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[Work, life, balance, and K-dramas] I did something today


Secret Garden

By @jellybyn

My first K-drama encounter was during my first year of college. Our house would be empty all day. I had it all to myself, when I didn’t have class and could explore what my local television had to offer during the regular school/work hours.

We have access to Mexican programming and while flipping through the channels, I landed on a show which I thought was a novela. However, the people on the screen didn’t look Latino at all and it was dubbed, so it piqued my interest. I only saw the last half of that show, but as soon as it was over I looked it up on Hulu, found out that it was Korean, and saw that all the episodes where available. I had heard about Korean dramas before and how addicting they were. I was swamped with schoolwork and I already had a lot of American and British TV shows I was following that I didn’t need any more. I let it go, but I was constantly thinking of how easily I got sucked into that episode.

Fast-forward my life to six years later. It’s the summer of 2016. There is nothing to see on TV, well at least nothing that interests me. For the first time ever, I did something I had never done before: I binge-watched a TV series. My family had Netflix for a long time at this point, but since I followed many TV shows live, I never had the want or the need to binge watch anything. After my first binge watch, there was still some time left before the fall TV season started and it looked like the perfect time to squeeze in another show. Netflix then started suggesting something that caught my eye.


Descendants of the Sun

At first, I tried to avoid it. It was like Pandora’s box to me. I knew that if I opened it, I would be sucked in. But I needed something to motivate me, something to look forward to. I was going back to school. Well, it was more of an improve-your-skills program, but I was so nervous nonetheless. You see, unfortunately, I never did get to graduate from college. I had to drop out after a couple of semesters. It was hard on me since I really enjoyed learning and going to school. Despite all my struggles, I managed to get good grades, but it was hard on my body and, you know, health comes first. So, for the past three years, I had spent almost all my time at home and now I was finally going out and doing something. After orientation that day, I came home and pressed play on my first episode.

I’ll admit that another reason that I started watching K-dramas was because of vanity. Recalling my past experience of watching a little of a drama six years ago, I already knew they were good and addicting, but it was really the beautiful shot of Song Joong-ki in army fatigues that convinced me to press play on my first drama. That’s right: Descendants of the Sun has the honor of being the drama that brought me into dramaland (and yes, it has some plot problems that we will gloss over because I love it!). It was a great gateway drama for me and a nice reward for leaving my home and actually doing something.

For many people, it’s hard to find the time to watch dramas, but for me it’s not about finding time, but actually doing something during the day that gives me peace of mind to watch my dramas at night. I finished my program, with a couple (okay, a lot!) of dramas motivating me, but then our family went through an emergency, so I’m currently still unemployed. I’m really okay right now, and so is my family, but it’s hard to deal with chronic pain sometimes. It’s hard being the oldest of my siblings and see my parents aging without being able to be of much help. The controlling person inside of me can’t understand why my body doesn’t do what I want, but everyday I try to make peace with that by making sure I do something I’m proud of each day.


Because This Life Is Our First

That is why dramas are a nice reward at the end of the day. I did the laundry today, you get an episode. I cleaned the house, you get an episode. I went with my mom and helped her at her work, you get two episodes because you must be exhausted. I took care of my nephew, here you go an episode for you. For the most part, that is how my daily routine goes. I try to take care of the household as best as I can and when I’m feeling good, I try to do some jobs here and there to help earn money for my family.

K-dramas are addicting! I came into dramaland at a good time since there have been some awesome, gem-like, good-quality dramas. My personal favorites being Healer, Moonlight Drawn By Clouds, Misaeng, Circle, Seven Day Queen, Answer Me 1988, and most recently My Ajusshi (let’s be happy!). In order to quench any binging tendencies that may still linger inside me, I try to follow two to three on-air dramas so that I can reward myself with an episode a day. It works perfectly well for me right now, especially since it allows me to focus on other hobbies that have been neglected for some time. I’m doing better and things are improving in my home. Which allows me to watch my K-dramas happily. And sometimes, that’s really all I want at the end of the day.

(P.S. I am like 98% sure that the drama I watched a long time ago was Secret Garden. I remember there being a nasty mother-in-law involved, lol.)


My Ajusshi

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Thanks for sharing your story. Hope you're healthy now. And I hope you're happy in whatever you do.
Re: DOTS- I agree it was a good show. it had its problems, (I think), but I enjoyed it. Of course, I won't rewatch it. I enjoyed the bromance and sismance more than the romance LOL! My favourite romance would actually be between the doctor and the nurse.

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Thank you @superwhopotterlock! I wish the best for your health and happiness as well!
I completely agree with your thoughts on DOTS! Those are the exact same points that made me love it!

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DoTS was also the show that turned me into a kdrama fan. I enjoyed reading your observations.

