“I suffered more than anybody else, but I was happier than anybody else at the same time. I was happy because of love, even if my life was hard. I wish all of you the same happiness. Haha."
Kim Hyeong-seok, professor emeritus at Yonsei University (102), looked around with a broad smile at a meeting commemorating the publication of his essay collection “100-Year-Old Philosopher’s Theory of Happiness” held at a restaurant in Jongno-gu, Seoul on Friday. He needed support while walking in, but he stood straight and looked healthy. He walked in a relaxed manner, and his voice had power. He passionately preached his theory of happiness for nearly two hours with his legs crossed.
The essay collection published on Monday is a selection of his articles on happiness. “To live a happy life, you must enjoy the process, not the goal,” he says in his book. “Your life may be hard, but if you loved others and they loved you back, you had a happy life.”
“Everyone wants happiness. But happiness depends on how you think and feel. In the end, your happiness depends on your character. So, to be happy, you have to try and become a better version of yourself.”
“You get different happiness as you age,” he said. “What’s important is that you acknowledge the happiness of others.”
“When you are young, happiness is money, love, and pleasure. Success becomes the measure of happiness when you're in your 50s or 60s. When you are 70 to 90 years old, you seek something rewarding. After the age of 90, you find happiness in giving. Now that I am over 100, I find happiness in telling others about happiness.”
He says that others often ask him if it is happy to live a long life. “After the age of 95, you get tired quicker, which means you ought to spend a lot of time maintaining your health,” he said. “Health depends on your mind, not your body.”
“A long life is not necessarily a good life. It's so hard to wake up in the morning, but when you go to sleep at night, it's comfortable and enjoyable,” Kim said. “I think it's time for a long sleep. I just want to finish what I started. Perhaps more books will be published next year.”