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"Before l Fall: Discover the Value of Each Day in Your Life" by Milly Chen

Looking up at the sky at sunrise and sunset, I used to have limited expectations for the next day. As far as l was concerned, every day of my life was ordinary. I hadn't considered the meaning of my life and the value of my existence. It wasn't until I watched the movie Before I Fall that I changed my mind. The lines from the last scene in the movie impressed me: “Maybe for you, there’s a tomorrow. Maybe for you, there’s 1000 or 3000 or 10. But for some of us, there’s only today. What you do today matters, in the moment and maybe into infinity.” The background voice of the main character Samantha seemed wise and empathetic that you weep at the thought of it.

Before I Fall is a classic time-loop movie based on the book by Lauren Oliver. Samantha is the protagonist who found herself trapped in a loop after a car accident—waking up at the same time, listening to the same music, and starting on the same day. She couldn't move forward since she needs to make amends for all of her wrongdoings in the short life that she lived. God interrupted the cycle of Samantha’s daily life but gave her a new cycle of reliving the day of the car accident. The repetition of this seeming cage creates a new space for her to pause from the rush of adolescence and explore the people and things that had been neglected by examining the destined outcome.

The loop is a sort of purgatory and eventually leads Samantha to realize that in addition to caring for herself, her parents, sister, and friends all deserve to be treated kindly. When she reflected on her behavior, she noticed how much her ignorance had hurt others. Also, she gradually lost herself when she tried her best to fit in a friend group. After going through the same day several times, Samantha found the true meaning of her life, and on the last day, she saved Juliet, a student who was bullied by her friends’ group, from an impending car accident. From the beginning of anger and fear to the end of calm thinking, Samantha learned to appreciate life’s precious moments. Although seeing Samantha hit by a car was a sorrowful ending for the audience, Samantha felt released to complete her salvation.

My father recommended I watch this movie because he wanted it to inspire me with some new ideas about life. Others' stories play the role of teachers, teaching me remarkable life lessons. As the plot progressed, I gradually entered Samantha's world from an outsider's perspective and begin to perceive the happiness in my mundane life. In reality, no time machine or regret pill can rewrite the past. Moreover, no one has the insight into the future and prevent anything. Consequently, I can only decide what to do at present. It’s significant to improve my life to be brilliant rather than living in the same pattern every day.

Instead of dealing with issues that are irrelevant to me, I am inspired by some new values in life, like spending more time with the people I care deeply about and discovering the kind of person l want to become. Nowadays, most of us lack of critical engagement and self-consciousness, as well as an inability to reflect on our lives. There are some things I am not good at, I struggle with difficulties, however, I need to understand that I have irreplaceable strengths. “Become who you are” is another theme of this movie, which leads me to insist on my unique qualities and guide me on the right path.

People tend to think our lives are long, which means we have plenty of time to waste. However, tomorrow and accidents you never know which will come first. Let us do a quick Math calculation, there are only 36,500 days in 100 years, which is not as large a number as we initially anticipated. Being a high school student, 5840 days have already passed unconsciously. Before l Fall inspired me to cherish the time more and learn the importance of doing meaningful things in a day. If you ever struggle with your current situation or have a negative view of what happens in your life, this movie will bring you a whole new perspective. Make each day worth it like it is your last.

Milly Chen, an international student from China, is a peer reader at school Writing Hub. Her pieces have been published in Young Scholars Journal and Teen Inks. Since 8th grade, she started her creative writing journey and attended various writing contests. To treasure delightful memories and appreciate meaningful things in life, she loves writing diaries. Even though it was difficult to not go back home for two years, she used writing to relieve stress. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, dancing, reading and watching movies. She is excited to share her unique story and read people’s wonderful work.

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