As I enjoyed the longer daylight, I started to think about my favourite days of the year - what are they and why they are my favourite days? As a result, I’ve come up with my Top Ten Days of the Year. Naturally, you might think that my anniversary or my birthday would be on the list but they’re not. That isn’t to say that those days aren’t important and that I’m not glad for those events. I am – especially when I think of how I almost died when I was born - but I think days like those go into their own special category as special case, natural favourite things (although, if I do my Top Ten Least Favourite Days, my birthday could appear in that list). The Top Ten List I've come up with doesn’t have any of those ‘gimme’ or ‘duh’days and the days aren’t listed in any particular order. So, without further ado, here they are:
1. Daylight Savings Time.
Like most people, when there’s less light I can get irritable and sometimes I can even feel a little depressed but that’s not why I like DST. I like it because, even though, I am somewhat of a professed homebody, I do like it when it’s light outside. It just, literally and metaphorically, make the day longer. As a busy human being, when it gets dark, I tend to shut down and view the day as over. When there’s more light, whether it’s real or not, there just seems to be more time. It also just, simply, feels good. Some people I know complain that it means they lose an hour and they’re tired but the effects of an hour’s less sleep diminish. The longer daylight hours, at least, last a few months longer.
2. The winter’s first snowfall. Anyone who knows me might find this surprising because those people know I have a love/hate relationship with snow. It’s pretty to look at but it’s also dangerous, causes major inconveniences, and takes time away from my already busy life. My wife, family and friends will attest that I’ve referred to it as “white shit.” So, why is it on my list? Well, because it is pretty to look at and it does offer some – this is going to sound corny – warm, fuzzy feelings and thoughts of coziness, younger days, the holidays and new and exciting things. You might say the hate part of my relationship with snow is because I didn’t grow up with it; my first encounter with snow wasn’t until I was sixteen. Not growing up with snow is also why I have the love part.
3. The first cool day in October. Autumn begins sometime in late September but it’s the first cool day in October that has a special feeling for me. The early Fall is one of my favourite times of the year but it’s that first day when you have to wear a sweater or sweatshirt to work, put the flannel PJs on that gets me. There’s a certain crispness and something clean in the air. It also makes me
start to think of the holiday season that include into Thanksgiving and Christmas.
4. The opening day of the English football season. I’ve been a football (soccer) fan for 32 years and an Arsenal fan for as long as I’ve been a football fan. So, in the same way a Yankees supporter look forward to spring training and the opening day of the baseball season, I look forward to the opening day of the English Premier League. I love football, especially English football, I love Arsenal and I love that cable television and the internet allows me to watch
and/or listen to just about every Arsenal match of the season. Even though I’m not there in London, or wherever my team is playing, I can smell that distinct aroma of fresh grass and fresh grass in cool autumn air.
5. January 1st.
No, this isn’t because it’s the start of a new year and all that is supposed to bestow upon us. Really, it’s because it’s the start of the midseason transfer window for European football and it’s an exciting time of anticipation and disappointment to see who’s leaving this time and who’s going to that time and what trades and deals Arsenal are or are not making.
6. The first day after the last day of school. I’m a school teacher – when I’m not writing and not being a Taekwondo instructor – so the last day of school is always exciting. Listen folks, it’s as exciting for teachers as it is for students. Let’s not be coy about it. We all look forward to it. Other than my first three years out of college, when I had a job that ran for twelve months and not just ten, I’ve been in and around schools all my life. The first day after the last day of the school year is like a breath of fresh air.
7. My son’s birthday. This, you might be thinking, should fall in that special case, ‘gimme’ and ‘duh’ category. Perhaps it should. For me, though, it really slapped me in the face but not because I’m a father and we’re talking about my son’s birthday. That’s just a ‘duh.’ My son’s birthday has added significance to me because we’re best friends and because, while I am still very much a flawed man, I’m a better man every day because of him. Additionally, I see him on his birthday and he’s aware that it’s a special day for him. He knows there’s going to be cake and presents but without any kind of selfishness or self-centredness. His demeanour is full of innocence; an innocence I know will one day disappear but one that I can witness and appreciate, unlike the innocence I possessed at that age. It makes me think of what Jesus said needing to be childlike - not childish – to enter the kingdom of Heaven. Children are Heaven on Earth.
8. Thanksgiving Day. I love the holiday season and Thanksgiving starts it all. (Yes, some of you start it with Halloween but Halloween falls in my list of least favourite days; although, with my son’s enjoyment of it, I’m starting to warm up to it.) I love Thanksgiving, too, for the Macy’s Parade. I love watching it, seeing the Broadway performances, seeing everyone dressed up in New York City, the balloons and floats and, of course, Santa at the end. Like I said, it excites me for the upcoming holidays but it also brings me to a childlike state and lets me be free, albeit just for one day, of any and all adult pressures and worries.
9. The day after Thanksgiving. No, this has nothing to do with Black Friday. I have gone to the stores and there is a lot of excitement and the crowds and such are all part of the season. The day after Thanksgiving, though, is the start of the secular Christmas season and, while I believe Christ MUST be kept in Christmas, I also like the red and green, the bells, carols and decorations that stay with us for a couple of months.
10. Marathon Sunday. Many marathons are run on Sundays but if you’re from the New York area this can only refer to first Sunday of November. That’s when 40,000 plus people run the New York City Marathon. I love this day. There’s so much anticipation leading up to it, so much celebration. Also, I’ve run it twice and I want to do it again. I first ran it in 1995; twelve years after I watched a delay of it on TV in Hong Kong and vowed I would one day run it. Maybe it’s because I’ve run this race or that I’m in the New York area, living next door in New Jersey, and that, if I were in Boston, I’d feel this way about the Boston Marathon but there’s something truly special and powerful about 40,000 runners and tens of thousands of assistants, organisers and volunteers coming together to make the even work and for everyone to have his or her own unique experience. Each runner’s reasons for entering are different but they’re all coming together with one thing one their minds - finish the race, cover 26 miles and 385 yards and conquer the monster that is a marathon and the need that made them have to run it.
So, that’s my Top Ten Favourite Days of the Year. What are yours? Do we share any? Think about what yours are and do share. Thanks for reliving my year.