To all the girls I’ve loved before

First things first, guys can like “chick flicks.” If you don’t know why that’s the first thing that I am saying, then it’s probably because you haven’t seen or heard of the new Netflix movie, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.”

For me, this wasn’t just another rom-com. Now that I’m actually in high school, at the same point in my life as the movie’s main characters, I can relate to them, like a lot. When I saw “Sixteen Candles” for the first time, I was like 12 years old and at that point in my life, the only girl problem I had was who I would choose for the snowball dance at my bar mitzvah (which was actually a really big deal for me).

So here I was, sitting in my room after an evening Rosh Hashanah service, depressed because the Packers beat the Bears on Sunday Night Football, watching a movie that girls told me I wouldn’t like because it isn’t for guys. Who would’ve thought a “chick flick” like this would have inspired me to come to deep revelations about myself?

The next morning I watched the second half of it again and started to think about my own life. I grew up watching high school TV shows like “Friday Night Lights,” or even “iCarly,” and now that I was in high school, it seemed like my life wasn’t as exciting as these characters. This is mostly true.
No high school is actually like the ones portrayed in TV shows or movies, and the fairy tale storylines in these movies seem to never happen in real life—but parts of them do.

Studies have shown that in the age of smartphones and social media, high school relationships are down, and the way people meet each other is more often through the internet than in person. Thus, the picture perfect moments we dreamed about as twelve or thirteen year olds are becoming increasingly rare.

One of the most consequential scenes in the movie consists of the two main characters, Peter and Lara Jean, eating dinner after a party talking about their unbelievably complicated relationship, one that I won’t get into because you should watch the movie. Peter asks Lara Jean why she has never had a boyfriend before and she responds, “Okay. Um…So love and dating? I love to read about it, and it’s fun to write about and to think about in my head, but when it’s real…it’s scary. The more people that you let into your life, the more that can just walk right out.”

This hit me hard. For the entirety of high school, I’ve sat around, dreaming of things that could be, while not pursuing them because in my head just the idea of it all seemed better, if not just safer than the real thing—and this goes for all kinds of relationships, not just romantic ones.

I could just be wasting my time thinking way too deeply about a movie that was intended for girls, but I don’t think I am. As I’m now a senior, and high school will be over in a matter of months, I’m realizing that the decisions we choose to make now won’t haunt us for the rest of our lives. Rejection, while scary, is a part of life and telling people how you feel isn’t actually that weird.

I’m not trying to say that my life sucks, because it doesn’t. I don’t question whether I live a good life, rather, I question whether I am living my best life. It sounds stupid, but when I think about how much privilege I was born with, I constantly wonder if I’m making the most out of it.

In a year, I will be in college, and the little things I did and said in high school will have little importance, but even so, you only are in high school once. I think it’s worth letting more people into your life even if the goodbyes became that much harder later on.

After all, the decisions we choose not to make today are the ones we will probably regret in the future. That, more than anything else, is what scares me the most.