Sharing a Sense of Stability

This is a translated version of Ko's third essay of a series "Where Does the Courage to Take On Challenges Come From?"


If I were to write a new resume with “challenge” and “courage” as the criteria, the first line would boldly state: Founded the restaurant Cheesylazy. It was a reckless challenge for me and my partner. Since we had no experience, the long preparation period needed to open the restaurant really tested our courage.

From graduating high school until I left my second job, I had never taken a break. My work and life revolved around short-term goals, each with a deadline. But opening a restaurant was an exception. I didn’t want to rush and present anything less than our best to the world. With a mindset of honing and polishing until I was satisfied, a year flew by. The time spent developing the menu and studying restaurant entrepreneurship was both challenging and a seemingly endless marathon.

Where did I find the courage to endure that time? Looking back, I’m genuinely curious. But the source of courage is often hiding in plain sight. For me, it was no different. Without my partner, husband, and best friend, Kang, I couldn’t have endured that uncertain period.

Some say that marriage makes you avoid risky choices due to added responsibility. But for me, it was the exact opposite. Kang brings out the truest version of myself. How much I earn in a month, what title I hold at which company—none of that mattered to Kang from the beginning. Kang listened to the voice of my heart, which even I had been ignoring. And of course, he treated himself the same way. If it wasn’t from his heart, he wouldn’t do it. His uncompromising personality slowly influenced me. Watching Kang, I thought, “I, too, can afford to be more reckless.”

Was Kang the only one like this? Fortunately, many people around me strive to understand the core of their hearts. For some, a hefty bank balance, financial support from parents, or a flawless career path might bring peace of mind. But in my case, the more people around me who truly understood me, the more I wanted to live recklessly in the way I believed was right.

The belief that I don’t need to persuade anyone. The attitude that it’s okay to live as myself. These feelings imprinted a sense of safety in my body and mind. If we look at reality alone, my future is more uncertain than ever. But I now feel a deeper sense of stability than ever, something that academic degrees, stable companies, or impressive titles could never guarantee.

I now strive not to judge the choices of those close to me. Sure, on some days, I think, “Isn’t that a bit inefficient? This way might be better,” or “Is that really the best choice?” But I suppress these thoughts and offer only genuine support. From experience, I know that some people, despite having full support from those around them, lose the fight with themselves and give up taking a step forward. In uncertain situations, even one lukewarm response can cause a person’s resolve to crumble.

We all struggle in our own ways to make better decisions, handle moments of choice, and endure anxiety. If I have a responsibility to the person I love, it's not to impose my thoughts as the "right" way, but to stand as solid support so they can stay true to themselves.

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