I’m back in writing reviews after a long hiatus. Anyone caught between adulting and fangirling can probably relate. Sometimes little sacrifices need to be made to give way for other important things.
With Netflix releasing more Korean content this 2020, I spent the first few days of the new year re-watching one of my favorites, Because This Is My First Life.
The series was top-billed by Jung So Min (My Father Is Strange) and Lee Min Ki (The Beauty Inside) and was originally released in 2017 by tvN. It also featured a group of stellar supporting actors who contributed in telling a close to reality story about marriage, family, friendship and career.
Because This Is My First Life tells the story of a geeky computer engineer named Nam Se Hee (Lee Min Ki) whose life revolves only on three things: his work, his pet cat and his 30-yr house mortgage. While marrying is never a priority, he found himself a tenant who agreed to enter in a contract marriage with him. It was a win-win deal after all. He got himself a “wife” who pleased his parents and found a steady source of additional income that could help him pay for his loan.
Yoon Ji-ho (Jung So Min), on the other hand, is a graduate of Seoul National University whose dream is to become a successful writer. While her credentials seemed to be enough to earn her a good-paying job after graduation, she only ended up working as an assistant to a more-known yet witless screenwriter. When his brother became a young dad, her family had no choice but to give space in their home for his wife and their soon-to-be-born baby. Despite paying for its lease, she decided to move out and started to live a life of her own to pursue her writing dreams. Desperate of a place to stay she found herself living as Nam Se Hee’s tenant and eventually agreed to marry him out of convenience.
It was during their lives under one roof that changed the course of their relationship. What was initially thought of as a “practical deal” turned into something more significant for the two of them. It was easy to get caught up in the story. I can do a lengthy review of this series but to make it more relatable for everyone, let me list down the lessons (about life, love, and marriage) that I picked up from this drama.
Lesson 1: Marriage is more than just a document shared by two people. It is sharing a piece of YOU to ANOTHER PERSON so you can mutually grow in your new life together.
Lesson 2: Guys are usually bad in guessing. So for ladies, it pays to play the honesty game in a relationship.
Lesson 3: Marrying out of love is something only the rich can do. False. Love is for everyone.
Lesson 4: Societal norms should never define your worth. You define your worth.
Lesson 5: Relationship grows steadily not only with love but with the everyday practice of mutual respect too.
Lesson 6: Each person in a relationship has their own “Room 19”. Never unlock this room forcefully. Be a welcome guest only if you are invited to enter it.
Lesson 7: “A heart isn’t something that is taken or grabbed. It just comes to you.” It isn’t just about waiting but knowing when it comes to you.
Lesson 8: “Collecting tiny, little stars in your pocket” is a good metaphor on the reality that marriage is not always full of sparkle. It sometimes loses its shine. The way to make it light up again is to see beyond each other’s imperfections.
This drama has left me with one question to answer, “What really is marriage for me?”
A thought I’m still pondering on.
There really is no perfect formula to live and love. Regardless of gender, age, stature we are still all students in this thing called life.
We learn, unlearn and re-learn continuously.
And yes, we know very little of it because what the title says is true, this life is a first for us all.
Make it worthwhile.