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Thank you @Tim. DoTS sure did capture a lot of us, huh!

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I feel identified with this rewarding system. It is actually proper motivation, according to some specialists on helping you to stop procrastination.
I have used it for little whiles, and whenever I am watching an airing show, it is the only way, because you cannot binge.... LOL....
And that being chronically ill... my story. I am suffering lately severe back pain and lumbar pain too... so on weekends I need to lay down on my bed a lot. I love it, by the way, because I got myself a new kind of expensive matress... guess what I do on my bed other than reading or writing??? I reward myself with an episode...
Thanks for sharing your story!!!

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Thank you @javinne. I hope that you find comfort for your pain and that your health improves! My next goal in life is to work soon so that I can buy myself a good mattress, like a really good one.
Rewarding yourself at the end of the day is pretty awesome! May you reward yourself always.

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That last picture made me smile.

I think your system sounds awesome. As a person who tends to procrastinate I can take some pointers from it.
I glad to hear you and your family are in a good place, I hope it only gets better.

I have yet to watch Descendents but did watch Secret Garden towards the beginning of my kdrama journey. Yes, it has some problems, but it made me laugh. And Hyun Bin can smolder even in a sparkly track suit.

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omg, now i'm stuck with that image of that gawd-awful blue sequined track jacket...

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Lol.
Then when Gil Ra -Im showed up in a smaller version...

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I... kind of like that tracksuit *ducks from the kimchi and seaweed slap headed her way*
You can imagine how happy I was when Key showed up in Drinking Solo wearing it too.

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Apart from The Oska Socks, I'd totally buy all the tracksuits worn in SG lol. They're pretty in an awful way? I don't know, but they really caught my attention when watching!

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@wishfultoki I totally enjoyed all the track suits having been a track suit addict during my highschool and undergrad years. I had them in all colors and materials. XD I'd use them for laying around the house or going to the supermarket and even to watch a movie.

@natzillagorilla and I would personally totally buy the Oska Socks XD. I loved Oska he was the best part of the drama.

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Thank you @Beverly!
I ended up watching Secret Garden soon after and thought the sparkly track suit was a little too much, but then, oddly enough, finding myself wanting to buy one to wear around the house. I never bought anything close to a track suit though, but I bought some sweatpants and thought close enough, lol.

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I love how you use kdramas as a reward system! Such a great reward.

I will admit here that I'm also a chronic pain sufferer - I've now officially been in chronic pain for half my life. I have a fantastic doctor who helps me manage my pain (he is the most awkward of the awkward penguins, with a toupee that would be too ridiculous even for a sit-com character, and I adore him) and I'm very lucky that my pain is easily managed. I'm also very lucky to work from home because I can pace myself, and to have bosses who are very understanding if my work is late :)

Just wanted you to know you're not alone! Chronic pain sucks, but there are still so many wonderful things in life to enjoy, like kdramas!

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And thank you for staying as active a recapper even with your struggles! I would have never guessed you miss any deadlines; you’re the work horse of recapper a right now!

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***lots of hugs***

Thank you for all that you do for Beanieworld!

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Thank You @lollypip! I've been in pain all my adult life now and I never really got the chance to do things in school since I was always so focused on getting to college that sometimes it seems like I missed out on things, but I've learned to like myself and have patience with myself. So, thank you for your words of encouragement. I really apprecitate them:)

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Thank you for sharing, @lollypip!
My admiration for you knows no bounds!
*hugs* ^^

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And this is how you achieve balance! Thank you for your take and I hope your days continue to motivate you to watch dramas to keep you healthy, and pain free!

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Thank you, Ally!

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*finger heart*

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Thank You Dramabeans for publishing my story! It is a great honor for me and humbling too because I'm not a good writer, but I like doing it anyways, mostly for myself to read though. I love this space and wish only the best for it!

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I really enjoyed this, Jelly!
I love the system you created because it keeps you motivated to do something with your day, I should do something like this too! It reminded me of one of my friends who used to place Jolly Ranchers and Skittles inside her books just to motivate herself to continue studying/reading ^^
Hope your health improves <3

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Thank you @natzillagorilla!

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You're an amazing writer and I cracked up at "but they didn't look Latino". πŸ˜‚ Your reward system is amazing- it seems like very little procrastination occurs. Hwaiting with your health!

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Oh procrastination does occur, trust me! But I am pretty good at getting back on track especially since I'm very type A and like things certain way πŸ˜‚.

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I've often wondered how many people watch K dramas because they need motivation or a respite from life. Thank you for writing this. Wishing you better days with better health ahead.

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Thank you for reading, Mugyuljoie!

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@pbnjelly513 BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL. your story is so eye opening and i can definitely understand your situation. Just know that your struggles are real (i mean i know that you know theyre real, but whenever you feel life is hard, you are completely validated). Your story reminds me a tad bit of the older brother in MA but a sprinkle of DH and JA too! You are right---kdramas a reward. And DB and discussing them with you guys is the cherry on top!

