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Here’s What I Learned From 13 Going on 30 and Other RomComs

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

There was a moment in my life, I would have rather loved to forget. The moment where life got extremely hard, and I had no way out. I would barely eat, shower, or sleep, and, for some reason, it seemed useless to do so– as if I didn’t matter. I had the realization that I was real and had to make plans in order to build a life worth living for. That apprehension consequently brought up memories of where I have been and aspirations for where I could go. I felt like a useless counterpart to everything in my life, as a friend, as a girlfriend, as a daughter, and even as a person. I was honestly lost and reminiscing on everything I could have done right, every time I made mistakes. 

I couldn’t fathom that all the things that have happened to me were for a reason. What could all this hardship be useful for? I honestly had no direction to what I wanted in life… It was so hard to remember a point in my life where I was appreciative of all there was and could be. All I could do was lay on my bed, drowning away in the space between and just lie there. So, at one point, I turned on my TV, searched between millions of options on what to watch, and randomly decided to watch an overall loved timeless favorite: 13 Going on 30

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I didn’t expect much. My thought process of how the movie watching experience was supposed to go was just a simple activity to pass time; so I could feel at home for a moment, to be lost in another world that wasn’t mine. But out of nowhere, I was captivated. This movie screamed at me everything that I needed to hear. There’s a scene in which the protagonist, Jenna Rink, is giving an editorial pitch at her workplace, with all odds against her, and she said this one line that forever changed my perspective in life…

“I think all of us want to feel something that we’ve forgotten or turned our backs on because maybe we didn’t realize how much we were leaving behind. We need to remember what used to be good. If we don’t, we won’t recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes.”

After being so completely lost in and mesmerized by her very weird and somewhat unlucky circumstances, she turned that confusion into motivation. Her circumstances made her adapt to what she needed to do at that moment. It made her realize that life is much more than issues, problems, and wanting to grow up quickly to avoid mishaps. Life is about doing what you can, when you can and loving the present moment because, in an instant, it can go as quickly as it came. 

As soon as I stopped crying over the movie, it changed my perspective on every mistake I was dealing with at that moment. The hardships I went through, might just be a scene in a movie where everything changes for the better even if it’s hard. 13 Going on 30’s response to uncertainty and fear of making mistakes is a trademark to feeling at home with making mistakes and learning from them. Being present in the awkwardness and beauty of the unknown and the decision to believe in the outcome, as well as living in it, is a beautiful lesson to learn!

Yes, Rom-coms can be unrealistic and completely ridiculous but if you accept what it’s trying to teach you, they welcome a new feeling of accepting that life is equally as ridiculous and unrealistic as it’s trying to show you. 10 Things I Hate About You shows you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover and to be more empathetic to people you don’t understand. He’s Just Not That Into You shows you to never settle for anyone just to be loved, but to be with people who appreciate you as you are. The Proposal demonstrates how vulnerability is an important quality to let people love you and for you to love yourself. 

There are many movies that constantly and carefully provide me with these lessons. They changed my life, so I would like to encourage other people who are hesitant to watch these movies because of the stigma against them, to try and open their world to these surprising, ridiculous, but very important movies. They got me out of the gutter and made me go and branch out in life. 

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But hey, I’m just a girl, standing in front of a reader, asking them to give it a chance.

Katteryn M. Hilario Valdez is an aspiring writer at Her Campus at UPR. The topics she covers in her articles range from entertainment and fashion to life experiences and mental health awareness. Besides her role on Her Campus, Katteryn is currently a Senior at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, majoring in Psychology. However, she’s also in the works on getting a second major on Journalism. She plans to use her knowledge and practice of writing and media literature to build a successful career on the mix of the two. When she isn’t writing for Her Campus, you can see her writing and reading poetry when she’s inspired, as well as writing essays on the types of media that catch her eye. You can also find her writing songs and doing karaoke in her alone time. In fact, she loves music related shows like High School Musical: The Musical: The Series or Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and romantic comedies like 13 Going On 30. She also spends her time digging into anything video game related in her downtime. Most of all, she has an interest in anything she can learn and improve from, always looking to grow her practical and logical skills for her professional and personal career.