These Might Be Our Happiest Days
The other day I was working out with my trainer over zoom when she said words that
have been stuck in my mind ever since. She was talking about how we often only know what
we miss in hindsight and that, whether we know it now or not, “these might be our happiest
days.” It’s a concept I’ve heard many times, of course, but something about it struck me
differently this time. We’ve all heard “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” and that
may feel true, but realizing that we may not even know that this is the happiest time of our lives
until it is over hit me differently for some reason.
I try to focus on feeling gratitude frequently. I have kept a gratitude journal since 2014,
and I try every day to notice the good around me. As a mother of a sixteen- and twelve year-
old, I am keenly aware of the passage of time and how quickly things move. That, in turn, also
makes me want to notice the stages my kids are at and all there is to enjoy about them right
now before they’ve moved on to different stages.
But thinking about the fact that these days might be the happiest of our lives, and we
might not know it until they’re over gave me pause. Because of course it’s true. And so what
would we do differently, if we knew that were true?
If these are, in fact, our happiest days, but we won’t know until they’ve passed, how
might we wish we had treated these days? I’m guessing we’d wish we squeezed the juice out
of them, noticed all the good that surrounded us while it surrounded us, threw up flares of
gratitude for all the good things we were aware of. We’d probably wish that we enjoyed them to
the fullest while they were here.
First, a caveat— if you are going through a particularly hard time right now, honor that.
There is no reason to put additional pressure on a challenging situation by trying to make
yourself feel grateful for it.
But, if these days seem pretty good to you, if you’re not in the midst of a crisis, what if
we took some time to think about the fact that “these might be our happiest days.” I painted
these words out in a rainbow of colors to put above my desk because I want to think about it, to
be reminded of it. It makes me look at the day differently.
I love that it doesn’t say “these will be our happiest days” or “these are the happiest
days,” but “these might be our happiest days.” We can’t know now, that’s part of the point. But
what could we do to ensure they could be? And what could we look at as reasons that these
were our happiest days, if they turn out to be?
It’s a different orientation. One that is open to possibility. One that feels curious and
ready for adventure (or whatever else might show up). What if this was one of your happiest
days? How would you want to treat it? What would you want to notice? To pay attention to?
How would you want to orient yourself toward the day?
I recently heard Krista Tippett, host of the On Being podcast say that “there is something
redemptive and life-giving about asking a better question.” I love these questions— about how
we’d want to treat this day if we knew it might end up being one of our happiest— because I
think they can actually change our orientation toward our days, and allow us to notice the kinds
of things we usually overlook when we’re too busy rushing from one thing to the next.
And I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you knew this might be one of your happiest days,
what might you want to do differently than you do in a typical day?