Retirement is often seen as a time to kick back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of years of hard work. Yet, for many, it becomes a period of existential dread. What do I do now? How do I fill the hours? Where do I find purpose?
Enter the Japanese concept of Ikigai (pronounced 'ee-kee-gah-ee'), a philosophy rooted in the core of happiness, purpose, and a meaningful life. If you're looking for a path to a joyful, fulfilling retirement, Ikigai might just be your roadmap.
Let's delve into its profound impact on retirement planning.
What is Ikigai?
Ikigai is a Japanese term that translates to “a reason for being”. It intersects four primary elements:
1. What you love (your passion)
2. What you are good at (your vocation)
3. What the world needs (your mission)
4. What you can be paid for (your profession)
Where these elements converge, you find your Ikigai, the sweet spot of purpose and meaning.
How Can Ikigai Enrich Retirement?
1. Discovering New Passions: Just because you’ve retired doesn’t mean you stop growing. Dive deep into what you love. Maybe it's painting, gardening, or writing. Whatever it is, pursue it wholeheartedly.
2. Sharing Expertise: Over the years, you've gathered a wealth of knowledge. Why not mentor, tutor, or offer consultancy services? It’s a way to keep your skills sharp while helping others.
3. Fulfilling Unmet Needs: Retirement is an opportunity to tap into missions close to your heart. Whether it's volunteering at a local community centre or launching a social enterprise, there's always something the world needs.
4. Earning Potential: If you're worried about finances post-retirement, Ikigai can guide you. Use your experience to offer paid services, start a small business, or monetize a hobby. Finding what you can be paid for, even in retirement, can bring a sense of security and purpose.
Health Benefits of Embracing Ikigai
Mental Health: Having a purpose in life has been linked to improved mental health, reduced risks of diseases like Alzheimer’s, and decreased levels of stress.
Physical Activity: If your Ikigai involves physical activity, like dancing or hiking, you’ll be benefiting your heart, lungs, muscles, and bones.
Social Connections: Engaging with community, mentoring, or group activities associated with your purpose will keep you socially connected – a key factor in longevity.
Your Ikigai doesn’t necessarily have to be a source of income, but it can be. Monetising a hobby or starting a venture rooted in what you love and are good at can be lucrative. Moreover, engaging in meaningful activities can reduce unnecessary expenses tied to boredom or the pursuit of purpose elsewhere.
Crafting Your Ikigai-infused Retirement
Start by reflecting on the four intersecting elements. List down activities or jobs that fall under each. Where they overlap is where your purpose might lie.
For instance, if you love playing the guitar (passion), are good at teaching (vocation), recognize that many wish to learn an instrument (mission), and know people would pay for lessons (profession) – voila! Your retirement plan could involve setting up guitar classes.
Why don't you have a go at crafting your own Ikigai by downloading the workbook at the bottom of this blog...
Ikigai is more than just a concept; it's a lifestyle. As you approach or embark on your retirement journey, let it be a guidepost. By finding and embracing your Ikigai, not only will you discover a renewed sense of purpose, but you'll also pave the way for a retirement that's happier, healthier, and possibly even wealthier.