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  • I remember childhood like a perfect summer day. The sun reflected off the pavement, and my friends and I spent the days running around to each other’s houses and hanging out from afternoon to sunset. If I were to sum up what childhood meant to me, I could not point to a specific day, but to how a day felt like, with the clear cut lines of time blurred and feeling as if you were truly living in the moment, that you didn’t have to worry about what would happen tomorrow, or what would happen the week afterward, or what would happen for the rest of your life.

    Of course, my childhood was not always like this. My perfect summer day was here in Pennsylvania, when in actuality I spent other parts of my childhood in other places I lived in, which would be Taiwan and California. I lived in an apartment in Taiwan, and I saw my cousins very often. When I was in California, I lived in a neighborhood where two of my friends lived on the same street, and the pool and mountains to go hiking on were all within walking distance.

    But somehow, these other places I lived in are not the first things I think of when I think of that ideal childhood. They were fun and certainly memorable, but I think by this point in my life it has become too distant. I have returned to Taiwan once since I moved; I have never visited California since then. I became out of touch with my friends and had adjusted to living in Pennsylvania.

    One of the reasons why I condense my childhood into living here in Pennsylvania is because it would never become too distant here. As I am writing this, I can look out my window and see the yard my friends and I would play various games in. As I look out the other window, I see my friend’s house, and just slightly beyond that house is my other friend. And several years later, we still remain the closest of friends.

    I didn’t spend my whole childhood outdoors like I imagine it. But I like to think that was how it is. There were less beautiful moments in my past, but I wanted to believe in this ideal childhood, where you can say anything was possible and it didn’t sound cliche. As we get older, we realize that we must care more and carry more responsibilities.

    And now, high school is an idea, a characteristic. Although we all had our good days and bad days, high school will become more and more broad, and being a teenager will become more and more fantasy like. We will adjust to a new normal with new responsibilities. And when we move on to different phases of our lives, we are left with the decision with what to do with our high school experience. We may be more than willing forget it. We may cling on to whatever we have left of high school. We may brush aside high school like it was only an obstacle to what we really want from life.

    But the point is this. Virginia Woolf once said, “I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” High school is now of the past. We choose how to remember high school, but more importantly, how to remember our lives. Even after high school, we can still shape our high school experiences. And many years from now, we may remember high school like what we wish we could admit it was- the perfect day.
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