Games of youth are the joys of old age

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Games of youth are the joys of old age


With about three months to go to the College Scholastic Ability Test, mothers of applicants are largely concerned with a couple of so-called CSAT breakers: the London Olympics (opening ceremony just 10 days away) and Diablo 3 (an online game especially tempting for boys).

Mothers often wonder why boys get so immersed in sports and computer games. “I thought my husband was the only one from Mars,” said one, “but my son is a Martian as well.”

Girls, however, have their share of temptations, too. They invest much time and attention on pop stars, tracking their schedules and then waiting for them for hours.

And there are hardly any boys among these fans. The Wall Street Journal recently reported, “Adolescent girls are far more likely to become infatuated with pop stars, experts say, because they are awakening to romantic and sexual feelings.” A neuroscientist at McGill University used fMRI scans on boys and girls, observing that the brains of girls released more dopamine when they listened to their favorite music.

It is not just because pop music is addictive. In the 19th century, “frenzied female fans threw their clothing at 19th century pianist and composer Franz Liszt and fought over locks of his hair.” When Cliff Richard had a concert in 1969, and New Kids on the Block performed in 1992, Korean girls went wild. If Justin Bieber comes to Korea, fans will go crazy again.

The Wall Street Journal’s article makes an interesting point. Musical taste developed during the teenage years is inscribed deep inside the brain and remains throughout life. I like the contemporary music of Busker Busker and Jang Gi-ha, but they can not give me the same nostalgic and sentimental feelings of old songs by Twin Folio, April and May, Lana ET Rospo, and Kim Chu-ja. Now I understand why.

So you should enjoy yourself when you are still young. You need to make sure good music and healthy hobbies become carved inside the brain. Don’t grow old not knowing what you like and having nothing to enjoy.

According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the National Pension Service, 64.1 percent of adults in Korea are not prepared for or aware of leisure in retirement.

We all know the song that goes “Play and enjoy while you are still young. You cannot even play when you grow old.”

Just in time, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is promoting a policy encouraging everyone to learn one sport and one musical instrument.

So please excuse me. I must practice my violin before playing golf.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
By Noh Jae-hyun
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