1 In Others / General

My pace not yours – 나름대로

More than one year ago, I wrote about how I really like the phrase 나름대로. If you don’t remember, it actually means “in one’s own way”. It is still now my favourite phrase and it’s also one that I like to ponder and think about.

I used to be a rather competitive person and I hate losing. 남들 하는 만큼 나도 하겠다. That’s what I used to feel anyway. But I think I’ve mellowed out and I’m just this super chill person who doesn’t really care about anything anymore. I have minimal career aspirations (just earn enough to eat and live), and I like to spend time with people I like and doing things I love. Of course, people and things change – there is no guarantee that I’ll feel this way this time next year. In fact, I’ll probably feel differently again.

But as of now, I love the whole 나름대로 pace and to do things I like without caring whether am I being too “backwards” compared to others or not. That’s not to say I’m totally stagnant. I am working hard in my own way and I’m content with what I’m doing now. Even if I’m not working as hard as I should/could, I can live with it as it is my choice.

But sometimes I also wonder if 나름대로 is really an excuse that we build to shield the fact that we are really not working hard enough towards our aspirations. I once read in a book that this guy used to have a lot of aspirations as a kid. But as he grew older, he decided to follow the “safe and usual” route and chose to be a normal salaryman and later on, as he grew to have a wife and family, he decided to forget about his dreams and work hard to be able to support his family. I’m totally not a wordsmith, so I might have butchered the story (lol), but the idea is that his ‘dreams’ and ‘aspirations’ got smaller and smaller as time goes by and he simply managed to be content by comforting himself that his choices were correct and it’s all part of the process of growing old and becoming a responsible member of the society.

Perhaps that’s what I’m doing now too. Just creating excuses for myself and feeling contented and having smaller aspirations and dreams.

Sometimes I also wonder if people who have been following my blog have ever felt disappointed in me. Instead of pursuing my ‘dreams of living and working in Korea’, I’ve somewhat become jaded (?) and am totally a normal salaried employee and no longer wish to pursue what I used to want so badly.

Matter of perspective, really.

Anyway, just posting this to show that I’m still alive lol. I have a few book reviews I’ve yet to write (><).

Hey, I’m working hard in my own way 😛

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    21 October, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with 나름대로. It’s a healthy way to live, not comparing yourself to others or trying to meet someone else’s standards. The thing that’s been important for me to remember, though, is that just because I’m not comparing myself to others that doesn’t mean that I should stop comparing who I am with who I want to be and who I was. There’s something to be setting for having goals for yourself, even if they are bound to change.

    Language learning is a good example, but not the only one. I also used to dream about improving my Korean enough so I could work comfortable in Korea or possibly pursue a new degree, but over time that dream has changed. Now, my goal for Korean is much more modest, to be able to read an occasional book or news article and to be able to understand spoken Korean without too much trouble. I know a lot of well-meaning people who insist that I should work harder on speaking, but that’s really an area I’m interested in at this point. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to meet other people’s goals, which always makes something pleasurable into a source of stress.

    I’ve written too much already, but I just wanted to share my perspective on your changing goals. I started reading your blog about 4 years ago, and I’ve never been disappointed. Surprised, yes, but never disappointed. Change is an inevitable part of life, so there’s no reason goals shouldn’t change as we grow older.

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