Just another WordPress site


‘If You Live To 100, You Might As Well Be Happy’ author explores realities of aging

Rhee Kun-hoo, author of bestseller “If You Live To 100, You Might As Well Be Happy” / Courtesy of Family Academia

Rhee Kun-hoo is a renowned psychiatrist and best-selling author of “If You Live To 100, You Might As Well Be Happy.”

At 89, he is making waves internationally as his essays are translated into different languages in 16 countries this year thanks to the surge in popularity of Korean literature. Rhee said his book’s global popularity stems from readers’ curiosity about Korea.

“Like travelers wanting to explore different corners of the world, international readers want to meet people from different cultures through books. My book gives a little journey into Korea, enabling them to see how Koreans live,” the author said during an interview with The Korea Times at Family Academia, an organization that Rhee founded in 1995 to promote healthy family life in Jongno District, May 29.

His book reflects on how to live well in one’s latter half of life. “A Korean saying goes ‘life is two-crop farming,’ drawing a metaphor from the agricultural practice of cultivating two different crops on the 카지노사이트킹 same land in one year. The first half of life is lived in a rush. You don’t even know how to live well. The second half of life is when you can live well because you have the experience from living the first half,” he explained.

“This book is about that. When you reach your 60s, you look back on how you lived your life in the first half, reflect on it and design how you will live the second half.”

His debut essay “I Want to Have Fun Till the Day I Die” (2013), based on his experiences as a psychiatrist over 50 years, has sold approximately 500,000 copies in Korea.

The author’s latest book “If You Live To 100, You Might As Well Be Happy” (2019) was translated into English by Suphil Lee Park and published in the United Kingdom in May.

The book’s publisher Ebury Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House UK, noted that “this comforting Korean bestseller offers guidance for attaining ordinary happiness at any age and shows us that life is a story worth reading until the very last page.”

Despite his book’s title, Rhee bluntly states there’s no inherent happiness in getting older. Instead, he sees it as a fundamentally difficult process.

“What is so happy about being old? Sayings on growing older mostly say good things about aging like the word ‘noikjang,’ a Korean word meaning ‘age makes one stronger’ (based on the belief that as people age, they gain wisdom and experience). That is not true. Aging is fundamentally painful,” he said.

When their final days are counting down, people grow anxious about old age, but they mostly conceal their true feelings and pretend they’re OK. So what should come first is acknowledging the way things are, according to Rhee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *