Yoo Ah In is one of South Korea’s most famous actors. He gained immense popularity for his unrivaled acting skills and unique visuals. Suffice it to say that he has become a self-made success, living in a huge multi-storied house. But behind all the glamor, Yoo Ah In once struggled with philosophical thoughts about his riches and sparkly life.
On an episode of I Live Alone, Yoo Ah In was in the midst of moving. He began contemplating his life as he looked at all his material possessions. In particular, Yoo Ah In was famous for his sneakers collection. Like many men, he enjoyed collecting shoes and lining them up in his cupboard. He came to a realization about it one day.
Collecting shoes, or growing a collection, was his way of cementing his success to himself. Having a larger collection, having the latest kicks, made him feel like he was on his way to making it. He began to obsess over it. But after he came to realize that it was all temporary, they began to feel like heavy shackles instead.
While wondering how to clear out his collection, Yoo Ah In began to think about what was the true motivation he could use to go on in life. As someone who struggles with anxiety and other disorders, Yoo Ah In openly admitted that he felt pathetic whenever he was unable to control his own body and breathe properly. When he realized that his goals were only temporary and material, he felt pathetic.
Previously, if my shoe cupboard was filled with shoes, I’d feel like I really became rich. Like wow, I have all these amazing and really cool shoes. It’s a temporary feeling but I felt like, oh, I’m rich, oh, I’m successful. But now, I don’t feel like that. It actually feels like shackles. So, I was considering how to empty it out, how to throw them out, how to give them away. And I was also worrying about what I should wish for in the future, and what motivation should I use to live on. I think I came to think about those worries and thoughts a lot. Because, in the moment, if you start collecting things, growing a collection, moving to a bigger house, you feel like your life is okay. Those moments get you through temporarily. But then, it can’t sustain you and you feel like you lost something. You can’t breathe properly or control your own body, and you’re never at peace. Then these bad habits keep repeating and you just become a pathetic person.
— Yoo Ah In
Netizens rehashed his confession 2 years later, on November 10, 2022. The post soon went viral online as many were hit right in the feels by his words.
- “I’m not rich but when I was moving not too long ago, I felt this so hard… I’m healthy and all but why do I need so many things? Why are my possessions so heavy? Just what did I buy that’s this much? But after moving, I kept buying more things as I was inconvenienced… Is this just because I’m not wise?”
- “He’s right. Materialistic items as a way to make something feel real is just a way to get by temporarily.”
- “Well… I’m going to try filling something up first then feeling that way…”
- “I was packing up and throwing away my stuff for renovations and I wondered why did I buy so many things. Now, when I buy things, I consider it a lot before purchase.”
- “I’m not that level of rich but I used to be poor. Now, I have a house and car that people are jealous of and my family is happy. But I feel some sort of emptiness. I’ve been worrying a lot about the fact that I should be fulfilling myself instead.”
What he feels is relatable to anyone, even if you’re not a celebrity or a high flyer. The older we get and the more financially independent we grow, we come to seek out materialistic things to tide us through hard days. But at the end of it all, if we cannot attain innate peace and happiness, we will never be content with what we have.