Thursday, September 10, 2009

To the good life

I interviewed a documentary film director this week, and when I asked him about the best moment of his life, he said, “Birth.”
I’m not sure if he was trying to be funny or deep or inscrutable, or was just annoyed by the question.
I know it was a cliche, in the same line as “if you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” (Thank you, Barbara Walters.)
But this guy is at a high point in his professional life, and I really wanted to know if there’s a moment when you know you’ve made it, personally, professionally or both.
Of course birth and death are the bookends of our lives. But what about all that stuff in between?
I suppose for some people, “best” is defined by money or possessions. For others, it is professional recognition.
I think the best moments of my life are both large and small. In the “large” category: the day I met the man who would be my husband; the day we were married, and the day our daughter was born.
But it’s the smaller, more random events that sit between birth and death that make a life worth living. Just daydreaming for a few moments brings some to mind:
The night I played synthesizer in a heavy metal band.
The first time I climbed Pikes Peak.
When I finished writing my first book.
When a copy of that book arrived in the mail.
The day I learned to drive a stick shift.
The day I taught our daughter to drive a stick shift.
The first time I saw the mountains, glimmering in the distance as we drove west across Nebraska.
Watching bald eagles fishing in the icy winter waters of the Mississippi River on a -20 degree morning.
Watching deer graze in our backyard.
Teaching our daughter to read.
The day we bought my husband’s dream car, a black Camaro Berlinetta, off the showroom floor.
My first piano recital.
The day I skied alone after a foot of fresh powder, when the skis were blue, the sun warm, and the slopes virtually empty.
My daughter’s college graduation day.
There’s a common theme here. Most of these are from my life as an adult. Moments of personal accomplishment, discovery and adventure rank high on my list. But it’s a really long list. It’s a really good life.

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