A very interesting article came across our dashboard about how Korean women (in South Korea) are discovering a new life after 50. The JoongAng Daily newspaper sent out a team of reporters to interview and research what life is like for women over 50 years of age.
Under the teachings of Confucius, reaching 50 was called jicheonmyeong, the age at which heaven’s intentions are revealed. Similarly, reaching 40 was called bulhok, the age at which people are free from vacillation.
“These days, women in their 50s seem like they are more bulhok than jicheonmyeong,” said Kim Ho-ki, a sociology professor at Yonsei University. The reason, Kim says, is because women are living longer.
“Taking into account that women these days live well into their 80s on average, being in one’s 50s is just 30 years from the turbulent and vulnerable 20s, with 30 more years of living to go,” he said.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the life expectancy of Korean women is 82 years, as of 2009.
Kim also says that today’s 50-something Korean women are a special group of people.
“They were born at the start of country’s massive industrialization movement. They lived their 20s and 30s amidst pro-democracy rallies. They also experienced the Asian financial crisis in their 40s. And now they are finding themselves at the turn of the millennium,” says Kim.
Kim refers to them as the “in-between generation” in that they are expected to pay their respects and take care of their parents, who are considered the older generation, while at the same time connecting with their children, considered the new generation.
But a majority of our interviewees also said they feel a sense of freedom and compassion that they didn’t when they were in their 20s, when they were focused on finding who they were or proving themselves to others.
“I feel like I’m not bound to anything and can face myself just as I am,” said Kim Jin-hyeong, a planning commissioner at Yonhap News Agency.
Eunice Kim, vice president of Hana Financial Group, said, “Before I was busy judging others. Now I feel like there isn’t anybody I cannot understand.”
For the full story, go to the JoonAng Daily.