it made.

I was the happiest person ever when my wife said she would marry me, and that this would entail my relocating from Canada to Florida. We just had our 6th anniversary last Sunday. It’s the nicest thing we’ve ever done for ourselves!


November 11, 1984. The day my daughter was born, only four days after I received word I had sold my first novel.

“Let me say giddy with joy is no mere phrase.” – Truman Capote

I don’t know that I could boil it down to any single “moment”, I’d agree with the childbirth but I’ve two sons so it would be hard to choose. Each birth had their own problems and stresses mingled in with the joy, so I never had that perfect peaceful happy moment. I did have some pretty intensely happy moments when I was first married, but subsequent events have clouded those memories and tainted it.
However, if we’re talking overall happiness, I’d say my best time has been the last six months or so. I’m clean, I’ve broken my cycle of shitty relationships, I’m happy single, I’m loving my sons and watching them grow, I’m working at a tolerable job, money’s tight but not painfully so, my family is all doing well, etc.
I’ve never been so stable or content–It’s almost like I’ve–gasp–matured… :stuck_out_tongue:

For a prolonged period, 1985-1987, working my second job. Got a big raise to go, I had no debt of consequence, and I was single. That was freedom.

For any one instant, the day the VunderKind was born.

July 4, 1992

Two little boys, hubby and I on our little boat at the end of a long day of playing in the water, the sun setting, waiting for darkness to watch the fireworks and their reflections on the water.

The kind of day were getting dressed was pulling on swim trunks, camp pancakes for breakfast, reading by the lake watching the boys toodlin’ at the edge of the water catching minnows and tad poles, the smell of sunscreen and don’t forget your hat. Yes wear it on the boat and in the water too.

Morning ski’s until the littlest is asleep on the boat and has to be carried ashore for nap time. The older on saying he wasn’t tired,so he was just gonna flop in the hammock wait for naptime to be over so we could get back on the lake and sneakin’ a photo of him zonked out.

The excitement of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents arriving for the afternoon. Noodles, water guns, washer tossin’ contests, checkers with g’pa, g’ma’s gooey cake and choc. chip cookies. More skiing, tubing, buckle your life jacket, yes you need sunscreen again, no don’t throw your cousin in the lake unless she wants you to, if you throw her in the lake I’m gonna throw you in the lake. Oops there goes someones sunglassed jump in and get’em before they sink. Daddy guarding the grill so Uncle T won’t burn everyone’s burgers and hotdogs. Bees on the soda cans, birds stealing chips, the dog chasing the ducks to the end of her super length camping leash and the ducks delight as they turn back and taunt her just beyond the end of the cable.

Goodbye’s after dinner. Who’s towel is this? Where’s my new sandals? Can I go back to Houston with cuz?

Just the four of us again, mix us up some homemade ice cream mom. Back in the boat to watch the fireworks, dipping boys in the lake to rinse melty ice cream sticky off. Rockets red glare, OOhhs and Ahhs flashlights, bow lights, firework reflections on the water. Deep satisfied sighs of exhaustion and happiness.

My 20th birthday. I was a sophomore in college, and spent most of my birthday (a beautiful spring Sunday) hanging out on the quad in front of the dorm, playing frisbee and cards and listening to music. After dinner, I decided to go for a walk by myself. I wandered over to an isolated and quiet part of campus, thinking about my life. I had good friends, a girlfriend, good grades, good career prospects, basically everything I wanted. My life was headed in the right direction, and I was totally in control. No worries at all. That was the most peace of mind I have ever experienced.

I’ve got two (besides the overall contentment with my life right now, warts and all):

(1) I love to sing a capella harmonies, but I don’t get to do it very often. A friend and I tried to get a three-part group going with someone else, but it fell through after about six rehearsals. Too bad, because we were pretty good. Anyway, two summers ago we went to a folk music festival, and I insisted that we attend the Gospel Harmony Singing workshop. Oh. My. God. That was so awesome I could barely sing. I had tears in my eyes, I loved it so much.

(2) Christmas Eve 2003. We pretty much don’t have family gatherings anymore (Mr. S’s parents are dead, his sibs have their own grandchildren, my folks go south for the winter, and my sister brings her kids here for an overnight in January), and while a quiet day with the hubby is always nice, I missed the large get-togethers I was used to for holidays. So I decided to host a Christmas Eve open house for all of our local friends, whether they also had no place to be or were on their way somewhere. I decorated the house, put out Grandma’s gold-rimmed china and Mom’s cut-glass punch bowl, got out my cookbooks, and made gobs of gourmet treats. And then they came. Some people brought their gifts to each other and opened them here. We had a fire going in the woodstove. There was even an impromptu trumpet concert of Christmas carols in my kitchen! We spent time with old friends and got to know some new ones better.

Everyone had left by about 7 pm, and I basked in the afterglow for several days. I’m definitely doing that again this year!

I was living in Washington, D.C. as a summer intern before my senior year of college. My best friend and I were sharing a dorm room, and we had the time of our lives exploring the city and all its’ wonderful museums and monuments. But the greatest night was when I went to see one of my favorite bands at a club. I met a gorgeous guy at the show and we stayed up for hours afterwards just talking and laughing and…other stuff.

I didn’t keep in touch with him, but I remember him and that summer quite fondly. Might have been the last time in which I felt truly carefree.

Everyone has a Personal Things to Do List:

One of my more obscure ones was * To drive a tractor on a main road and block traffic.*

Yes, it is infantile and selfish. That is the entire purpose of these lists.

