Act 1 of life refers to the process of being born, growing up, getting married and having kids and seeing your children get married. Then, one cycle of life is over. According to a survey conducted by Seoul National University’s Consumer Trend Analysis Center of 1,070 Koreans aged from 50 to 64 who are bound to end their Act 1, most respondents chose that “myself” is more important than their spouse or children when they were asked about the most precious thing is their lives. The center called this Act 1 of life as the “re-born generation.”
Industrialization and aging are even fading the concept of respecting the elderly. In the traditional agricultural society, the son had to take care of his parents by farming. In reality, it was difficult to make a living even when the son and his wife worked with their parents until they pass way. Taking care of one’s parents has not disappeared completely even in the industrialized society, but it is rather becoming a society where people live with the money their parents have aggregated. People are happy if he or she is able to live life fullest without the help of their children. The reality is, however, that not many are able to do so. It is bitter to think that money is crucial for “me” to be precious.
When asked about what kind of advice the respondents wanted to give their friends who are thinking of getting a divorce, 33 percent of the respondents chose the answer that says ”enjoy your life without interfering with each other." The second most chosen answer was “try to put up with it” with 25.2 percent and the third place went to recommending “graduating marriage” and “divorce.” When considering the fact that “enjoying your life without interfering with each other” is not so different from “graduating marriage,” of which a couple lives in a separate house without getting a divorce, growing old together is an outdate thought.
British gerontologist Sarah Harper stated that we need to reconsider the marriage pledge of being together until we die. The period of marriage is becoming longer as the life span of human beings are increasing. The professor of Gerontology at the University of Oxford forecasted if the life span increases in the current pace, the period of marriage can reach up to a hundred years. Wishing for being together for a hundred years may be a “unique” culture that started when the average life span was 40 to 50 years. When living together for a hundred years became possible, however, such desire must have turned into something of a burden.