Recently I had a conversation with my brother in law.
It went like this.
Me: I am rich!
Him: Really? how so?
Me: Remember when I worked for the north western health board? Well seemingly I was due a pension when I reached 60. I only remembered recently and applied for it and I have just being back paid nearly two years worth)
Him: Wow that’s wonderful, congrats, how does it feel to have all that money?
(Actually it might not seem a huge amount to a lot of people as I only had a few years of service but to me it was amazing)
Me: Initially stressful.
Him: Stressful ?
Me: Yes I was afraid I might go mad and spend it irresponsibly.
Him: And did you?
Me: Well no, because before I had a chance to, the taxman took nearly half of it back.
Him: oh dear that’s awful.
Me: Not really. It taught me three important lessons.
Me: yes firstly I learnt how it felt to be rich for a day.
Secondly, I discovered that being rich is not all its made out to be.
Him: And the third?
Me: If you suffer from dyscalculia don’t argue with the tax man.
Him: uh oh!
Me: Hmmm yes well initially it didn’t go that well (I’m not great with percentages) but we parted as friends in the end.
Him; That’s good!
Me; Yes I told him he could have the money but not my ikigai.
I am walking through woods practicing forest bathing (shinrin-yoku)
I note the light through the trees (komorebi)
I am aware of how the ancient moss on the stones, the ferns growing on the banks of the paths, the stream trickling over the stony river bed, trigger my emotional response to the wonder of nature (yuungen)
I shuffle through the fallen russet leaves and observe my fleeting sadness at the knowledge that they indicate the loss of summer (Mono no aware)
I plunge my hands into my pockets as I feel the cold wind of impending winter swirl around me (kogarashi)
I contemplate these Japanese words, rolling them off my tongue in a kind of chant as I tramp the steep path. (I find them more uplifting than my usual chant of ‘ higgledy piggeldy wiggeldy woods’.
And I wonder about my latest acquisition
And if I have it
Ikigai is a Japanese expression. It can be loosely translated as your reason for being.
It appears that If you love what you are doing and are good at it, if it fulfils you and you are actually paid for it, you may have found your Ikigai and will therefore live a long and happy life.
As long of course, as you don’t get lost in a higgledy piggeldy wiggeldy wood in the process.
(More on my quest for Ikigai in my next post)