But, one day I got The Call .

To drive our tractor from the job site back home. Mr. Ujest would come home later in my car. So I got to drive our farmer tractor with the rake attachment on it home. A whopping 4 miles away.

Tractors do not haul ass, except mine.

And I got to drive on a main road, having to stay partially on and off the shoulder because of the rake attachment would take out the mail boxes so I got to royally fark up traffic.

I was grinning the entire time.

That was a good day.

My husband has always wanted kids. I knew that I’d want them in the future, but wanted to wait until I was ready.
We went out to the Navy Ball one evening and stayed at a hotel in town and has a big date night. Everything was great and I remember driving home the next morning and it was a beautiful day and everything seemed perfect and I turned to him and asked him if he still wanted to have a baby. He looked shocked, said yes and we were both so happy. I know that I cried a little, but don’t remember if he did.
The next would be the first time I got to hold her, after she was born. I’d waited 9 months (And one very long week.) to see her and she was finally there, beautiful and perfect.
I’m a sappy mama.

In terms of pure unfettered happiness there were a few times when I was young where I had these indescribable feelings of, for lack of better words, optimism or hope. One time I was 18 and hitchhiking in Belgium. I was sitting by the road eating some canned peaches and this epiphany of freedom and joy and all the possibilities of my life came upon me like a wave. It was like a perfect moment. I can’t describe it any better than that.

I can recall days from my youth where I was doing normal things like driving around or hiking but there was something special that just made those particular days magical.

Later in life came the birth of our twin daughters. Although joyous, it was fraught with chaos and a dangerous labor and long recovery for my wife. After my wife recovered she was moved to a regular hospital room. One bitterly cold February day I visited and brought both of the girls into the room. I picked one up, hugged her to my chest, the other one and my wife were sleeping, there was sweet music playing on the radio, and there we all were, together, safe, and warm. That was tears of joy happiness.

For me, it’s not the big events, but the little ones. Last Sunday, making a two hour drive with my partner to deliver some artwork to the printers. Full speed down the motorway, slinging a pile of old tapes into the deck one by one, and singing along with stuff we’d forgotten about.

Last night, driving out of the city after work, and walking a couple of miles along the canal bank. Seeing the herons circling, the fish making ripples on the water, and the cows in the field opposite adopting that look of maternal resignation while watching their over-excited calves chasing one another up the hill. Talking to people on the narrowboats, and imagining what it would be like waking up to that view each morning (and tottering down the towpath in work clothes, carrying a laptop, which means that we’re just as happy only fantasising about it).

Perhaps I just have a low happiness threshold. But I’m not complaining.

I’ve had many perfect moments in my life, too numerous to mention. A perfect time would probably have been when I was in my early 20’s touring Europe in a Kombi van with my SO. Right now is also not too bad either, probably best it’s been in the last 20 years.

jastu, may you have many nows of practicing your new-found joys of living in the moment.

Would it surprise you to know that others have described similar experiences – impossible to put into words? Mine was about twenty years ago and it was also sudden, brief (lasting perhaps a few moments), and joyful. I felt enormously centered.

My sophomore year in high school. Oddly enough, there were serious problems in my family. My parents were talking seriously of divorce, and my dad left that January. And yet…

I had my first boyfriend, and good god, were we beautiful in our hormones. I could live to be 100 and never have a rush like that again…we were all over each other. And I got to show him so many of the things I loved before I was forced to leave them.

I was 16 and had my own car and a DL. An old story, but a classic.

I had real friends. I was in the school play, the Drama competition, Speech and Debate, Academic Decathalon, and Mock Trial. I helped with the Homecoming float. I was getting straight As. I felt like I belonged for the first time, felt comfortable in my own skin…

I had a great job. Made decent money, loved my boss, loved my place of work. It was a Christmas and Souvenier shop, on Main Street in Park City. Open year around. Some might think Christmas would get annoying after the first six months, but I loved it. It was so small and quaint and smelt so good and so warm.

I spent some nights at Jaime’s apartment after my dad moved out. We would stay up late and watch the snow fall and lay in the dark on the couch and listen to Sting’s Ten Summoner’s Tales because it was the only CD we owned. At 2 in the morning we’d get hungry and go for coffee at Denny’s, or buy snacks at the local grocery store that was open 24/7. And of course, had lots of sex.

I spent more time with my grandparents, and we really began to connect as people. We spent time together because we liked each other, not because we were just family.

I had my home and my dogs. George. Romeo. Kate. Bobby. Spike. Xia. Polly. Ringo. I had my cats. Muffy, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. I had my chickens. I had plans. I wrote poetry at night.

My mom decided over Easter weekend to reconcile with dad and move us all to California.

We left Utah that July. Right after the 4th of July, so I could go to one more rodeo, eat marshmallows over one more fire, see one more fireworks show.

I’ve had good times since then. But it’s never, ever been the same.

Growing up in Okinawa, Japan. Everything was bright colors, beautiful scenery, blue skies, white beaches, shining sun. I loved my school, my friends; I belonged utterly. There was always a sense of something new and fantastic just around the corner. I was completely secure: no worries or doubts, because my parents took care of everything.

I’ve had moments of happiness since then (namely getting married), but now, there’s always some kind of worry, some kind of responsibility.

While it’s sad that I will never experience that kind of unfettered happiness again, I’m glad I had it, and I’m glad I had subsequent experiences that (I hope) has made me a wiser person.