I am such a rubbish blogger. Fact. I am in constant awe of these demi-God bloggers who make 600 word posts three times a day when I struggle to post one a month at the moment. But I figure that when I’m not writing, I am at least building content. Or reading ….
I’m not even sure how I came across this book, but like an old friend, I am so glad our paths crossed. The Little Book of Ikigai is one of those strange books where when you’re reading it you spend every second wondering what the point is and, more importantly, ‘am I wasting my time here’. And then you finish it, and wonder those points a little more. For a couple of weeks. But slowly, and surely, you start to get the point. Ikigai. It’s all around us. Everyone has ikigai.
Ikigai is what the Japanese live by. Simply translated, ikigai is your sense of purpose in life. It is the only thing the Japanese get out of bed for. They all have it, until death. And before you start questioning the gravity of ikigai and ‘purpose’ for the Japanese, I should point out that within the Japanese language they don’t have a word that directly translates to retirement. Everyone has ikigai, purpose, until the day they die.
And now, having finished this book a couple of weeks ago, I can see it all around me. My husband’s ikigai is palpable. A member of a local committee I have recently joined is ikigaied to within an inch of her life. A family member who recently lost her loved one has found her ikigai ripped from under her.
Ikigai is a funny word that will at first make you think of raw fish, but when you live with it for a few days you’ll start to realize it is all around you. It is the essence of what makes us rise each day and the thing which soothes you to sleep each night. Or perhaps sometimes keeps you awake each night!
Without purpose we are merely animals, which is why I believe we should grab our ikigai with both hands and cherish it. Ikigai is classless, priceless, ageless and without culture. A five year old’s ikigai could be feeding their pet hamster. An 80 year old’s cuddling their great grandchild until his smile beams back at her. However big or small your ikigai, don’t lose sight of it; it’s the reason you get out of bed each day and it’s one of the keys to long-term health and the avoidance of the chronic diseases which we are now battling with on a global scale.
The Little Book of Ikigai by Ken Mogi is available via Amazon: