2021, Jul 18

This is my first attempt at capturing the essence of a book. This is not a review. I am no expert. These days I have been reading non-fiction. Too many "self help" books, if you know what I mean. I figured there is no point in reading that many books if I do not stop and reflect on them. This is also an attempt to analyse if and how a book (and its teachings) are applicable to my life. This is in no way a reflection on the book itself.

So, Ikigai. I have come across the title of this book multiple times. At one point in time I saw it everywhere; Instagram, GoodReads, Facebook, Audible. It became difficult to avoid it. The book was stalking me. Everyone seems to have good things to say about it. So, I decided I will get the audio book on Audible. So here is a memory card to look back when I want to remember what did Ikigai tell me.

Ikigai spoke of centanarians living in Japan. Their secret to long life is having something or someone to live for. It makes sense, doesn't it? You need a reason to get out of bed every morning. That is it. Of course, other things like health and financial security matter too. The author has put together ten ideas or rules that summarize the secret of long life.

1. Stay Active, Do Not Retire

I started worrying about and planning for my retirement when I was 24. I worried that I will not get a pension from the Government. The book made me understand that I need not and should not retire. Does that mean I should remain a software engineer for the rest of my life? No! I will allow myself to be open to new jobs or professions that will be the reason to get out of bed every morning.

2. Take it slow - Walk slowly and you will go far

This made me smile. Some days are a blur while some days I feel I am immobile. It seems like I have only these two speeds in life; zero or max. Speed is okay sometimes. I like the adrenaline rush from the acceleration. It is the days that stand still that I worry about. I know. I know. This is not what the book is saying. But as of this day, this is my take away. Hey! I will let you know if I understand this differently in the future.

3. Do not fill your stomach

Guilty. Going for an extra serving of desserts? Yeah, that's me. The book has a 80-20 rule. It says - eat only 80% fill of your stomach. Stop when you start to feel your stomach getting full. Apparently, this is the key to a healthy life. Let's try this. What say?

4. Surround yourself with good friends

It gets difficult to make new friends as you get older. I make a lot of acquaintances. But how do I make new friends? Food for thought?

5. Get in shape for your next birthday

Aha! Finally something I am getting it right. Vinay got me a Fitbit for my 27th birthday. This was exactly one year ago. I have been very consistant in exercising since then. I celebrated my 28th birthday this month. I only have plans for getting stronger for my next birthday.

6. A cheerful attitude - Be here and now in a world full of possibilities

Okay. What have I got to lose by being cheerful? Umm... Nothing, I guess. Will I gain by being poitive and looking for opportunities everywhere? May be.

7. Reconnect with nature

I live in a concrete jungle. My parents grew up close to nature. I grew up listening to their stories. My heart longs to be in the midst of greenery. Caring for a few flower plants is as close to nature as I can get today. I am hopeful that I can do better. I just need to figure out the how.

8. Give thanks

Growing up, I have always realised that I am privileged. I have been thankful for that. I am grateful everyday for the stable life, a loving husband, work that I enjoy. Could I make gratitude a habit? Will identifying things that I am grateful for everyday make me more humble and a better person? Well, I am working on it. Gratitude is part of my daily journal. Time will tell.

9. Live in the moment - Stop regretting the past and fearing the future

This is difficult, isn't it? I am okay letting go of the past. But how do you not worry about the future? If you have an idea, tell me 🙂

10. Follow your Ikigai

If you do not know what your Ikigai is yet, the author Viktor Frankl says, your mission is to discover it. That is my mission then.

I am sorry if you are here looking for answers and found only questions. This is my truth today. If I get wiser in life and figure these things out, I will share. I promise 🙂

Life is not a problem to be solved. Just remember to have something that keeps you busy doing what you love while being surrounded by the people who love you.