In life, you stumble upon a frequently asked question, either posed by others or yourself: How would you live your life if you had a second chance? Though it’s a hypothetic question, it cannot be suggested to a child or someone of younger years.
Korean novelist Pak Kyong-ni, who wrote the book Land, was asked the same question. She answered by creating a poem titled ‘A hard-working man.’ She cited the poem in a setting where many younger people were invited: “If I could live again/I would meet a hard-working man/live in the remove mountainside/where we would farm.”Her reply was a light, yet thought-provoking one that reflected longing for a quite and simple life.
Surprisingly, people teared up on the way home, thinking of her answer. The writer wondered why, perhaps out of pity for her living alone and left alone? She married at the age of 20, lost her husband to war and became a single mom raising two children. Novels, which made her a great writer, were her means of life. She had become a senior of more than 80 years old. Perhaps people teared up because they felt sorry for her weary life, imagining life in the countryside with a loved one. If so, they had pitied her, which could be likely.
Then her thoughts changed. “Everyone has instinct to return to the essential/nostalgia to follow the way of nature/that was the reason for tears”. She believed that her words struck a chord with people longing to return and for nostalgia. As she described in her poem titled “Compassioneveryone has nostalgia to “build a house roof with reeds,” “break the wrist of poacher/protect the birds.” Perhaps that was why people had teared up. The writer, who had initially interpreted the tears as pity, eventually concluded that they were based on nostalgia for a simple life. What kind of life would we live if we had a second chance?