Way to Defeat Pain

Sang Ill - Groton, Massachusetts
Entered on October 30, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

People experience troubles in their life. However, each of them has different ways of solving the problems: some might get irritated, emotional, or some might just run away. For me, I smile as if I were looking at a gorgeous woman: I believe in enjoying the pain.

When I was 14 years old, I was in Korea, playing Ice Hockey in a middle school. Since my first skating at an age of 10, I had been deeply attracted in such sport. I could not have quitted either studying or hockey so I decided to do both which was enormously impossible in Korea. Unlike students in America, we were not allowed to have two different choices of our school life. Instead, we should have focused either on academics or on specialties, such as athletics, art, etc. Playing hockey and studying together was much difficult than I expected. Counselors at school convinced me to focus on academics, saying a hockey player in Korea would simply bring me a vague future. At the same time, my hockey coach told me that I could be a great player if I put more effort to it. I tried to ignore what they told me but as I tried to grasp both, one would fly away that I could hardly touch the end of it. I was physically and mentally exhausted, feeling first time in my life that I wanted to quit and run away. I became speechless, introversive, and emotional. No one could help me but helplessly watch my suffering.

My dad one day brought me to his private bar where I wasn’t allowed to go. We sat down in the chairs under dim lights. After few minutes of an awkward moment, he poured a glass of whisky for himself and made another one after. “Do you want some?” He asked as he passed me the glass. I curiously looked at him. “It’s okay. You are big enough to learn this.” Relieved by his warm, yet serious attitude, I put the glass to my lips and felt my tongue touched icy alcohol. Soon the unknown liquid burnt my throat as it coursed down. My dad smiled and leaned his body toward me. “I know this is difficult time for you,” he gently talked to me. “But you cannot run away or give up what you like to do. Sometimes, if you can’t avoid, you’ve got to enjoy, son.”

The clock was pointing at 2:00AM but I could not fall asleep because his words kept voyaging through my head. I started to think how I dealt with the problems that I recently had. All I could remember was a mad boy who immaturely complained about his unfair condition. My passion of achieving both goals had left me long time ago that I could hardly feel the warmth of my heart. I was shamed of myself.

Now that four years have passed by since I moved to American boarding school. In order to pursue the way I want, I’ve made the most significant choice in my life to study in the U.S. where I am able do both things I love. Sometimes, of course, difficulties still bother me and burden my mind, sweetly whispering to my ear to give up. Then I smile and take a moment to prepare myself to enjoy the suffering.