I recall the moment vividly, the moment of overwhelming darkness that left me sobbing in deafening silence. Betrayal, failure, and setbacks had collectively formed a vast void of nothingness where the crushing weight of solitude tortured and tore down my heart into countless pieces. Miserably, I still had a job to do: a life to live, a seemingly endless chain of wretched frustration and inevitable exasperation—the mundane lethargy and the immense sufferings seemed completely insurmountable. Although I was drained of energy to counter this erratic agony, desperate to search for my own unique hero to guide me out of the abyss, I still trudged through the shadowy expanse. It was in this moment that I discovered I was the only light that held hope in the midst of the perpetual darkness. I was the only being who existed within, alongside, beyond, and through myself always, even in the indifferent absence of external support. From my first toddler step to my first collapse, I never left me. An utter realization came to strikingly hit me: I am the author of my own destiny, the painter of my own canvas, and the driver of my own life, who has cultivated optimism that has led me to be until now.

This sudden transformation of my thinking system was a life-changing milestone. The collective result of possibly the worst circumstantial factors ironically shaped my optimistic perspective and inscribed into my heart that setbacks, failure, and betrayals are sometimes necessary components for the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. I came to believe that life is like a heart rate monitor with its fluctuating ups and downs that draw the very pulse of my existence. From this contemplation, I accepted and celebrated pain as an opportunity to mature, and I became capable of persisting even in the darkest moments. I profoundly apprehended that every existence is genuinely purposeful, and this realization prompted me to nurture a profound appreciation for every life moment, even the painful ones, beginning to embrace life’s unpredictability and the beauty that stems from it. I well understood that I could wish for an exuberant life with passionate love and eternal friendships precisely because the ends of my journey and the journey of those whom I live for are inherently unknown. I well understood that my secret surprise birthday parties have been able to offer me moving emotions and unexpected surprises because life is unpredictable. Adopting a new understanding of life, I have become empowered to write, paint and drive my life in ways I desire.

All of this began from a single recognition that I myself am the only hero that brings out and controls my innate power of optimism—the fundamental source of energy that motivates me to live through the unpredictability. Such an active and positive attitude towards life shows its full potential and persists when finally built upon by oneself. Optimism built upon by somebody else is merely temporal and windswept; changing circumstantial factors can significantly hinder the belief. Optimism built upon by oneself, however, is permanent and firm. Only with the constant acknowledgment of one’s dynamic existence can one perceive everything, even obstacles, as life-learning opportunities. This does not mean that one cannot learn from somebody else. But it means that in the end, they are who have the key to control to obtain an optimistic outlook and become their own everyday hero.

The world is oftentimes captivated by the courageous and successful heroes who inspire us to make a difference. We look up to them, hoping that they will lead us toward a more optimistic outlook on life. However, we tend to forget the most essential part about all of this. Recognizing the potential that every one of us has to become our own heroes is the most crucial task we must complete, as the innate power that resides within our hearts is a primary driving force that can transform us into unique everyday heroes. With the acknowledgment of our abilities to overcome our own difficulties and acquire valuable lessons through life’s unpredictable journeys, we can cultivate a sense of permanent and firm optimism that will withstand even the darkest of times. We must strive to be our own heroes, existing within, alongside, beyond, and through ourselves and guiding us out of the deepest abyss. Let us celebrate and overcome the challenges that we face, becoming everyday heroes who inspire others to do the same.

Keonyi Kim

NLCS Hub Chief Director


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