The most beautiful moment in one’s life, like when a flower blooms…
When I was eleven years old I discovered my love for metaphors – namely that of ones in languages I never had the blessing to learn.
There is something so beautiful about the languages of the world. Perhaps it is how each one has its own history and a world within it to explore, or how you are able to learn or make meaning of words which are not of your own tongue. My favourite expression, which holds the most meaning in my life, is the Chinese metaphor 花樣年華 (huāyàng niánhuá). It means “the most beautiful moment in one’s life, like when a flower blooms…” While I first encountered this saying due to a music group that I listen to, it is not the reason I have taken it to heart – it is because I’m fascinated with the concept of our most beautiful moment in life. Each individual makes their own meaning of the metaphor huāyàng niánhuá depending on what speaks to them. Some people believe you can have many moments described by this metaphor in your life and others think there is only one, major moment: what I describe to be the peak of one’s happiness.
Ever since learning of this saying I have reflected on what the most beautiful moment in one’s life is, and more thoroughly within my life. I think often about if I have encountered my most beautiful moment in life or whether I will be blessed to live multiple times of peak happiness… If I’m being completely honest, I’m not even sure if there is an answer. However, I hope I can experience many.
The reason I bring up such a saying is because there is one thing which comes to my mind as I think about it: my three year experience of AP ELA. Like a flower blooming, each year I grew a little stronger, a little more beautiful with every step I took towards the future because of my opportunity to be an AP student.
Year One : Planting a Seed
Course recommendations. It was then, in my grade 9 year, that I saw 10-1 placed on my sheet for recommended courses next year, and then that I strut towards Ms. Hunnisett’s classroom to grab the AP portfolio requirements in defiance. Creating portfolio’s for the AP class is no longer a requirement like it was back then and sometimes, I even forget I wrote and submitted one in the first place… But I did, because I had to be in AP ELA, and not because I was not believed to fit best in advanced placement. No. It was because deep in my heart I felt a love for literature, and being in an environment with other like-minded individuals was almost like a dream. By grabbing that portfolio, I allowed a planted seed to germinate: giving it the water, nutrients and sunlight needed to grow. I gave myself the opportunity to become a part of something special by taking things into my own hands.
For that, I always remember to thank myself for giving me a chance – thank you.
However, how did the seed get planted in the first place? Well, I am not the only one to thank. It was today as I wrote this blog that I remembered who first planted the idea of AP ELA into my head before recommendations: Ms. Hunnisett. One day, our English teacher told us about another teacher (guess who!) who would be coming in the next day to teach us. On this fateful day, I was introduced to the idea of an AP class by our lovely Ms. Hunnisett.
And so, the seed of want for AP class was planted.
She was the reason I was able to begin my dreams of AP but most importantly, the reason I took things into my own hands. As much as I loved the idea of a wonderful English class, I loved the idea of having such a kind and profound influence in my life. I knew, just knew that by joining AP, I would change my life forever.
I most certainly was not wrong, and this is all thanks to Ms. Hunnisett – thank you.
Year Two : Growth
Rough; that’s certainly one word which helps to explain my grade 11 year in general. If I’m being honest, when I think of the year which passed by it is a blur and therefore, I believe I have blocked most of it out. Of course I had my fair share of wonderful moments, but I cannot deny the negatives which plagued me enough to want to forget many moments.
Unmotivated. I felt unmotivated. I don’t truly know why. I enjoyed doing the work I was given to do at home and put effort into everything I did, but it was all lacking heart. I didn’t put my heart and soul into whatever I did anymore, and this was my downfall. While I was able to recognize my lack of enthusiasm, this acknowledgment was not enough. I tried so hard to feel the same way about life in general as I did in grade 10 but alas – it didn’t work. I felt as if I was stuck in a ditch, clawing my way out and towards the light, only to tumble back down into the darkness. While this time of my life proved to be difficult, I learned many things. I experienced a side of myself I didn’t know was there and in turn was able to learn how to grow… So, I began to change myself for year three. I wanted to become the passionate person I was in year one, regain the fire in my heart, and to get myself out of the rut I found myself falling into.
Year Three : Dispersal
I almost left, but I cannot for the life of me remember why. Perhaps it was the position I found myself in year two or the doubt I began to feel when someone asked if I was still going to do AP after seeing my mark (which was over 80’s, might I add!!), but these are all such silly reasons. God, am I happy I didn’t listen to any negativity in my head. I was ready to make this year my year, and to do that, I had to ignore anything that told me I couldn’t and instead listen to what my heart was saying.
It scares me to think about how this year would have been like had I decided to switch out, and I have no doubt I would have regretted it.
Every year of AP was magical, but grade 12 is where I began to feel the happiest. During the summer, when I decided I wanted to be a positive influence for both younger grades and others in my own grade, I found motivation. One of my main goals for my final year in AP was to impact those around me by dispersing seeds of knowledge and kindness. I am incredibly happy to notice these seeds every once and awhile, and know I have left a positive mark on people this year.
Year three was the year I began to spread seeds like a dandelion in the wind, but it was also the final stage of me blooming into a flower. Last year I felt as though I was wilting, and consumed by my thoughts, failed to see I was growing new leaves. I hadn’t noticed there was still something beautiful and alive sprouting within me… when I did, however, I allowed myself to bloom.
❁ ❁ ❁
I may have not discovered what the most beautiful moment in life truly is, but I know it is a way I can describe my time in AP.
The moments I shared with this class will forever remain a special part of me, and I truly believe you have all brought me to one of my huāyàng niánhuá. Without this class I would probably still have a long way before I found my most beautiful moment in life.. Perhaps I wouldn’t know what that feels like at all.
My time here has surely been the highlight of my high school career, and I have every single one of you to thank. Thank you for making me feel warm, welcomed and loved. Thank you for the acceptance into your world and thank you for making me feel beautiful.
I hope we all will have many most beautiful moments in life, where our hearts feel free and we ourselves feel beautiful. Even if there is not a definite answer of what the most beautiful moment in life is, don’t worry – you will feel it coming.