Yesterday’s Memories, Today’s Regrets

 “What should I have done this summer?”. Its 10:00 P.M., Tuesday August 20th, and the night before school starts, the last wisps of summer freeing itself from my grasp when ask myself this question.

I reminisce back to the first day of summer, the tingly feeling that pulsed through my entire body and the anticipation that resounded throughout the school. I was jittery, nervous yet excited, restless to get out of the testing area and into the fresh air of summer that brought in waves of possibilities. I could, no, I would, go running everyday, try new foods, craft new friendships, and enforce old ones; I would make my room an artistic masterpiece, explore Cleveland, and attempt to do something to fix my summer wardrobe. Those were just some of the ideas that exploded like fireworks inside my head, bursts of light providing guidance to the mysterious unknown of the coming months.

Like most others at the start of summer break, I was filled with ideas and joy at the possibility of the new and unexpected, plans that could change with the wind. Yet, here I was, on the day before school started, wondering what happened to all my ideas. Sure, I went to the mall and visited Chicago and New York City, but I was still filled with an emptiness, an aching sense of regret after the summer ended. The saying “You don’t know what you have until its gone” embodies my, as well as many other girls’, feelings at the end of a time free of worry and work.

 

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With 100 days of summer, students of Hathaway Brown accomplished so much. Groups ventured to Cambodia, China, and Peru, while others increased their knowledge at summer school. Many experimented in labs at Case Western Reserve, played sports or had a blast at sleep away camps. Despite doing such extraordinary things away from home, many felt unfulfilled in different areas of their life. Most HB students, in response to a survey, said that they wished they could have slept and spent more time with their families and friends. A copious amount of current seniors had regrets about not starting on their college applications when they had the time.

 

Every spring, my household receives 100’s of pamphlets and fold out brochures trying to lure me into camps, classes, cruises, and occasionally the purchase of a bright neon motor scooter and matching helmet. Yes, summer holds many opportunities for students to do extraordinary, wild things that take you out of your comfort zone, but, as many HB students helped me realize, it is also a time for relaxation. This is when time slows down, when I don’t always have to rush to school or sports practice or spend all night hunched over you homework. These are the days when I don’t have to speed by what catches my eye, but I can stop to smell the roses or watch the sunset. Though tempting, I urge you to put down those eye-catching brochures next spring, and focus on finding a balance between happiness and excitement, fun and peace. Sit with your family and friends around a bonfire for s’mores and lively conversations, go on quiet walks, or lay down and observe the stars. Hopefully, in these slow days of relaxation, you will find moments of joy and tranquility that rival those of the busy days of adventure.
This past summer, I did do some exciting things, but I always had to be doing something. I think that is what prompted that burning question on August 20th. “What should I have done with my summer?” For me, the answer is I should have relaxed, living to savor the moment, not to look too far ahead or to regret the past. And you?

Isabel Weil