Regrets are oftentimes a result of a decision that entailed a huge sacrifice on our part or things didn’t happen the way we wanted to. It’s not bad to have regrets but I believe that a lot of us also acknowledge that not all regrets stay as regrets. We come to realize that the struggles and pain brought about by certain choices made us stronger and better human beings. That perhaps if we were given a do-over and can make a different choice, we’d still make the same decision just like we did before.
18 Again was such a great family kdrama about hardships, healing, and realizing that just because you’re a family doesn’t mean you know everything that your loved one is going through. I’m glad that the actor who portrayed the teen Dae Young, Lee Do Hyun, got his breakout role here. After seeing him not get Jang Man Weol in Hotel Del Luna, he finally gets (back) the girl this time! The comedy moments, sweet flashbacks, and lightbulb moments of love made this korean drama such a memorable one for me.
There have been a couple of the getting younger or getting a reset kind of korean dramas throughout the years. I kept comparing this show with a similar-ish kdrama, Familiar Wife, where the husband & wife were also going through a hard time and the former got a do-over with his life. It was a good show but I felt like they didn’t give the wife enough credit in having her fair share of mistakes and that it was primarily the husband who needed to realize his mistakes. What I like most about 18 Again kdrama is that they showed that both sides, the man and woman, had their respective shortcomings towards one another.
The things that I learned here aren’t just for married couples as these reminders are applicable to one’s family, friends, co-workers, and other relationships as well. Do read my first impressions about 18 Again kdrama and fall in love with the Hong family and their heartwarming journey!👨👩👧👦
Unnie Life Lessons
1. Make an effort to communicate and understand what your loved ones are going through with their daily lives. Respecting one’s space is not bad but misunderstandings and conflicts arise from assumptions that exist only in our head.
Da Jung had no idea that Dae Young was struggling with work and even discovered that he had given up a chance to play basketball again after she gave birth to their twins. She regrets not having this knowledge as it could have prevented arguments between them that ultimately formed cracks in their marriage. Granted Dae Young could have voluntarily told her this, but I understand when a person just wants to unwind and not have to talk about their problems at once. Their marriage crumbled further because they weren’t properly communicating their feelings anymore.
Communication is a two-person effort, but I believe that your loved ones will open up at the right time as long as you make them feel valued and safe when they share with you. Sometimes, you have to be the bigger person to understand first for a good conversation to flow between you & your loved one. Although Da Jung was livid at first when Si-A told her that she wasn’t going to college and instead attend a make-up school, our ever wonder woman mom took the time to listen to Si-A’s reasons and supported her decision in the end. Si-A also apologized and admitted that she was wrong in thinking that her parents saw her as a burden all this time.
A lot of the Hong family’s conflicts came from not telling each other what they truly felt and assuming the worst in each other. Though it can be tiring at times, we owe it to the people we care about to not judge them and offer open arms (and ears!) when they need someone to talk to.
2. Our actions can mean something else to other people. We might think it’s okay in our own perspective, but it could actually have negative impact especially to our loved ones.
Da Jung advised Woo Young that if he was serious about having a basketball career, he ought to stop with his drinking & smoking habits. I’m all for respecting one’s privacy and just like the life lesson above, we cannot assume what goes on in a person’s life. But it doesn’t hurt to listen and think about our loved ones’ opinions because they only want what’s best for us. It may seem harmless to us because we know our own limits, but a different person’s perspective could be a way for us to grow & improve more.
Unbeknownst to Da Jung and Dae Young, their kids felt disappointed for witnessing them smoke and drink respectively. In Da Jung’s case, she was trying the electronic cigarette as she was curious on how it would feel since her husband loves to smoke. Meanwhile, drinking was Dae Young’s way of coping with issues at work. These reasons are not bad but nevertheless, it gave the wrong idea to their kids. These deeds done in moderation are not bad, but we have to remember that not everyone will understand our actions.
We have to be mindful of what we do, especially when there are people counting on us or look up to us like a role model, because we might set a wrong example to them unintentionally. Just like with the first life lesson, talking things out is the only way to resolve uncertain thoughts and musings.
3. Happy endings don’t equate to a picture perfect life. It is however, a beautiful mess comprised of cheerful moments entwined with arguments and frustrations. What’s important is growing through the tough times and relishing the bright & uplifting experiences together.
