Teachings from Answer me 1994

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Being a huge fan of Jung Woo, I was sure he would be doing a tremendous work in his breakthrough character. But I was sceptical of watching the drama itself as I was familiar of Go Ara’s work before and although she is pleasant and absolutely gorgeous onscreen, I have never found myself awe-struck with her performances earlier and wasn’t really pleased with the casting. However, she proved me absolutely wrong after the first half of the first episode as she slowly became Sung Na Jung. Gradually everyone from the Sinchon Boarding House became my favourites as the series grew into me.

This heart-warming show talked dealt emotions with light humour, compassion and impressive satori. This post is about all those emotions felt while viewing all those one and half hours of 20 episodes and reliving the moments where this show made me contemplate the message the show was trying to convey to the viewers.

Present is the most precious gift

“Present. This English word has two words; Gift and Now. Perhaps, it means that the most precious gift for us is present; the very time before us. Although we constantly bicker and pestered against each other, we leaned on each other, touching each other.” – Na Jung

Before this statement, relating ‘present’ as ‘gift’ and ‘now’ never came across my mind. Although it was a simple link, comprehending the time we live now as the most precious gift was indeed a revelation that we all take for granted. It is not until when we are reminiscing the past that once used to be our present and think how precious the time actually was.

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Truly, our now is the most beautiful gift life could ever give. Surely not everyone has a joyful time in their present, but as time goes by, I assure you, those not so lovely moments will also become a part of your journey. You can either let yourself forget those times or just LOL about it, but you won’t forget those people who stood with you despite your ugly moment. You cherish them and truly acknowledge them in your life. That is the gift you acquire from your present.

Choices come with lingering regrets

“Whichever path you choose, there are always lingering thoughts of the road not taken. That’s why there are no choices without regrets, and no one right answer to life. All you can do is believe that the road you’ve chosen is the right answer, and turn it into the right answer. The right answer to life is to believe that you don’t regret your past choices and live on. Believing in my past choices without regret and loving them—that is the right answer, and that’s how to grow old with style.” – Samcheonpo

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Few years ago, my dad traveled to England to participate in my graduation. He was ecstatic and enjoying his time abroad with relatives across the country. On the day of my graduation, i realised that not only i was getting late for every early arrangements for the ceremony, i had not booked any guests ticket for my father. I had completely forgotten about it while juggling my classes, seminars and work without any rest. The realisation hit me hard and for the first ten minutes I pictured my father desolated about not being able to attend my success. My head wasn’t getting close to find the best solution as the tickets were to be bought way ahead and my heart couldn’t bear to break my dad’s heart.

After 20 minutes of harsh self-criticism, I made up a story to my dad telling him how I had to be in the venue early (which i had to eventually) I rushed towards the train station. With the party shoes that was not meant for walking quickly, my legs were already bruised before I got the train 5 seconds before it departed. Luckily, my hysterical texts to my course-coordinator was replied and she I could buy last minute tickets. The only problem was that there might not be many tickets left and I might arrive there after they sold out. It was a race against my luck.

As I stood in the queue of the cathedral gate, my only wish was the girl ahead me would somehow not be able to purchase all of the last 5 tickets. When she didn’t have enough cash, I didn’t even hesitate to be delighted for someone’s loss and get my tickets. After that, everything seemed to go smoothly as I finished my ceremony and one of the worst day of my life.

Today, when I think back, I regret not being a bit careful for such a big event and don’t tend to comfort my mistake with the excuse of my busy life. I contemplate on how I could’ve done things in a better way, perhaps looked better and taken a nice chat with my dad before the ceremony. I know the moment has passed but i cannot help it.

Yet I do believe my choice of not breaking my cool in such crisis and handling everything with a clumsy grace made me who I am today. Surely then I could’ve asked for help, had things done a bit different and let my worst day not get as worse. But I chose to take control on my situation and despite not knowing if that was the right choice, I tried to make it my best choice. Now, I still recall it as my worst day, but don’t let it give me a sad moment. Rather, I relive that day as the turning point of my life, my choice in growing old with style.

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Some dreams are worth laying down

“Impressive dreams are those that defy family and rise above one’s situation. But most of us can’t bear to step on the ones we love, and in the bitter end we take it upon ourselves to lay down our own dreams. But it’s okay. There’s no need to be discouraged by the dramatic sweat of success or swayed by a setback or the feeling that you lost. To us, people were simply just as important as dreams. The decision to change myself for the people I love – is a pretty impressive thing” – Na Jung

Not everyone gets their dreams come to reality, wishes fulfilled and aims achieved. You might dream of writing novels, but situation bind you towards scientific papers. Music might have once been your passion, but now you work 9 to 5 in an establishment nowhere close to creating melodies. Situations, emotions, expectations and inescapable fates overrule many dreams, leaving us felt betrayed by life. You blame yourself for your incompetency, hold others responsible for the sudden change in your life.

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But being bitter takes you nowhere. Instead, like narrated in the drama, you should find yourself proud to have decided to change for the people you love. People who were just as important as dreams. Surely it is an impressive thing to cross hurdles and achieve your dream, but laying down your dreams to meet expectations from your loved ones is itself a brave act.

For a show that didn’t have my high hopes, Answer me 1994 was and will remain one of the prominent drama for me in my list of favourites. Despite its long 1 and half hour episode, I recommend all to give this drama a chance. It revives the flutters of first love, the pain of loss, the obvious hardships to growing up and most of all, the compassion for family and friends.

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