As I sit back and mull over this day - a day that I will savor as being as close to perfection as any in recent memory - I decided against simply recounting the various joys that elevated this particular Saturday over most of the rest of my days. Instead I am writing about the things that separate "great" days from ordinary ones.
For starters, I spent almost the entire day with my wife. Now for some folks in struggling marriages (and believe me, we had our tough years), spending time with your spouse is about the last component of a great day. Yet there are few things in life I enjoy as much as even the most ordinary day with my spouse, as we grew together rather than apart over the past 23 years.
I also managed to find the time to do little work today, aside from a dozen pages of editing earlier in the morning. So we instead spent the first half of the day in volunteer activities with Planned Pethood, went to a late lunch, and then traveled for an hour up to Michigan to visit my grandparents. We brought up an unused DVD player and a dozen movies to launch my grandparents into a more modern form of entertainment, since my frugal grandfather steadfastly refuses to spend $40 a month on cable when commercial TV is free.
To answer my implicit query above: the most important aspect of a "great" day is hanging out with people you love. The next step - at least for us - is to become involved in helping causes and people instead of pursuing self-centered goals.
Twenty-five years ago I would likely have defined a "great" day as one in which I attended a rock concert, went to Cedar Point, or (even worse) a day spent getting drunk and/or laid. Today my definition involves activities like walking hand-in-hand down the street with my wife, or helping eight rescue dogs find homes with loving families.
Today I spent little cash, consumed no alcohol, and did not engage in sexual activity (well, at least not yet - there are still 24 minutes before midnight :-}). In 1984 I would have found this to have been an utterly boring and pointless day, and a day a million light years from "great."
God, I used to be such an idiot.