'I have decided to pursue happiness through an ordinary life’, a typical statement used by people to describe their pursuit of a Normal Crush, a lifestyle choice that’s gaining in popularity around the world. Normal Crush is a newly coined expression that describes being drawn to a simpler life. It recognizes the rigors of real life and as a result, encourages people to focus on small goals that are easily achieved. This new lifestyle contradicts the elements of a stereotypical better life as we know it in Korea. Already a growing number of Koreans are tired of pursuing the ideal traditional life and are giving up on getting married and having families of their own. The growing popularity of Normal Crush makes it clear that the time has come to give up on following a lifestyle that is expected and instead build our own lives in the pursuit of our own happiness.
|▲ The Oldest Hanok Village in Seoul, Iksun-dong (Photo by Yonhap News)|
Those who pursue a Normal Crush lifestyle also focus on finding their own valuable work instead of what will offer them the greatest financial and social return. Stereotypical ideas of a successful lifestyle in Korea mean going to a good school and getting a job in a big company. However, in reality, this dream is harder to achieve than ever before and it does not bring people the happiness they expected. Over the last few decades, Korea has achieved unprecedented rapid economic growth. However, there are prices to pay for this swift growth. Social problems have arisen as the level of satisfaction people have with their lives falls. According to the U.N.'s Global Happiness Report, Korea's happiness index stood at 5.84 out of 10 points, ranking 56th out of 155 countries in the world. Meanwhile, Korea ranks 28th in the gross domestic product (GDP) per capital proving the economic and happiness scales show very different results. Put simply, the happiness index will continue to fall as society remains fixed to the idea of a lifetime of hard work, while at the same time youth unemployment is worsening.
|▲ Suicide rate per 100,000 people (Picture was taken by Yonhap News)|
Critics say that the people who choose to pursue a Normal Crush life are actually avoiding reality and giving up because they are weak-willed. But we still have freedom of choice. Our society's recipe for happiness is no longer the norm. "Failure in life ends with only other person, not himself," said novelist Bernard Werber. After all, the most important thing to people who pursue a Normal Crush life is to satisfy only themselves. There is great value in the pursuit of individual happiness.