Age of Youth, or Hello my Twenties. Whatever you refer to it as, each girl added her own flavor to the big bubbling melting pot of a drama that I adore with every fiber.
It’s rare for me to take such a liking to characters on a TV show, but the Age of Youth girls managed to rein me in, making me fall into a never-ending hole that is my love for them.
I’ll start with someone who took the biggest piece of my heart, Yi Na unnie.
Disclaimer: Spoilers lie ahead. Tread at your own risk.
Kang Yi Na
My love for Yi Na is something that crept up on me unexpectedly, but when it hit me I knew that this was it. There was no going back.
No Time for Sugar
For starters, her cutthroat no BS personality and sense of humor were refreshing to me. She wasn’t afraid to make herself the butt of a joke, and she agreed with any observation that those around her made about her in a low key mocking way. She was like the older sibling you got into fistfights with because she didn’t sugarcoat anything and let you know exactly what she thought of your loser boyfriend, your nasty personality, or your lame opinion.
She was a person who would push you down a flight of stairs, let you know why she pushed you, and then help you up. She owned up to everything she did and barely let the opinions of others make her feel like less of a person, though there were some occasions in which she naturally began to question her lifestyle choices.
Every Rose has it’s Thorn
It was clear that she was struggling between who she was and who she wanted to be, and the way she threw away her previous life to lead a more fulfilling one is something many people could only dream of.
Yes, she had a mature air to her, but at some points glimpses of her insecurities peaked through and I saw her as someone I had to protect.
She acted like she was above those around her at times, but it was clear that all she wanted, needed, what she truly craved was for someone to be there for her. You know, real connections with real people. Almost like her air of superiority was a defense mechanism. This could be true, but is also a skepticism.
I’m Sexy & I Know It
When it comes to Yi Na, one could never completely tell what was on her mind unless she stated it on her own, which she usually completely did without holding back. Which leads me to believe that though some of her superiority could have stemmed from a deeper insecurity, most of the time she was genuinely confident, a level of confidence I hope to acquire.
Sugar, Spice, & Everything Nice
Though Yi Na had a very strong presence, what gave her dynamic and drew me to her even more was the super soft side that she possessed. With her sweet soft smile and actions that were full of aegyo, it was only natural for me to be drawn to her.
She would cancel all her plans in a second if it meant helping you out, and she was always more than giving.
Complete poise accompanied by a Parisian sense of style, Yi Na was the best friend that I could only dream of.
Yoo Eun Jae
Around the same age as me at the time the drama aired, I found it easy to connect with Eun Jae from the beginning.
With an innocent air to her she saw the world as a place in which people were like lions out to attack her, and she found it hard to properly express herself in the bustling jungle that was the new city she had arrived in.
A Ticking Time Bomb
She didn’t believe that anyone had good intentions and for a time only felt like people were out to get her. Ironically, though she seemed to be completely naive, she treaded carefully when it came to people and did not make any sudden moves until she felt it absolutely necessary or could no longer hold it in. As a person who is known to bottle up her feelings until she has no choice but to let it free flow in a sudden explosion, I knew exactly where Eun Jae was coming from when she had her sudden outbursts of rage.
Beyond the Surface
As a girl who minded her business and only spoke up when she felt it absolutely necessary, I could relate to her even more, and I found I was even more interested in her story and what she had to say. Though as I previously stated, at first glance she was naive and seemed to be easily swayed at times, she was completely misunderstood and dealt with bouts of anxiety.
Furthermore, her dark secret kept her from being present in the world, as she often held a dejected look and worried that her actions or there lack of had heavily affected the lives of those around her. Like many of us have felt at one point or another in our lives, sometimes she just wished she could disappear.
She was a true romantic at heart. I loved watching her love bloom and found it adorable how she became completely obsessed with and would stalk and idealize any person she took interest in. So much that she was even in love with her friends, in a totally platonic way. Her girl crush on Song made my heart tingle.
Every time she cried because of her situation or someone hurt her I wanted to wrap her up in my arms and tell her that it wasn’t her fault and that everything was going to be okay.
For me, her biggest charm was her bright smile which she only wore when she was genuinely happy.
Quiet but clever, Eun Jae was the most thoughtful and dynamic person I’ll probably ever come across.
Song Ji Won
Some would call her the most underrated of the Age of Youth girls, but for me she was one of my favorites. With her quirky nature combined with her never-ending BSing of deep quotes to make light of heavy situations, it was only natural that I fell for the life of the party.
A True Friend & Encyclopedia
Often the jokester, you couldn’t expect to have a completely serious conversation with her, but as soon as the going got tough she was one of the first ones with a look of heavy concern on her face, ready to lend a helping hand to whoever needed it or give a pat on the back and embrace anyone who was going through it.
Always the mediator, you never found her taking sides. (Except for that one time when she along with the other girls totally ostracized Kang Yi Na for her lifestyle choices.)
I loved her unbiased opinions and underhanded way of making you think about life more deeper than you would ever have if you had not come in contact with the floral print wearing, funky print and pattern adorned, bobbed-haired girl.
