This I Believe


by Chuck Ivy - Part 1

I believe this is the best day of my life.

Oh, yeah, I know what you are thinking. “This old geezer had his best day several

decades ago.” But, I insist.

I woke up this morning in my bed – a great bed, really. Large, warm and soft.  With my

wonderful wife by my side. I went to bed last night without hunger and got a good

night’s sleep. When I awoke, I was not being shot at or running from lions or tigers or

other predators. So far as I know, no one is trying to hurt me. But, these are not the

reasons that I believe that this is the best day of my life.

I believe that this is the best day of my life because I have learned that there is a choice

component of happiness. Yes, I believe that most of the time we can choose to be happy,

and all of the time we can choose to be unhappy. Let me explain.

Among our friends in Atlanta was a lawyer. I’ll call her Georgia. Georgia was always

rushed and harried and always complained about this and that. No matter when you

saw her, no matter where, she was having the worst day of her life. Too many

deadlines, too little help, morons for bosses, idiots for assistants, and jerks for opposing

lawyers. She came from a well-to-do family, lived in a beautiful house, made lots of

money, and was married to a man who made more. But, she was never happy and she

continued to have a series of worst days of her life.

There was another lawyer named Marvin. I did not know him well, but I had seen him

enough to know that he had this strange habit:  When he was greeted with, “how are

you,” he always answered cheerfully, “best day of my life.”  He was well liked and

respected, and he ran for mayor of Atlanta. The race turned ugly and nasty when the

other guy played the race card. Marvin lost by a wide margin. He was badly defeated.

It so happened that we had dinner with Georgia on the night of the election when

Marvin was defeated. True to form, Georgia was having the worst day of her life. It also

happened that the next day, I went to a meeting of lawyers and Marvin was there. I

figured he would be down, so I went out of my way to say, “Good morning, Marvin,

how are you?” “Best day of my life” he answered cheerfully. It took me back. Then I

watched as he gave the same response to others. And – the most amazing thing – he

seemed genuinely relaxed and happy, as if he was actually having a good day.

That’s when I put two and two together. There is a choice to be made. A choice between

having the best day or the worst day of our lives. A choice to be happy or miserable. It

is not perfect. We cannot choose to ignore tragedy or disaster, but, by choice, we can

make the awful events better.  Most of the time we can achieve actual happiness and we

can choose to be unhappy all the time. A choice. As for me:  well set’s see – best day or

worst day, happy or miserable. Hmm. Well, I think I’m gonna go with happy.

So I must insist. This is the best day of my life. This I believe.