February 27, 2018

On Aging

I've had a peculiar feeling I've been dealing with for the past few days. It all started when I caught wind that H.O.T. was reuniting and doing a comeback concert after 17 years.

For those who don't know who H.O.T. is, they are a 90s boy group from Korea who had caused quite a stir and had enormous popularity. For me, they are a group that got me to start listening to Korean music and learn Korean (I couldn't speak Korean then and H.O.T. put out albums that was  completely different genre of music than what I listening to at the time, which was The Cranberries, Phish, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead, Belly, Indigo Girls, Oasis, etc.). It was 1997, just a year after they had debuted. I was a senior in high school. 

Getting to know H.O.T opened up so many new things for me that I had not known. I recall days and nights with friends (all non-Korean but loved Kpop anyway) trying to learn the dance moves and almost breaking our elbows trying to breakdance with the best of them. So silly!

Anyway, H.O.T. already had their reunion concert and it aired this past weekend (we watch our shows through On Demand Korea online). Originally the producers for the show where H.O.T. held their come back concert reserved a venue that had 800 seats. The venue was upgraded to 12,000 seats after an outpouring of interest from former fans who were eager to see them in person. I presume the producers could have reserved an even bigger venue but the reasoning was that if H.O.T. ever decided to hold a concert of their own, they wanted to leave it up to them to choose a venue to fill thousands of seats.

But those kinds of details isn't the reason why I'm feeling nostalgic today.

When I was watching their concert with Yangkyu, the fans held up signs. Some were funny, like, "Waited forever for them to reunite and became a mom." "Used to be (insert H.O.T. member name)'s wife. Now the wife of (insert her husband's name)." And many who were interviewed said that their mother in laws were understanding and let them go to the concert (the concert fell on the eve of Lunar New Year, which is a huge holiday in Korea. Traditionally, married couples/families spend time at the homes of their husband's families, which isn't always in Seoul, and the night is spent cooking and preparing). Other fans held up signs that read, "I was cooking jeon (which is a popular New Year's dish) then came to the concert!"

Seeing those signs really brought home the fact that everyone had aged. They all grew up and were no longer teens who used to wear junior and high school uniforms. Instead they are career women and moms in their thirties.

Many cried. Many.

I never understood people who cried during concerts but I found myself crying too.

For me, it wasn't because I was happy to see the reunion, although I was, but I think it was just a recognition that we are older now and the reunion was a chance, an opportunity, for us to step back and take a trip down memory lane and be young fans again.

And it was also trying to understand the unknown. Well, it was for me at least.

So much has happened in the past 17 years. You try to picture what happened to everyone during that time. So much has happened to me, why wouldn't it be the same for them. So many trials and tribulations but happy things as well. Trying to take that in just made everything so emotional. 

Some friends of mine have a hard time aging. I don't.

I actually never really enjoyed my teenage years. It was one of the most difficult times of my life where I was trying to understand my mother's mental illness but I didn't want to. It was a time when my peers weren't all that helpful or understanding and made me feel embarrassed.

I don't miss my twenties either as it was a time where I didn't have a voice to fight back and stick up for myself.

Thirties were my best years - it was when I had the two very best people in my corner, Yangkyu and Piri (yes I realize Piri is not a person but he kinda was). I'm not trying to say that my life got better after I got me a husband, it's more like my life got better because I finally found someone who got me.

While I will miss these very best years of my life where I was the happiest (I am in my last year of being in my thirties), I look forward to being 40. I admit it scared me a few months back, but not so much anymore. Perhaps it's because I still feel very secure and comfortable with where I am in my life. How I feel and who is in my close circle of friends - they make my stepping into my forties secure and exciting.

But the feeling of nostalgia always brings such peculiar moods.

It is a quiet night tonight. And I think I may spend it again Youtubing a bunch of old school music videos.


  1. I'm definitely with you on not being scared of ageing, my life is the most enjoyable it's ever been and each year seems to keep getting better :) It's funny when little age reminders come up though, such as the concert (the signs are greats!). I remember seeing a picture of my favourite artist just recently and gasped a little that he had aged :P and then I realised that life doesn't freeze and that's okay :)

  2. Omg I remember listening to H.O.T. back in the day. I feel the same way you do about aging - I'm looking forward to it more and more :)


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