It’s been a good spell since I last updated my blog and I blame it on my crazy schedule last week. I teach English as a Second Language at a community college that is nearly an hour commute from my house. I have a split schedule so I’m there in the mornings and late evenings. However, despite its challenges and the tiring schedule, I love it! I truly enjoy teaching and I’m the happiest when I teach. It’s seriously a complete transformation when I enter the classroom. My game face is on and my attitude, mannerisms, and speech all change to be the best teacher I can muster to be. I also want to learn more about becoming an even better teacher and a scholar. I’ve found something worth living for, which brings to me to today’s post: What are You Living For?
About a little more than a month ago, I thought I was on my way to live and teach in Okinawa, Japan. Now, if you don’t know much about Okinawa, it’s this collection of subtropical islands called the Ryukyu Islands. The capital is Naha and it’s 968 miles from Tokyo, Japan. In short, it’s a paradise that contains some of the world’s most amazing beaches, beautiful displays of nature, and an attitude of total chill. Yes, I was on my way to this incredible place, but alas, my employers decided to transfer me to Chiba, Japan. I wasn’t feeling the move so I declined the offer. But enough about that. If you haven’t heard already, Okinawa is home to largest population of people over 100 (people here have the highest life expectancy in the world!) and is the birthplace of karate. I’m more interested in the longevity of its inhabitants however.
Aside from the local diet, which can be replicated through tons of books on Amazon, the people of Okinawa benefit from having a deep purpose of living that gets them up every morning. They call it ikigai. Without blinking, the elderly Okinawans can tell you the reason why they rise up every morning. How many of us can do that? Having this strong sense of responsibility and feeling needed is pretty important for living, especially if you’re living past your 100s! However, we certainly don’t have to wait that long to develop a strong purpose in our lives.
I think one way to do develop that purpose is to stop every now and then, maybe for a good stretch of time if possible, to look inward and try out many different things. And on the way, catalog in a journal how we feel about these different experiences. We might just discover something that can develop into our purpose. Some of us are lucky to find that purpose at a very young age thanks to some amazing trigger. Others still need to scope and search their hands against the wall as they walk blindly. Whichever group we’re in or if we’re somewhere in between, we should remember not to underestimate our minds, spirits, and will to live for something meaningful. We can find it even if it takes time.
Now, I’ve taken it to an even higher level. What am I willing to die for? I leave you with these words by Martin Luther King:
“If a man has not found something worth dying for, he is not fit to live.”
What do you think? What are you living for? Have you found something to die for?
Heavy questions, but they’re sort of fun, right?