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Ikigai: A Japanese Way to a Long, Happy and Meaningful Life

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Okinawa, the small island located in Southern Japan, is known as the land with the highest number of people with an average age of 100 years. This makes the small province become the center of attention around the world along with the question – why do people here live a very long life?

But before we come to the conclusion with only 3 syllables – Ikigai. YoungHappy would like to take one and all to look at the secret of Japanese life and the concept of Ikigai for better understanding.

‘Ikigai’ in Retirement

Everyone has their own ‘Ikigai’. Ikigai comes from a combination of two Japanese words – ‘iki’ which means life and ‘gai’ which means value or worth. Together, they mean ‘a reason for being’. In fact, Ikigai does not refer to any particular thing, but it refers to many things that can change over time.  

As a kid, our Ikigai may just be having delicious snacks after meals. As we grow up, our Ikigai may turn into something like reading a good book or helping others in need. And when we get older, our Ikigai may be seeing the smiles of our beloved friends and grandchildren.  

As you can see, Ikigai can be anything that makes us happy, valued, and want to live a longer life. If anyone wonders what their Ikigai are, try following these steps. 

Start with Small Things

First, try to think about things that you like to do or want to do. It can be anything – even something we dream about when we were young, or things that you plan to do for the longest time but never have a chance to do. It might be writing a book, grooming a rose garden, or brewing a delicious coffee for yourself. If you can think of any, do it, and remember to start small. 

Learn to Free Yourself

Sometimes we may get stuck in someone else’s frame, or even a frame made by ourselves – things that have been done before. Try to release yourself, look at the present, accept yourself as it is, and free yourself from the frame in the past. Let go of the obsession and see what is really important to us.

Try doing what you want to do and do it with purpose. It can be a difficult task. But believe in yourself, if you can overcome this obstacle, you will surely find happiness and valuable experiences.

Be Happy and Grateful for Things

Be happy with the little things that you see each day. Be thankful for the things that you have received, no matter how small it is, because being grateful always will help shape our perception toward other people. The more we think about others, the more things we do for others, plus the more happiness we find in ourselves.

YoungHappy hopes that all the elderly will find their ‘Ikigai’ again in retirement.

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