Let’s turn the clock back a bit. In the first week of March 2011, the Korean stock market passed 2,000 points once again, but Korean economy was still struggling with securing price stability in the midst of global economic crisis. On the other side, the Korean society became entangled with the letters thought to be written by supposedly the late actress Jang Ja-yeon, and then it was followed by another string of infamous scandals of Korean diplomats in Shanghai. Nevertheless, our life went on as usual as if all these things had nothing to do with us whatsoever.Let’s turn the clock back a bit. In the first week of March 2011, the Korean stock market passed 2,000 points once again, but Korean economy was still struggling with securing price stability in the midst of global economic crisis. On the other side, the Korean society became entangled with the letters thought to be written by supposedly the late actress Jang Ja-yeon, and then it was followed by another string of infamous scandals of Korean diplomats in Shanghai. Nevertheless, our life went on as usual as if all these things had nothing to do with us whatsoever.
Then, on March 11, a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake and devastating tsunami struck Japan, and we had a chance to witness a disaster on an unimaginable scale and an unthinkable human tragedy being televised live on TV. This time it should suffice without the help of any computer graphics technology which was the key to the unprecedented success of the Korean movie Tidal Wave (Haeundae, 2009). What differentiates this tragedy from the movie is the disaster in Japan took more than 20,000 lives in a matter of minutes and those victims will never return home while every dead character in the movie eventually came back home alive after several days or weeks of filming.
Who would have imagined in the first week of spring semester if this magnitude of tragedy could have happened a few days later? This is what makes our life more real than a movie for our life does not come with an already written script. Our real life is full of unexpected turns. Some of them make our life brighter and more shining: hitting the lottery jackpot, a blind date with a guy like Hyun Bin from Secret Garden, or being hired by one of the finest companies in Korea. What makes our life genuine and true, however, is the other kinds of heartbreaking turns: a ‘bolt-from-the-blue’ text message of breakup from your boyfriend of 5 years, two Fs in your end-of-semester grade report, your father's forced retirement at the early age of 50, the 31st rejection notice from company in your job search, the death of your loved one, etc. Everyone wishes to know what would happen to us tomorrow, and this million-years-old human anxiety has served as base for the movie It Happened Tomorrow (1944) or a famous CBS TV series Early Edition where a newspaper that has tomorrow's news is being delivered to the protagonist every morning. However, knowing someone’s future would rather make your life more miserable and painful as you also have to face the solemn truth that you become to know in advance all the devastating tragedies that will happen to your most loved ones.
Then, how do we cope with uncertainty in our daily life? Two different possibilities: either you spend a fortune to go ask the famous fortune-tellers in the country every month or you learn how to make the best of a day and accept whatever results and just move on. Though we live in a ‘super-duper fast changing’ society where the term ‘certaint’ is no longer considered something attainable, there is still one certain thing that I can share with you: a life goes on no matter what happens. A life went on for the survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima or those of Holocaust, a life went on for victims of ‘comfort women,’ a life went on for our parents who had to survive the Korean War and endure the infamous IMF crisis, and I am sure that a life will go on for those earthquakes and tsunami survivors in Japan as well.
Our life is full of ups and downs, and this is the most genuine nature of life cycle. The good news is that this cycle of ups and downs applies to everyone, even the president of Korea, your best friends, professors in your classroom or your most favorite TV celebrities, but the bad news is that you're not the exception, either. No matter how much you hate ‘down’ part, it is somewhat inevitable, and this is why we’re desperately looking for someone we can lean on in the form of marriage in order to go on this bumpy road of life together.
Never get discouraged when you hit rock bottom in your life as you will hit one sooner or later eventually, but a comforting thing to know is that, it’s part of our life and never the end of your road. Instead, try to make a new boyfriend, take summer courses to make up for your two Fs, find a part-time work to ease the financial burden on your parents, fill out your 32nd job application form, and spend more time with your loved ones right now because “our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” I wish I could have learned this simple truth at school. No matter what, your life will go on and should go on, and that’s the beauty of life.