Did you know the people of Okinawa are known to have the largest population of people who live to 100? I read this in Dr James Rouse’s book, ‘Are you willing to show up and live your best life?’.
One reason for the Okinawans’ longevity is that they live by ‘Ikigai’ which means everyone has a reason for being – a reason to get up in the morning.
This week I was minding my grandson as usual and we had such a lovely day. I mind him every Wednesday and apart from doing fun things together I also put a load of washing on or something else to help out my daughter and her husband. It is no bother to me and as I was hanging out the washing I realised how good it felt. Yes, hanging out washing made me feel good, because I had a purpose and was making a difference to someone else’s life.
As we age it is easy to fall into a rut or if we are alone we can withdraw into ourselves. Without a purpose to get up and going in the mornings life can become depressing and it is unhealthy for us – both mentally and physically. I found that out when I retired!
We all look forward to retirement but it can sometimes come as a shock to some of us find that we no longer have purpose to our days.
I worked full time and didn’t really have many hobbies so when I retired I felt like I had been cut adrift and was just treading water waiting for something to happen. That is when I decided to start a blog. However there are so many things you can do to find purpose in your life.
I recently studied a short course through futurelearn.com ‘Strategies for successful aging’ with the Trinity College of Dublin. They discussed happiness and well being and the importance of having a worthwhile life. I’ve included a paragraph from their lesson “Introuducing happiness and wellbeing” :
Increasingly, happiness, wellbeing and quality of life are seen as not just about feeling satisfied and happy, but also about having a purposeful life. This includes making a contribution to our family and community, and fulfilling our potential in terms of our own abilities and capacities.
My 90 year old mother-in-law lost her husband of 70 years last year and also suffered a painful attack of shingles. Once she was a lively and ‘spritely’ person but after the trauma and grief she suddenly started to decline. She had no purpose in her life and each day was just spent sitting and missing her husband.
It got to the point where she was hospitalised with a stomach bug as she had lost weight and was very depressed.
The last six weeks has seen her improve dramatically and she has made the decision to move into aged care. Being surrounded by people in hospital and the rehabilitation unit including daily trips to the gym and physio has brought her back to life.
She is laughing again and has crocheted 5 shawls for her great-granddaughters. Her days have purpose and connection with others, she doesn’t have time to dwell on the past. Even her pain from shingles has become more bearable because her days are full of things to do. I’m sure that when she moves to the aged care facility we will have to make an appointment to see her LOL:)
Let’s Keep Sizzling!