It was such a nice and realistic ending knowing that although Dae Young and Da Jung had resolved their major issues, they still fought and bickered with each other after getting married again. Conflicts are a normal part of any relationship, but I don’t blame anyone if they say that they’d want things to be pleasant all the time. Heck, who wants to feel discomfort & awkwardness right? 18 Again korean drama reminds us that not getting along all the time is okay, it’s a natural consequence of our unique identities as humans.
We grow through our mistakes because we learn things that we shouldn’t do anymore or find ways to improve on ourselves because of such experiences. Because of this, we are able to enjoy both the good & difficult moments of life with a contented heart😊
It’s been so long since I wrote a life lessons post and I really wanted to write this one because this year has been so devastating — I, we, need a reminder that things will be okay even if our situation isn’t at its best✨ No matter how young or older we get, it’s never too late to learn something new, do the things we always wanted to do, and cherish the moments that make us happy.
Is there a limit to what you can do for the ones you love? Putting them first, sacrificing your own needs and wants, letting them go to have the life they want to live? Cha Yu-ri, the main protagonist of Hi, Bye, Mama!, shows us that love is truly unconditional — not just as a parent, but also as a daughter, sibling, friend, and even as a ghostly spirit.
With the ongoing covid 19 pandemic paralyzing our daily lifestyle, it’s become common for us to slow down and have more time to reflect on what we’ve done so far in our x years of existence. Life is short, oh we know, but to someone like Yu-ri who died abruptly and was given a chance to start anew — she realized so much more than the living can adhere to.
1. Eating good food, going out or being able to hug your loved ones are actions that we can take for granted because we can do it anytime, easily. Learn to appreciate these simple acts of living and be thankful for every chance that you can do these.
No one in the world can predict their own death. Although we are told by quotes, reminded by a friend or older relative, and so on that we shouldn’t take things for granted, we can’t help but give little meaning to eating out, working, or being able to talk with friends because it’s easy. Let’s take a conscious effort to slow down and reflect on these beautiful acts of love and care.
I’ve read advice expressing that the everyday, mundane parts of life are all you need to live a good life. Let’s not wait until the certainty of these experiences become fractured — relish these moments now.
2. Even if it’s not in your presence anymore, letting your loved ones go and allowing them to find their own source of strength and hope is the best kind of love you can give.
Gang-hwa remarrying was never an issue for Yu-ri, either when she was a ghost or when she reincarnated, because she knew that she couldn’t console him any longer when she died. Seeing him get better and move on with Min Jeong was something that she will always be grateful for. Even if it meant the love of her life found somebody new, as long as he wasn’t in pain, she accepted it well.
It’s natural to think of ourselves first whenever we make decisions. But at the end of the day, it’s still easier for us to give way to someone we love because seeing them happy trumps the knowledge of them being miserable. Even to her own daughter (Seo Woo), Yu-ri never coveted the position of being her mom because she was thankful that Min Jeong took care of Seo Woo. Yu-ri was content in being able to spend time with her and know that Seo Woo liked her company as well.
3. Time can heal wounds. How long or how short can’t be determined but as long as you try, beautiful memories will replace the painful ones. Moving on with your life is something that you should strive to do when you need to.
Losing Yu-ri was a tragedy but five years gone, the people closest to Yu-ri were moving on with their lives without her. Although her mom did pray to see her once more, she still carried on with her everyday life without her eldest daughter. The unending pain that you feel will slowly dissipate with time, don’t give up. As long as you exert an effort to process the wounds, even as small as eating a meal or as big as trying to work or date again, better days will bless your presence.
As pointed out by Yu-ri, she didn’t want her loved ones to feel guilty in moving forward with their lives. We may forget about deceased family members, good friends we lost touch with through the years, or fun experiences, but we’ll never truly lose such memories because the impact they made in our lives are too significant.
Hi, Bye, Mama! kdrama was an emotional rollercoaster for me and though it had its depressing moments, the overall mood of the show aims to uplift our spirits with hope and healing. This post is long overdue, but it’s been a struggle for me to write about something positive when I myself have been feeling the ups and downs of being in quarantine.
