I rewatched a couple episodes of my favorite Japanese drama (野ブタ。をプロデュース) with Korean subtitles recently. That was quite the experience. My brain felt like it was doing gymnastics at the Olympics. The awesome thing is that I understood maybe 85-90% of the Korean subtitles I read, while my ears also understood maybe 10-15% of the Japanese. My brain kept trying to connect the two, but the synapses just didn’t seem to be forming. Haha. Well, I’ll keep watching and see if it gets easier.
I won’t write about how much I adore this drama but it is, hands down, out of all the Asian dramas I’ve ever watched, my absolute favorite. It is the perfect story of youthful earnestness, camaraderie, and life in general. And it never ever fails to makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. After rewatching it though, this part from episode 1 really stuck out.
AKIRA: Youth – I’m not really sure what that means, you know.
SHUUJI: Well, to me, it’s kind of like trying to do something no one else has ever done before. Or giving it your all until you collapse. Something like that.
AKIRA: Hm. What should I do?
SHUUJI: That’s something you have to figure out for yourself!
The word that really got to me was 青春「せいしゅん」 (청춘 in Korean), which means youth or (rather floridly) “the bloom of youth.” It made me sit back and reexamine my life. In high school, my dream was to become a published writer before I graduated college. That was the big thing I desperately wanted to have accomplished while I was still in my 青春.
For better or worse, that didn’t work out and here I am.
Ever since I started graduate school, I’ve been wondering if I’ve just doomed myself to wasting away my 青春 at the lab bench, in the tissue culture hood, or in front of the microscope (though microscopy is fun), in a futile attempt to “do something no one else has ever done before” (which is the essence of a scientific discovery). The doubts are making me realize that I’m still at the “figuring out” stage in my life and, meanwhile, my youth is flying past me.
And I don’t think I’m the only one feeling like this. Several of my friends have hit a “Quarter-Life Crisis,” if you will, where they feel like they need to be doing something great but just don’t know what. Is society to blame for this in some way? Have young people just been conditioned to feel like they need to have changed the world before the hit 35? Or is youth really about attempting the impossible? I’m not even sure anymore. In any case, when I was feeling my lowest, I saw this comic –
– and it made me feel better. It’s time to get over this existential crisis and move on before I worry my 青春 away.