Pull out the high school years from the archives and carefully browse the file with daily memories. Don’t you think that the details of the clothes, the house, the room, the school, the classroom are all there with hyperthymestic precision?
Everything is still there: exams, papers, teachers, classmates, discussions, breaks between classes, the road to high school and back, even the smallest and insignificant adventures, the scent of fruit picked directly from the tree, discoveries in the garden, games in front of the house, the first romantic gestures…
It is no coincidence that those days were recorded with unparalleled accuracy in the memories archive that accompanies us all our lives. These were days we lived leisurely—excited, sometimes stressed or frightened by school, but blessed with almost complete ignorance of other worries.
Nurtured by everyone’s patience, by an understanding and support which we have probably never encountered to the same extent, the high school years are the nursery of our life dreams.
For many of us, it was especially the end of these years that has become an essential milestone in our lives, because it was then that we made the first decisions about our development and vocational path.
If you’re in high school, enjoy it! If you have high school children, fill their high school years with a holiday feeling! High school students deserve to be celebrated with the same fascination with which the world watches the spectacle of Japanese cherry blossoms. The flowering of high school students is more spectacular but just as short.
The results of two other great choices define our lives, and for this reason we remember them as faithfully and in as much detail as our high school years: true love that opens the way to a transformative marriage; and one’s soul being born again—the most intimate moment in the life of someone who, in the most improbable way, shapes a creature so different from the old one that the memory of this moment has the capacity to influence the biographies of those around them.
It is true that we make choices all our lives (and this is part of the beauty of life), but these three stand as a foundation for the other great choices we make. Let’s protect our big choices! Wrong decisions are changed with effort, worry, and turmoil. We lose something of ourselves, or at least some of our time, when we lose our way.
At the same time, when I clamber back into the boat, I don’t have time to regret the moments lost while struggling not to drown. The blessing of the opportunity to choose again, to change direction, and to heal our dream is infinitely greater than any loss. It is never too late to resume or rebuild our great choices and the dreams we have for our lives.
The big choices must be made correctly. I intentionally left out “on time”. Because, whether they happen on time—with the first good opportunity we are given—or at any other time, beauty will prevail, because it is often from mistakes that we are able to grow even stronger and more inspiringly.
Norel Iacob is the Editor-in-Chief of Signs of the Times Romania and ST Network.