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12 Things I Learned From (500) Days of Summer

There’s a whole love-hate dichotomy about this controversial romantic movie, but there are tons of insightful lessons to be learned here as well! By Geninna Ariton

12 Things I Learned From (500) Days of Summer

Great actors. Amazing soundtrack. An unbelievable and remarkable storyline that happens more often in real life than in romantic comedies on the big screen. These are just a few of the reasons why we all fell in love with Tom and Summer in (500) Days of Summer.

The movie’s surprising plot and resemblance to real life made us pick up a lot of things from the movie. Some of these we are already aware of, but have been taking for granted, like having younger siblings lecture us about our lives, while others are eye openers such as the main characters’ undefined casual sex-lationship.

Love lessons from (500) Days of Summer

If you’ve completely missed out on all the wisdom imparted during Tom’s relationship with Summer, here are a couple of reminders.

#1 “It was good.” When Tom asked Summer how her weekend was like, Summer answered him with these three words. And the next thing we knew, Tom was already being thrown off by Summer’s vague reply, because he assumed that Summer was possibly describing a weekend sex-athon with some handsome stranger. First rule of thumb is this – never assume.

Be it in relationships, friendships, or work, we can never really tell what is going on in other people’s heads. Those three words that Summer uttered to him was all it took for Tom to change his mind. And this theme goes on in the movie as we find Tom assuming that he is more special than Summer’s ex-lovers, or anyone that she had any sexual relationships with. [Read: 23 things women wish men knew about them]

#2 One minute you like eating strawberry ice cream, next minute you are craving for pistachio. And as simple as that, people’s minds change and so do their feelings. We learn early in the movie that Summer has already called it off with Tom, without their relationship story being told yet. From Tom’s point of view, it happened abruptly, but for Summer, she was already dreading every minute she spent with him.

Feelings change. Nobody has control of it, not even the bearer of these feelings. Although it was very brave of Tom to confront Summer about her change of heart, the bad thing was he cannot accept it. Change happens, and oftentimes, there’s nothing we can do to change things back. [Read: Why do people fall out of love?]

#3 Step outside. Get out of that comfort zone. Tom showed us that he has a different passion, and it is in drawing buildings and outlining its architecture. That is what he really loves to do, and not his job at the greeting card company. He is probably there because of the stability this job has offered and he was too afraid to get out and look for what he wants, for fear of losing what he has.

Staying in a stable job isn’t a bad idea, but never venturing out and reaching your full potential can end up with a life of regret. Thankfully, Tom had the whole Summer fiasco to thank for getting shoved out of his comfort zone. Do you want to wait for a similar shove?

#4 Pity party? Why not?! We all know by now that wallowing in self pity and crying our hearts out is normal, and it’s a part of the process toward healing our broken hearts. And just like Tom, it’s okay to be sad and get through that dark period, but just make sure that you don’t get stuck in a rut. Instead, use that negative energy and depression to tell yourself, you will get what you want next time, just you wait and see.

#5 I want responses from the little humans. Those innocent kids, those little humans. They always offer a fresh perspective and never really think like adults do. Sometimes, the best people who can aid us in this time of grief or any personal troubles that we might have, are the young ones.

In the movie, Tom’s much younger sister was always there for him, giving him surprisingly intelligent and insightful bits of truth. Just remember that scene where she said, “The next time you look back, I really think you should look again.” She was referring to how Tom would always recall all the good times, and none of the bad ones. Sometimes, all we need is an unsullied standpoint.

#6 We are special. And we might not be aware of it. No one is ordinary and Summer definitely was not. In the movie, we saw how statistics showed that Summer’s presence had made things wonderful. She had no idea that she was doing this, and yet she continued to live like she was going to die tomorrow, not worried about life and enjoying every single minute of it.

We do not need proof that we are special or that we have the ability to make people like us more than we want them to. Having a very positive outlook in life and being a go-getter will attract the nicer things, and we might even be surprised at what these things could be.

#7 “To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die.” This song by The Smiths connected Tom and Summer for the first time. Songs connect people. Imagine how it makes you feel when someone that you are not very close to will tell you that they also listen to the same songs you do. You feel a connection right away. It does not necessarily need to be a romantic connection, but it’s a pretty good start.

#8 It is all about the details. You know you are in love with someone when you notice the little details about them. The way they smile, the way they look at you, their different expressions, the way a certain shirt color looks on them when they wear it, their body marks, amongst many others. And in Tom’s case, the song that he consistently hears at the back of his head, whenever he thinks of Summer.

While it’s nice to be able to remember these details about one person, remember that in the movie, it’s also these details that Tom began to hate when he and Summer stopped seeing each other. Though the details remain the same, it’s how you react to it that can change. [Read: 12 little things men notice about women besides their appearance]

#9 Love is not for everyone. Remember what Summer said in the karaoke bar, when she was being asked about love and relationships? She said that relationships are messy and that she does not believe in love. There are so many women out there who are headstrong about savoring their freedom and independence, just like Summer. And this is not a bad thing.

Women who believe in this are usually the ones who know that they might have not found the right person yet, and so they choose to remain steadfast in their beliefs. Their decisions not to have romance in their lives should also be respected. [Read: 15 essential tips for single ladies]

#10 “What always happens, life.” There are so many times that we tend to complicate things, and we find that we spend a huge amount of time rationalizing, explaining why things happened and turned out the way they did. But perhaps it’s also good that we employ Summer’s answer to these kinds of things: Life happens.

Perhaps dwelling on something that cannot be explained by the great Greek philosophers or mathematicians should not really need pondering. Maybe we will feel a hundred times better if we just left things to fate, and accept things as they happen. [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back]

#11 “Friends” or not or more than friends. Defining the relationship is immensely important. In the movie, we saw that Summer refused to give a label to what she and Tom have. And Tom assumed in his head that they are a couple, because they act like a couple. But in Summer’s world, they were just friends.

One of the reasons why this relationship did not push through is because of Summer’s refusal to put a label on what they were. There is something that held her back and it was strong enough that she let Tom go. [Read: 10 important rules of casual relationships]

#12 Instinctive feelings never fail. We heard Summer utter the words, “You’ll know it when you feel it,” and she is correct. Sometimes, we do not need rocket science to explain what we feel and what we think. We just have this gut feeling and we somehow know that it feels right. Summer explained that she finally understood what she wasn’t sure of with Tom. It was her instincts that finally led her to let go of Tom and find the guy she ended up marrying.

[Read: 10 things an 80’s teen movie can teach you about dating]

The depiction of a very real, yet heartbreaking, relationship in (500) Days of Summer has struck a chord with numerous people. That’s why the lessons that can be learned from this movie are so poignant and timeless.

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Geninna Ariton
Geninna Ariton
Daydreaming of pristine white sand beaches and attempting to beat her 40 books read in a year record, she is a preschool teacher by day and a writer by night. N...
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