Every person will, at some point in his life, take an accounting. He will not only ask whether he achieved his goals, but also if he achieved the right goals.
Was it worth all that effort? Could I have achieved more? If only I had thought it through... You don’t have to be old to ask these questions. The older you are, though, the harder these questions are to face, and the more frequently they rise to your consciousness. The High Holidays train us to think through and face these questions now, as opposed to in the future; to take the pain of “now,” rather than the anguish of “then,” because pain is passing, but the results are permanent.