When we’re children, our frame of reference is limited to what we have seen or experienced. For example, a child who has never been in the ocean may imagine it’s similar to being in a pool. It’s only once they dip their toes in the sea that they begin to grasp the concept of its immensity.
My mom ran an in-home daycare, so I grew up with over a dozen children, but one of my absolute favorite daycare kids was a boy named Nick. Nick was a few years older than me, and had been one of my mom’s daycare kids since before I was born.
My mom always told me that Nick taught me how to walk. I don’t know if that’s 100 percent accurate, but I would’ve done anything to keep up with Nick, so the math checks out. There are so many things I could say about Nick, but to summarize, he was my dearest friend.
One summer day, my mom dropped Nick and me off at Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver. It was my first time going to the amusement park without an adult.
As we were wandering through the crowd, I thought to myself, “Wow, look at us, here we are, having the best day of our lives!”
In my limited world view, I couldn’t picture it getting any better. Here we were, at the amusement park without parents, hoping from ride to ride, having the, dare I say, best day of our lives? There was just no beating this.
My husband often teases me about this, quoting 11-year-old Emma while we stand in line to see a movie. “Wow, Emma, look at us, here we are, having the best day of our lives!” We laugh, but what’s beautiful is that for a brief moment, I remember what it was like to be aware of one of the best days of my life, and how it feels to reminisce on the moments that felt like they could never be beat.
Today, so many of us deal with anxiety and depression, myself included. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Which makes me think, how many best days of my life have I been in and not acknowledged? Did I miss it because I was thinking about yesterday or tomorrow?
The truth is, that day at Elitches with Nick was one of the best days of my life. I’m inspired by young me, and vow to continue to recognize a day that just feels so absolutely magical.
If I saw Nick again, I’d thank him for the countless years of laughter and for giving me some of the best days of my life.