French scholar Blaise Pascal once said, “Little things console us because little things afflict us.” This old quote reminds me of the word “sohwakhaeng”. “Sohwakhaeng” means small but certain happiness that people feel in daily life. The word is originated from Murakami Haruki’s essay <Afternoon in the Islets of Langerhans(1986)>. In the essay, he describes sohwakhaeng as snacking off freshly baked bread’ or ‘wearing a clean cotton-scented white shirt’. These days, both little and big hurl toward me. Writing articles, fulfilling my responsibility as Editor-in-Chief, meeting for group projects, completing individual assignments, and preparing midterm exams are just among the multitude. However, the most stressful part is that this year is almost over and I can’t seem to find any accomplishment or noble deed that I have done. I reflected on my school year. What have I done that I can add to my resume? Did I participate in any extracurricular activities that will help me get a job? Did I even make a final decision on my future career? Not one of these questions could be answered with certainty. I felt the lyrics, ‘my body feels young, but my mind is very old’ bear down on my soul. I am sure most Sookmyungians have also gone through similar emotions and feel that everyone else is doing so much better.
In the depth of my despair, I suddenly thought of the little things, and they saved me. Though I worried, I could not change what has happened. Time is short. Inevitable events will always happen like article deadlines and midterm exams. The only thing I could do was focused on the happiness I got from simple everyday things. For instance, I enjoy drinking hot milk tea when I must stay late at school and listening to playlists I create entitled ‘Awesome Mix Vol. Autumn’ as I stroll about campus. I realized that stressing over and criticizing myself about problems don’t help me feel better. However, the little things in life give us the energy to continue pushing through times of toil and make us feel alive. It’s my hope that all fellow Sookmyungians find happiness in the little things around them. May little things be with you.
Kim Lee Jihyun firstname.lastname@example.org