The Secret to Living a Longer Life: Find Your IKIGAI
We all think that our life expectancy depends on our genetics. While partially true, there are many things that we can do to extend our life and live longer.
I recently read a book called, IKIGAI - The Japanese Secret to A Long and Happy Life which shared guidance on how we can live a longer life. The book was based on real-life examples of actual people living up to 100 years old on this little island in Japan called Okinawa. Because of how extraordinary this was, I also watched a couple of videos on the concept, and today, I want to share a bit about my findings and my own experience with finding my IKIGAI.
IKIGAI is all about finding your passion and your reasons to get up in the morning.
Many of us tend to lead a life that is very mundane. We all go to school, get a degree, work, get married, and start a family. While this is all normal, most of us do not enjoy life fully. We go from home to work and from work to home. After a certain age, our life is very habitual with nothing that stimulates us or gets us excited. The concept of IKIGAI teaches us about finding what we love, what we are good at, and what we are passionate about. While it may sound challenging, we all have an IKIGAI; it is just a matter of finding it.
All the population of Okinawa has their IKIGAI; some find it in the little things like gardening or growing fresh fruits while some others find it through continuous learning. These are simple actions that make us want to get up in the morning and look forward to the day. For instance, I do believe I have found my IKIGAI. Every year I start something new and every day I have things to look forward to. For instance, I share my wisdom through my blog. Now I have my own Youtube Channel. I continuously learn and feed my mind with podcasts and books about various topics. I work on my public speaking so that I can make an impact through my voice, and as matter of a fact, I got invited to a few podcasts to talk about my story. I love coffee and I became an ambassador for a coffee brand. It is all about turning your passions and your knowledge into something concrete. When we do what we love, it feels effortless and we always have time to nurture it.
My philosophy of life is this quote by Gandhi- Be the change you want to see in the world. It is my motivation that always encourages me to keep going and move through any hardship. Life's obstacles will always be there, whether internal or external, but what takes more is resilience and having the courage to stand up.
Four years ago to cope with my own sadness, I decided to volunteer for a nonprofit organization, one in specific where volunteers give friendly visits to elderly people who want a bit of company. There, I became a friend of this woman of 90 years old who has been living alone after her husband passed away. She is full of life and joy. Books and courses are her reasons to wake up in the morning. Not only did she become my tea friend, but also my biggest source of inspiration. She teaches me about life and reasons to keep investing in myself. It was only back then, that I realized that I found my IKIGAI: helping others. This is now what I do during my free time - help others and advocate for what I think is right like gender equality and women's empowerment. While It took me maybe four years to find my IKIGAI, I think exploring is a continuous process and we should never stop discovering what we like and what we don't like.
So fellow readers, did I convince you enough to cultivate your own IKIGAI?