Dreaming big

3
She’s bubbly and energetic; she’s twenty-five. But it’s scary opening up a new chapter in your life. Change calls for courage, especially when you’re young and things are unsure. Still, Lee Young Jae has always been sure of her love for books and writing. She used to look at her grandfather, who would spend hours at his desk writing away, with a sense of awe and respect for the words he set to paper.
And writing has become her determination at a time when nothing is certain. Having just finished her final semester at university, Young Jae has a lot more free-time, but she also knows that she now has to begin preparing for the job market.
Finding a decent job in Korea is often associated with the words, Baek-su (Korean for “unemployed person” but with a negative connotation) and Hell Joseon (a new phrase meaning “Korea is close to hell and is a hopeless society”)—just about the worst descriptions for one fresh out of college. The level of competition in the market is disconcertingly high and some take months to find their desired occupation.
That same uncertainty was written on the faces of four of her friends as they gathered to hear Young Jae’s proposal. She wanted to self-publish a book; with the combined works of the five of them. And that was it. Over a course of 10 months, the group gathered regularly to share their own writing: some were essays, some poems, and others, memories. By December 2017, the book was finally introduced to the public with the title, lost and found—implying the five friends were yet lost and unsure of where to go, but would very soon find their future.
“It was a dream of mine to publish my own writing, but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. So, I invited four close friends who also seemed interested. Half of it was because I selfishly wanted to see them more…” (laughs).
Now, lost and found will soon enter its second round of printing with the help of Tumblbug crowdfunding and an encouraging community of supporters. In the process, Young Jae discovered the value of sincere encouragement and interest; the preciousness of even one supportive message. Maybe, it wasn’t about bbali bbali (Korean for “quickly, quickly”) or getting the best-paying job in the least amount of time. “Sometimes, we can take one step at a time, doing things we enjoy, building our careers.  At least, that’s how I hope to live.”
Often, we live without allowing ourselves the time and room to take it easy, see the world, be ourselves.
But as Young Jae writes applications for editing positions at publishing companies, she takes a deep breath remembering her favorite Snoopy quote, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon” -Charles M. Schulz.

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