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*also BEST wishes to your health. Health and happiness first :)

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Thank you @justme! I really appreciate your words and thoughts a lot! I wish you the best of health and happiness, as well.😊

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@pbnjelly513, thanks a million for sharing. :) I love and can relate to your reward system, and I'm glad you're taking care of yourself! I wish you and your family peace and comfort, and I send lots and lots and lots of hugs.

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Thank you @bammsie for all your hugs! They are reciprocated, of course😊.

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*big squeeze* Fighting, Jelly!

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I truly hope that your health improves. I have a brother who has long suffered from two nasty chronic illnesses. I think I will suggest some KDramas to him. And might I suggest just 3 shows to you- First, there are days when you need something that is both good, but light and funny- just because you are totally drained- because I know you have days like that. For that you might want to watch Woo Hoo Waikiki (Go Go Waikiki if you watch it through Drama Fever). Second when you are up to more and you want a show with heart, depth, romance, and humor - as well written as Shakespeare but perfectly executed as far as acting, music, etc- watch the show that the Dramabeans out into the middle of your essay as an illustration- Because This Life is my First, which is the best TV series of all time, in my opinion. And, finally, if you want a really well done but longer series so you do not run out of episodes too soon- try My Father is Strange. Again, I sincerely hope that in time you will enjoy a truly healthy and pain free life, and I hope that that time comes soon.

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Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! I have already seen and loved Waikiki and Because This Life Is Our First and I really loved the way you described them. I only hear good things from My Father Is Strange and I think I should definitely give it a chance when I have time. Thanks for the recs!

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Thank you- and I realized that I had left out a show for when you only have a few minutes of time and cannot watch a full length episode- because that has to happen too. It is a short episode series called Noble, My Love.

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jellybn, I salute your ability to keep active and especially your discipline! I'm in the chronic pain club too but I'm far more apt to watch FOUR episodes as a reward for something like, ummm . . . eating lunch! πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌ to you, and best of health ❀️

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Thank you @bbstl! May the best of health come to you as well!

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Ha ha!
I'm like you! I admire Jellybn's discipline soooo much!!!

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Thank you for your encouraging essay, @pbnjelly513!!

As a fellow member of the chronic pain club, I applaud your discipline and good humor.
I hope that rather than just pain management, you will be able to find a way to have less pain and that your options will increase.
I have had severe back pain for many years and k-dramas were my respite when I couldn't sleep or do much else. I am beyond blessed as in my case, an operation has meant that the pain is now tolerable.
If only I was as disciplined as you are!!!
You will be my encouragement, and I will be hoping that things go better with you. *hugs!!*
Fighting!

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Aww, thank you for your sweet thoughts @rukia! *hugs you back*

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Here are some suggestions for your binge-watching - if you still have time. My favorites are Sassy Go Go (Cheer Up!) and I'm Not a Robot. Doctors say laughter is the best medicine so I hope this helps you a lot.

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Loved I'm Not A Robot, but I haven't seen Sassy Go Go so I might give it a try. Thanks for the recs!

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@jellybyn Thank you for sharing this. I want to wish you all the best :)

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Thanks Sirena! Best wishes to you as well!

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Praying for your complete healing, @jellybean. So I attempted this to control myself: I will only watch Kdrama when I’m exercising on the elliptical machine. Watching drama was supposed to be my reward for exercising and at the same time my drama watching will be limited to one hour a day. Lo and behold, I can’t exercise daily and I can never just watch one episode!

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Thank you @tizzy! I applaud anyone that can exercise everyday. I also have my days where the next episode loads automatically and I'm to lazy to stop it, lol. It is only recently that I've managed to set some boundaries for myself, but I am no stranger to watching the next episode or two!

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Kdramas are indeed the perfect way to reward yourself for being productive! I wish I had as much self-control though, I often start watching and postpone the productivity until later... After which I will reward myself with more episodes. Luckily, on-air dramas do help with that, as you really can't watch more than what has aired.

I hope that you have found - or will soon find - a place for yourself where you are managing well and are content, just like Ji-an has in the last picture you posted! I'm sure dramas will help you along the way.

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Thank you @saturtledaisy!

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i am very late to this post.. sorry for that. not sure why i missed it...
And after reading this all i could say one thing for sure (as its applicable to me as well) Kdramas are not just TV shows that we watch with our eyes wide open but they are like a new world that we enter with our Heart wide open, with our baggage as its there to heal us from our wounds and to make us feel alive after all the life throws at us whole other time.
And i really wish you a happy healthy life and pray that things will sort out for you for good sooner than later...
and and emotional write up for sure... thank you.

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