Best is not the same as favorite. Best is an ostensibly objective judgment to some extent. Favorite is a term that is flavored by personal preferences and experiences and prejudices.
I don’t think I always understood the difference, or that there even was a difference. But I think that coming to understand it has been part of the whole self-discovery that I have been experiencing over the past year.
Things I have come to understand:
- Favorite is where your personality shines through. I may know that the best restaurant has impeccable service, haute cuisine, high ceilings, 4 stars on Yelp and all that jazz. But maybe my favorite is really the hole in the wall with the rude staff and the not fancy at all, but still delicious and satisfying, meals. And financially it’s probably best to be frugal and shop at fast-fashion chains, but my favorite thing to do is forgo frequent shopping and instead wait for the deal that nets me a “fancy” well-made piece that requires I spend a bit more, but will let me love it forever instead of falling to pieces after 3 wears. The best clothing for my frame may be the more form-fitting so that my short self doesn’t disappear into my clothes, but I just like the oversized coats and my culottes and hinting at, instead of displaying, my shape.
- Best might be necessary when you are looking out for your well-being, though. Maybe I feel like my favorite work environment is where there is pressure and stress and a fast pace. Where I thrive on the constant buzz of my email, even while on vacation. However, for my mental and really, physical, health, it is best to find something that doesn’t give me heart palpitations or require medications to deal with the anxiety it causes.
The best versus favorite question plagues my future plans, too. Do I sell my belongings and traipse about the world? Or do I nest and really decide to create a life in my city? If I do that, do I buy the house that is already redone and move-in ready? Or do I answer the call to go for the mildly (okay, super) tacky and mildly horrifying home that has so much potential? (And this morbidly obese cat – really, who could resist this? Look at that tiny head!)
These are all, at their heart, best versus favorite questions.
But until I can sort those out, I will stick with the easy ones. I know that Godiva chocolates are clearly more along the lines of “best” when it comes to sweets. But God help me, my favorites are the virtually tasteless Red Vines, especially when they are dry to the point where you have to gnaw on them a bit. I’m fancy like that.