No, it’s not what you think. The happiest moment of my life so far was a day I felt unequivocally carefree with friends I love.
The happiest moment of my life so far wasn’t the day my boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend. Sure, that was a very happy time, but the one I’m about to tell you about was a different kind of love.
It wasn’t the day we got my dog Moe either. That too was a wonderful moment I’ll always remember. This day happened on vacation in Europe with my two best friends when I was in my mid-20s.
Here is a snippet of a time in my life I felt truly, utterly happy.
Many would probably expect me to answer this question as the day I met my boyfriend, or the day I got my dog, or perhaps something involving my family. Sure, those days are all joyful ones in my life of course, but there’s one moment in one day that I remember feeling truly and incredibly happy. I’ve always considered myself a happy person but this particular moment stood out for me for the past six years as my happiest.
It was the summer I turned 26 and I was on my first trip across the world, to Munich, Germany, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France. A self-described hopeless romantic, I was so excited to be in Paris. I was on this trip of a lifetime with my two best friends, both males.
The three of us had become a The Hangover-like trio, even nicknaming ourselves after characters in the movie. We were constantly on all kinds of adventures. I felt safe and secure with the two, and had been in love with both of them (and very briefly dated one) at some point over the eight years previous. I was dating another man at the time and was eager to get away for a bit as I wasn’t sure exactly if I was all that excited about him (we ended up breaking up later that fall).
We gallivanted all around Paris for three glorious days. It was the time before ISIS threatened in the shadows and we could safely walk the streets without any worry. I remember seeing Versailles, Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge. One evening, the three of us were sitting outside one of the quintessential Parisian cafés, sipping beers while taking a break from sightseeing. We were laughing hysterically at excerpts from my diary, which I had brought along to chronicle my European travels.
After some loud stomach rumbling, we all agreed it was time to find somewhere to eat dinner. We stumbled upon a small and cozy-looking restaurant tucked into a corner of Paris, near the Sainte-Chapelle. From the outside, there’s nothing all that special about L’Auberge Café. Its brown and beige exterior is elegant but not too fancy.
Either way, we were excited about finally getting some food and the menu posted outside looked good. When we sat down, we took in the rustic atmosphere at the quiet restaurant. It was intimate and homey, a completely perfect surprise to us.
The dinner we had that night was for lack of a better term, incredible. There wasn’t anything too fancy about it either but it hands down was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in my almost 33 years.
I had a beef tenderloin, potatoes, peas and onions in a dark, savory sauce. My one friend dined on duck, a signature entrée of the restaurant and the other chose a fish fillet. We sampled fresh prawns, spicy gazpacho and an absolutely to die for molten chocolate dome dessert with the most decadent of melted French dark chocolate inside. With a bottle of the house wine, we made sure to make it a truly incredible night.
I know what you’re thinking—this doesn’t seem like it deserves the title “happiest moment of your life.” The funny thing is, despite how brief that dinner was in the hindsight of things, while I was sitting there I felt truly completely happy. It was a moment of my life I will remember forever. It was young enough not to have to worry too much about the future but old enough to truly appreciate that moment in time.
Now, whenever I am feeling anxious or just need to take a moment to close my eyes and relax, I always recall that dinner with my two best friends in one of my favorite cities in the world—remembering what it feels like to be completely, unapologetically happy.
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