The Narrator of her Self Meditated Soap Opera
She never seemed to have any serious issues of her own, and if she did I’m sure she covered it up well with her nonchalant attitude and nonstop jokes. In fact, if anything she wished to dramatize her life into something much more than it was with her constant narrations.
In her eyes, her biggest issue was the fact that she felt her love life, or there lack of, was more boring than everyone else’s. I adore how she never truly let it get to her though, and remained fun loving and energetic through and through.
She’s the best friend you call up when you’ve just been cheated on by your significant other of x years, as she’ll make you forget that such a thing as relationships even exist in the first place. Rather she’ll have you pitying her as you gradually see that it’s not the end of the world, and you could be worse off. Way worse off. in fact, according to her, you could be like her.
Though she often seemed confident, she had her moments of uncertainty that made me realize that as self-assured as she came across, she was a human being as well, and that was definitely refreshing.
Oh, and did I forget to mention, I was in love with her eclectic sense of style?
Jeong Ye Eun
I have the biggest soft spot in my heart for this bright-eyed cutie. You know that quote that goes “though she be but little, she is fierce“? Well that’s this girl for you.
A Diamond Experiencing the Rough
While dealing with her super abusive ultra-manipulative boyfriend there were times when I literally wanted to cradle her like she was a new born out the womb. No, like seriously. Every time she broke down or cried as a result of him, like Kang Yi Na, I wanted to yell at her and tell her how amazing of a person she was, let her know that I understood why she was so attached to him, but she deserved so. much. more.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
I felt like a proud mother while watching her breakup with him with dignity, and thought ‘ahhhhh yes, this is it. this is how you go out with class’ throughout the entire scene.
My post-breakup self who was experiencing the trauma every single day knew exactly what she was going through, and I loved her so much for being able to get through it even if it meant having to throw herself into a million and one activities, thus filling every moment of her new life with something to fill the natural void she would have felt otherwise.
And when she watched those in healthy relationships around her and reminisced about the happy times, before her narcissist of a boyfriend had revealed who he truly was, I could only mentally nod and virtually send hugs and tons of acknowledgment as I experienced that knowing feeling, like a ‘wise’ elder of sorts.
One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure
When I saw how much pre-breakup effort she put in for her boyfriend time and time again, just to hold her tongue and clench her jaw when he didn’t reciprocate at all and completely took this sweet girl for granted, I felt my heart breaking. I thought, she is literally EVERYTHING a guy could want and more. She is everything to me, if I were him I would have dated her a thousand times in a heartbeat, in as many lives as I could. And I mean, how could someone hurt such an adorable flower?
When it All Comes Down to it
I loved how organized she was (something I could only dream to be), and how she kept a journal/scrapbook thing. She was truly a creative soul who loved to keep track of her life and greatest memories. As a sentimental person who also loves writing and creativity, I could only relate.
Her style that I love so much matched her default personality, completely bright and bubbly; full of life.
She had a wicked sense of humor and could easily be crowned as the banter queen.
Her smile stole my heart, and her antics never failed to amuse.
Though she had her judgmental moments, sometimes completely uncalled for bitchy sentiments, and natural times of major insecurity, I saw her as the best friend who you share the most precious moments with, as she put time, effort, and great detail into everything she did.
Yoon Jin Myeong
When Jin Myeong wasn’t working her three part-time jobs, she was dishing real life lessons out to people through her words and actions. You could never find her gossiping about someone as she often removed herself from situations that did not serve her, and this made her totally admirable.
A Real Struggle
She never got to fully experience the carefree unplanned life of someone her age, and she often daydreamed or tried to reminisce about moments she didn’t have that she wish she did. It seemed like it was hard for her to live in the moment, as she was constantly planning and worrying about the future. This grabbed my heart strings as I know the feeling of wishing you could be living a different life, but being trapped by your everyday circumstances.
Still Human, Through & Through
Though she didn’t have time for non-stop fun, that didn’t stop her from being witty and having an amazing sense of humor. When she was with her girls doing girl things, for a moment she seemed, well, human. I got to see a different side to her, and believe that those were the only times she truly got to unwind and loosen up.
The rare moments she did smile it reached her eyes and it let me know that though everything isn’t completely perfect, some things can be, if you change your perspective.
With her laid-back style and attitude, she taught me that life isn’t all about glamour and you don’t have to follow everyone else’s path to feel like you’re alive. That you should appreciate the little things you have and be happy that you are able to do things that may seem mundane such as take a walk with the person you like while you feel the wind blow through your hair, or wear that one outfit you’ve wanted an opportunity to put on for ages.
Jin Myeongsunbae is the person I reference the most when I think there are tough times I can’t get through or that I’m taking my life and opportunities for granted.
The Age of Youth girls will forever have the biggest part of my heart, and I can’t imagine another group of characters moving me this much or having such a big impact on my perspective and the way I deal with things. I literally feel like these could easily be real life people, as they were so lovable and relatable. I miss my girls so much and can’t wait to see them in Age of Youth Season 2, starting this August!
How have the Age of Youth girls influenced you? Have a favorite Age of Youth girl? I’m really curious to see how everyone views my precious gals, let me know down in the comments below!
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With much love,