There is no perfect formula on how to cope and move on but we can always try. Let’s be gentle with ourselves and never forget that:
Life is unpredictable. Live yours to the fullest — make sacrifices, learn from mistakes, cry, laugh to your heart’s content! It’s a wild but fulfilling journey, don’t worry, you’ll get through it😊
Life is what we make of it: You can choose to be a supporting character of someone else’s story or you can live a life as your own main character. I thought this was what Extraordinary You kdrama wanted to convey, and to a certain extent it did, but that’s not how we ought to just look at the big picture. So what if we’re an extra or helping someone else shine? It’s not bad to help others with their problems or cheer them on when they are going through something rewarding. It’s not always about us (me)… we all have our own moments in the sun and rain🌟
The main character, Eun Dan, Oh struggled in coming to terms with her role as an extra but along with the other characters of this show, everyone was able to learn what was truly important to them and achieved a happy ending for themselves.
Read my recommendation post for Extraordinary You korean drama to know more about the show’s plot and head over to my recaps page in case you missed anything!
Unnie Life Lessons
1. Being resilient and not giving up to make changes to your life despite your situation/environment.
Dan Oh’s fate was stacked against her pretty early when she realized that she was just an extra in a comic book. The fact that she had a heart condition and was engaged to a guy who didn’t care about her was the cherry on top of a grim set-up. I loved how she was so determined to change her life (which she did) and actively did something, even the smallest actions, to try and make a difference🦋
We tend to make excuses about our circumstances and whine that we cannot do everything that we desire. If we are being realistic, yes, there is a limitation to our capabilities BUT there’s also so much that we can do if we just stop complaining and just do something!💪🏻 The hard work and frustration that stem from such is daunting but just like Dan Oh, we have to buckle up and face our fears to enact change.
2. Finding purpose and learning to be content and appreciate one’s situation because our lives are unique and invaluable as it is.
*This seems to counter the 1st life lesson but I did say that realistically, we do have limitations outside of our control that we can’t change.
Dan Oh learned to accept that she was just a comic book character and her set-up of being terminally ill because she found happiness spending time with Ha Roo. There was nothing she could do about the comic book ending and together with Ha Roo, they made the most out of their precious time together.
Struggling to accept the reality that she was merely an extra, Dan Oh realized that she didn’t need to make herself a main character by making changes in the grand blueprint of her life. She found purpose as a person — undefined by any role, and rallied to live her life day by day as Eun Dan Oh. Not the lovestruck girl who gets emotionally bullied by her fiancé but a cheerful, spritely, and persistent character who found love, has good friends, and lived a pretty comfortable life.
3. Choosing to prioritize yourself by allowing convenience over hardships to govern your daily life.
Ju Da ultimately chose to be with Nam Ju instead of Do Hwa because she didn’t want to fight her destiny of ending up with him given the tough times she went through in the comic book. Initally I thought this was a cowardly choice because staying by Nam Ju’s side is exactly where she’ll end up since they are the main characters. Yes, it’s a convenient choice — devoid of the complications of changing one’s fate if she chose to pursue her feelings for Do Hwa… but being with Nam Ju made her truly happy so there’s nothing wrong with her choice.
There’s nothing wrong in wanting something that makes your life easier or better: Technology, shortcuts, efficiency. If following the love story predetermined for Ju Da makes her happy (And it did), then by all means. Life is hard enough as it is so choosing or doing something that lessens the difficulties is a good and acceptable choice. Just like how Dan Oh wanted to actively alter her fate, it’s okay that Ju Da didn’t want to change hers.
4. Letting go of the things you cannot control but at the same time living your life to its fullest potential.
It was inevitable that the comic book world our characters existed in would end but instead of trying to find a way to extend or fight it, Ha Roo spent his last moments happy and fulfilled to be at Dan Oh’s side. He did his best to change what he could (Help Dan Oh live) but still accepted that he would disappear first and not be able to be with Dan Oh until the last page.
Balance is the key to a good life and although we don’t get a manual for how to do this perfectly, it’s the mistakes and unexpected turn of events that help us do better next time. We cannot escape death or go thru our days without hardships, these are inevitable occurrences. But instead of lamenting these certainties, we can live out our best lives by spending time with loved ones, work hard, travel the world, and so on.
Just like how we are forging our own path, other people are also filling their life’s pages with their own details. Extraordinary You‘s greatest message is that we shouldn’t fixate on whether or not we are the center of attention to others or complain that we don’t have a glamorous and well-endowed main protagonist lifestyle. It’s challenging, yes, but it’s not impossible.
It’s our own actions and outlook towards what we have that makes us special. We have to allow and reshape our mindsets to truly see the blessings, love, and experiences that are gifted to us in the form of everyday life💕