August 28th. It’s just a date on a calendar. One day in the midst of 364 others. Today, I scrolled through my news feed on Facebook. In short time, I saw that that date—today’s date—means so many different things. Being a Monday, some of my friends are having particularly bad days at work. One friend is celebrating her 18th wedding anniversary with her husband. Another is without power in the middle of massive flooding in Texas. One friend sent her son off to school for his first day ever. Yet another began the first day of her senior year in college. Yet still, another mourns the anniversary of a father’s death. Others are celebrating birthdays.
That random Tuesday on any given week, where nothing of interest happens, can also be the best or worst day of another’s life. It will become a date that is never forgotten in the minds of others. I have other dates:
April 26, 1986—The fourth reactor at the Chernobyl power station exploded.
April 26, 1990—126 people died in a 6.9 earthquake in China.
April 26, 1991—23 people were killed in Kansas and Oklahoma by tornadoes.
April 26, 1993—A Boeing 737 crashed at Aurangabad, killing 56 people.
April 26, 1994—An A300 Airbus flying from Taiwan crashed in Nagoya, Japan, killing 262 people.
April 26, 2006—At 10:24 am, a baby girl was born into the world.
For everyone involved, each example of April 26th started off as any other day. By the end of the day in most of those examples, it had become the worst day of their lives. A date locked forever in the minds of those there, their friends, and their families. The last example was the birth of my daughter. My best day falls on the same date as the worst for thousands of others.
It’s true that we often can’t control the best or worst days of our lives. Tragedy sneaks up behind us. Fortune surprises us. One day on a calendar becomes a monument in the blink of an eye with little or no assistance from us. That One Day refuses to let its presence be forgotten.
What does that mean? It means we are left with 364 others. Will today be my best day? Maybe. Will it be my worst day? Possibly. Will today come and go without any significance? Probably. But today represents possibility. Tomorrow represents possibility. Every year, I have 365 opportunities to have the best day of my life.
I am a flawed man. I don’t always follow through. But I’m trying to look at calendars differently lately. I’d like to think the entire calendar is an advent calendar. Just as December’s countdown-to-Christmas advent calendar offers a treat behind every little door, so does that of February, May, August, and every month. If I work hard enough, maybe every date can be a monument in my mind.
So, today I’m going to buy a calendar. Something with a badass theme like Game of Thrones or kittens. I’m going to write down every significant date in my life and mark it on the calendar. Every new cause for celebration will be added. And at the end of the year, I’m going to transfer those dates to the next calendar. On and on, until I have an entire year of important dates.