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[Opinion] Greeting the New Year

Posted December. 31, 2004 23:01,   


“Always in the cold/years are meant to come and go//But the New Year is worth greeting warmly./As fishes breathe under the ice/and green parsley sprouts/dream of spring//New Year is worth greeting with patience/and dreams.//This morning/I had a warm glass of wine/and a bowl of soup/but that is abundant enough/and be thankful for it.//They say the world is/rough and harsh/but it is worth living in//As we are one year older now/let us be kinder and wiser.//No matter how many years go/and come again/in the bitter cold//as we see white teeth/growing from our little ones/we shall greet the New Year.” (Kim Jong-gil, “On a New Year’s Morning”)

I greet the first day of 2005, the Year of the Rooster, contemplating on pop art giant Robert Indiana’s number sculpture works, currently in exhibition at Gallery Hyundai in Seoul. Number “one” signifies birth, “two” is infancy, “three” is childhood, “four” is adolescence, “five” is youth, “six” is the prime of one’s lifetime, “seven” is over the hill, “eight” is the late fall in life, “nine” represents the golden years, and lastly, “0” means death. What number is your life in now? And how will the year 2005 go down for you?

Time Magazine essayist Roger Rosenblatt’s book, “58 Rules for Aging,” catches my eye. In his book, Rosenblatt presents a few words of advice: “It’s not about you,” “Let bad enough alone,” “Ignore your enemies. Otherwise, kill them,” “If you’re over 30, don’t blame life on your parents,” “Follow virtues, but don’t bet your life on it,” “The unexamined life lasts longer,” and “Don’t do it for the money.”

“50 Ways to Change Your Life,” by the American weekly paper U.S. News and World Report is interesting as well. Rules that are both easy and hard to follow are given, such as: “Remove all clothes more than two years old from the closet,” “Arrange photographs,” “Donate unused mobile phones,” “Stop using credit cards,” “Exercise,” “Eat green vegetables such as spinach,” “Remove all white food, such as white bread or rice, from the table,” “Drink water instead of soda,” “Take a deep breath once a day,” “Wear shoes that fit,” and “Get married.” Happy New Year.

Oh Myung-chul, Editorial Writer, oscar@donga.com