autumn. It announces its arrival by greeting us with the embrace of the howling breeze and the sight of falling leaves every morning. Out of all the other seasons in Korea, people seem to be particularly fond of autumn. As traditional Korean sayings go, autumn is the season of Cheongomabi — a prosperous time when skies are clear and the horses get fat. It is also the perfect season to sit down on an outdoor bench with a good book. In autumn, love is in the air; the mesmerizing scenery of blushing trees is bound to captivate young couples enjoying an outdoor date. This time of the year, for me, is all about the autumn leaves. The reddening and falling of the leaves represent change: a new beginning.
Every passing year, autumn comes and goes. This year marks the 21st autumn in my life, and just like the trees, I have been turning over a new leaf each autumn. Along with the flow of time, I have lived through a lot of changes. I have crossed paths with and bid farewell to countless people; I can name well over ten places from around the world that I call home; I have set and achieved numerous goals, big and small; I have tasted the bitterness of multiple defeats and failures. Change accompanies the passage of time, and almost everything in our world varies as a function of time. If there is anything about me that I can confidently pledge has not changed, it is the fact that I have never stopped trying.
Throughout various stages in my life, I found myself in unfavorable circumstances where I was presented with great hardships. As much as I am proud of myself for the instances where I held my ground against insurmountable odds, I must admit that the most invaluable opportunities for personal growth came when I was brought to my knees. As Nelson Mandela once said, “the greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Failure teaches us humility and resilience, both of which we cannot live without in this oft unforgiving world.
Although I cannot speak for each and every individual, the going can get tough this time of the year. For instance, let me address the elephant in the room: for college students all over Korea, midterms are just around the corner. Some people may be struggling to come to terms with mistakes they have made in the past. Others may be uncertain about where their lives are headed and what they will do in the future. Those in positions of power and responsibility may be struggling to not crumble under the pressure and find the right set of principles that is best for them and their organization.
In this month’s issue of the Herald, you will read stories of the struggles of people from various walks of life. One of our writers reminisces about his childhood experience growing up in the world’s most notorious murder capital. Another writer has lived through an earthquake to tell the tale. The CTO of a multi-billion dollar company shares his insights on how to avoid failure and survive in his field. As these stories will collectively demonstrate, life presents us with various challenges. But do not falter. As bleak as the situation seems, there is bound to be light at the end of the tunnel.
Just as I never have, I urge our readers to never let go of hope nor stop believing in themselves.
Young Jip Kim