Today is my 2 year K-pop birthday!!!! It’s been exactly two years since I fell head-first down the rabbit-hole of K-pop, chasing BTS into the mysterious and captivating unknown. There has been so much to discover, so much to learn, and so many people with whom to connect! It’s really been an incredible two years, and easily two of the happiest, most joy-filled years of my life. Birthdays are a milestone, giving us cause to take inventory of the past, and look ahead to the future. What have I gained and lost, and what do I still want to achieve? Where have I been, and where do I want to go next?
Firstly, I never would have imagined two years ago that I would discover a passion that would bring me closer to my kids in their TEENAGE YEARS than I have ever been with them in our lives together. I’ve always felt that my favorite offspring age was 18-24 months. I had so much fun with my daughters when they were that young age because they’re old enough to be mobile, talkative, and really fun companions, and young enough to still be relatively manageable. I didn’t think any age would compete with that golden era, at least until they reached adulthood and became my peers. I dreaded the teenage years, and while they have definitely been challenging, even fraught at times, I absolutely wouldn’t trade the last two years with my teen daughters for anything under the sun. Through our shared love of K-pop, we’ve gained a bond that’s held us together during what’s universally considered the most difficult years of our shared lives.
I’ve also gained a community and social life through K-pop that entered my life at exactly the right time. I was an embarrassingly over-involved parent during the elementary/middle school years. Fundraising, Girl Scouting, classroom volunteering, school district lobbying, committee serving… But it doesn’t last forever. Kids reach a certain age, and the school needs you less, indeed they want you less… K-pop flew in an open window just as my kids’ schools were closing their doors. Where I used to rely on school involvement to chat up fellow parents, I now log onto socials and chat up K-pop mutuals. I’ve made several IRL friends too, with whom I hang out, see concerts, attend conventions, take dance classes… Who misses PTA meetings? K-pop is infinitely more fun!
There’ve been a few losses among my K-pop gains as well. The biggest loss is time. K-pop is addictive, and unbridled it could easily take up every waking minute of my life. I think I do a satisfactory to less-than-stellar job of managing my K-pop time, so looking ahead, I definitely want to find a better balance between K-pop and other areas of my life that have been neglected. In the last two years, I read far fewer books than I’ve ever read since learning to read. Not proud of that. I spent less time taking walks, watching Netflix, and seeing baseball games with my husband. And even though he too is a K-pop fan (thankfully!), his level of interest is about 25% of mine, so the other 75% we just don’t spend together, and I want to to improve that ratio.
Another loss is money. Yes, K-pop is expensive. The concerts are expensive, the albums are expensive, the merch is expensive. In the 20 years prior to 2018, I went to three concerts. I’ve been to 18 in the last two years. And usually not in the cheap seats. I can probably count the number of albums I purchased between 1997 and 2017 on one hand. In the last two years? I can’t even count them using both hands and both feet. Throw in costly conventions and travel to out-of-town shows and it really adds up. Is it worth it? 100% yes! What would I have spent it on otherwise? Clothes? Furniture? Restaurant meals? None of those things would bring me even close to the happiness that K-pop brings me.
I almost forgot to mention the biggest gain of all. We took a family trip to Asia! Before getting into K-pop, I’d become a very reluctant world traveler. I’d been overseas a few times, but I definitely lost the global travelbug somewhere along the way. My husband often lamented that he wanted me to see the world with him, Asia especially, but I never gave in. I believe he saw our family’s obsession with K-pop as his moment of opportunity. He struck while the iron was hot, and last June we spent three weeks visiting Seoul, Bangkok and Hanoi. It was the trip of a lifetime, but perhaps much more than that, as now I have absolutely caught the travel bug! I want to go back to Asia again, and to so many other parts of the world as well. Our Asia trip removed all trepidation that had kept me from traveling far and wide for so many years. It sparked our kids’ wanderlust as well! It was such a blessing, and one that I never saw coming, but I’m so thankful to add this desire back into my life.
So where do I want my K-pop journey to take me in the years ahead? I absolutely want to write more. I started this blog because I was overflowing with things I wanted to write about K-pop, if for no other reason than I just want to remember how I felt about it at the time. I intended to write a lot more often, but I find that I put it on the back-burner too often. I’m gonna make myself make time for it.
I also want to continue to see as many concerts and conventions as I’m able to, and enjoy them with my family and the friends that I’ve made. I want to travel more for K-pop too! I’ve made mutuals all over the country and world, and meeting up with them for a concert or convention is the perfect excuse to take a visit to a place I’ve never been to before!
I’ll wrap this post up with my current K-pop inventory below, but hopefully it’s clear through the above that the past two years is so much more than the sum of these parts:
# of albums I own = 27
# of concerts I’ve attended = 18
# of posters/banners/pcs displayed in my office/room = 11
# of idol pics/memes/vids saved on my phone = 35
# of groups I stan = 48