Cheerful retrospection

A few years ago I lived with my good friend, Kim. Every day we’d catch up after work and she would ask ‘What was the most exciting thing that happened to you today?’ Sometimes it would be a major life event, like landing a new job. More often it would be something small, but just as exciting, like getting the front seat on the bus. In a similar vein, at bed time my sister asks her young children ‘what were your best bits from today?’

In The best thing (cheerful retrospection), Austin Kleon quotes from Nicholson Baker’s The Anthologist:

If you ask yourself, ‘What’s the best thing that happened today?’ it actually forces a certain kind of cheerful retrospection that pulls up from the recent past things to write about that you wouldn’t otherwise think about.

If you ask yourself, ‘What happened today?’ it’s very likely that you’re going to remember the worst thing, because you’ve had to deal with it–you’ve had to rush somewhere or somebody said something mean to you–that’s what you’re going to remember.

But if you ask what the best thing is, it’s going to be some particular slant of light, or some wonderful expression somebody had, or some particularly delicious salad. I mean, you never know…”

Reading this reminded me that I’ve got out of the habit of asking myself, and others, this question. And of the joy of those shared moments of reflection and joy. It’s time to change that and bring it back. Tell me, what’s the most exciting thing that’s happened to you today?


Featured image by Quino Al on Unsplash

Subscribe to Gathered Thoughts

Get updates from the blog plus a selection of links from around the web.



about emma

I am a coach and facilitator helping people to pause, reflect and make conscious choices about what comes next. In my writing I explore themes of personal development, reflective practice and what it means to live well.