Ikigai (生き甲斐)


Your ikigai. Have you found it yet? Do you know what it is? Do you have one or many?

Ikigai is the Japanese concept of ‘your reason for being’ or ‘your reason for getting up in the morning.’

For some, their ikigai is their children or a hobby that they just cannot wait to get to do.  Saying the phrase, “I get to ______ everyday.” may help point you in the right direction to finding your ikigai. Your ikigai is something you truly enjoy and want to do; not something you are forced to do. Sometimes it can even border on obsession; it all depends on what really drives you.

Sometimes realizing or finding our ikigai is a process that takes months or years. Other times it can be a moment where it seems as if it all just clicks and you shout out, “That’s it! That is where my passion and path lie!” It doesn’t have to necessarily be what you do for a living; it can be anything that gives you a real purpose.

For me, I am just now finding my ikigai. Based on the experiences I have, my blooming ikigai may change over time as well and that is ok.

Right now I have a few passions and any one of them could become my true ikigai.

Here are a few:

I love experiencing new places. It is so thrilling to travel and see all the wonders this life holds.

I love learning new things. Learning Japanese is one thing I’m learning that has opened my eyes to so many new things and new people I would have never met otherwise.

I love writing. I started this blog so I could get some much needed things off my chest. I have now branched out to writing fan fiction, which has opened me up to meeting so many wonderful people.

I love being able to help people. My experiences have been similar to others and I have been able to be a kind ear to listen when others feel stuck in their jobs. I enjoy feeling like I’m helping someone else by offering advice and pointing out resources that they may not have known about.

I love reading. Reading lets you dive into so many new places right from your own couch! Finding my love of reading is what started me on this journey. Reading one inspiring book series let to many other books being read; which led me to manga eventually.

I have realized that all of these things have a common theme…learning. I’ve found that if I am not learning something, anything, then I am not happy. This, I believe, may be why I am unsatisfied in my current job. When you stop learning, you stop growing and things get boring fast. You spend most of your waking life at work and I am finding that having an after-work hobby may not be enough to offset the unhappiness during the day.

Also I’ve noticed that if your ikigai is in conflict with your career it may give you uncomfortable feelings that are hard to ignore. I have decided to take baby steps to move closer to what I think my ikigai is at this time in my life. We all don’t have the ability to throw caution to the wind and go after our passions with fiery determination. That’s ok if you need to take baby steps and it is just as ok if you can make the leap and dive in toward your passion. We can get there. It is hard to trust ourselves sometimes but I need to believe that I can so I can find the path I was meant to follow.

Have you thought about what your passions are? Do you think any of them are your ikigai?

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

What starts a fire in your soul?

What do you enjoy doing or experiencing so much that time just flies by?

What things do you find yourself doing in you spare time? (These are the things you want to do in your spare time, not what you have to do.)

What makes you so happy that you feel like your heart will burst with joy?

Do you have a hobby that you wish you could make a living off of?

Is there something that you feel that if you did this everyday for the rest of your life you would be in utter bliss?

I have to believe that our reasons for getting up in the morning must be more than just, “I get up because I have to go to work.” and nothing more. Lets find our meaning people!

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