‘Carpe Diem’ before it’s too late!

Home > Opinion > Fountain

print dictionary print

‘Carpe Diem’ before it’s too late!


As I grow older, I am often asked about the second chapter of my life, or the life after my journalist career. It is a subject of interest among my generation, and my friends are worried about me. But whenever I am asked that question, I become uncomfortable. Some people advise me to go back to school and get a Ph.D. In a society full of highly educated people, my master’s degree would not be enough to claim expertise, people say. I fancy the thought of being Dr. Yang, but it would be a challenge to go back to school and study at this age. Also, if I choose to study again, I would like to learn how to nurture my mind and soul rather than getting a degree or license.

A friend of mine recently left a successful career and went back to school. He feels both pain and pleasure immersing himself in studying as an older student. As he is getting ready to graduate, he is reminded of the line: “I don’t want to be something. I just want to live.” He said, “the last few years I spent abroad was not the time to become something but to live as myself, and I have come to realize how to live my life from now on.”

It then became clear to me why the questions about the second part of my life made me so uncomfortable. People don’t ask me how I would live, but what I would become. We have become accustomed to postponing the present to become something in the future. We suspend the high school days for college admission, and we don’t live the college life because we are focused on getting a job. We concede our young days in our 30s and 40s to buy a house and support children. Now, we are asked to postpone our 50s for a second career. Why are we postponing our youth for a better senior life, thus sacrificing a better life for better death?

A wealthy old man enjoying his retirement in the Caribbean saw a local young man living idle. “You should work harder and make money instead of wasting time here. Then, you can spend the summer in paradise like me,” he advised. But that’s exactly the kind of living that the young man was enjoying his whole life.

Actor Robin Williams passed away recently and in the movie “Dead Poets Society,” the inspiring teacher he plays says, “Carpe Diem,” meaning “Seize the day!” We live in the present. How we live today is more important than what we become tomorrow. In fact, we already know the truth.

*The author is a culture and sports news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.


JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 16, Page 27

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now