We, the people thriving on the phase of the Earth today, can take pride on being called The Convenience Generation, for the quality of comforts at our disposal has superseded every other generation in the past.
Our ancestors would have laughed at the idea of a generation of people who would happily part a chunk of their hard-earned money sweating away at the gym, but make getting off the couch for the television remote seem like exercise.
Our great-grandparents would be looking down in shock at the evolution of the humble alarm clock that has evolved from the screaming timepiece that startled the entire family awake along with a few others in the vicinity with its mere shrill, a warning enough to dare not get back to the joy of a brief respite, to an intelligent device called the smart phone that cannot only wake you up to your favourite tone but boasts of the snooze option that can time your choice to traverse between the bridge of reality and dreams as many times as you wish.
Luckily for us someone was thoughtful enough to devise an application that reminds us to breathe!
The Japanese call it Ikigai, a compass that brews the joys of passion, purpose and fulfilment into the happy cuppa of life.
But as we traverse the vicious cycle of practical reality that propels us into educational and professional excellence based less on deep inner calling and more on the social expectations required to survive in a system that we have created for ourselves, can we take pride in our happiness as much as our ‘smart’ existence?
The Japanese call it Ikigai, a compass that brews the joys of passion, purpose and fulfilment into the happy cuppa of life, the sweet fragrance of which will entice you to wake up every morning with the exuberance of a child.
I am yet to find an app that can ease your navigation to finding your Ikigai, but you will be glad to know that my father and many in our midst have found theirs without the aid of an application.
For 39 years of his life as a banker, father was locked in a routine for he found purpose in his job and unlike his children despised the thrill of wading in the waters of unpredictability.
And then he retired.
The sudden expanse of the days that loomed ahead with no purpose threw him into the depths of hopelessness and having moved into a new locality amid new people only added to his woes.
Fresh beginning post-retirement
Slowly and steadily he charted a new routine that evolved as he set about exploring the place and getting familiar with the new faces around him.
Fast forward a year, father has become an integral part of a community of retired men who meet every morning, chatting about old times and new while supporting one another through the challenges that health and society throw their way and often times getting together to contribute a drop of their precious retirement savings to celebrate another milestone birthday of a friend in their lot or aid organisations in need — a task that gives them a feeling of still being an integral part of the society.
Today, as much as I complain waiting on father’s calls owing to his busy schedule, it gladdens my heart that he found a purpose to keep his mind and body active and a reason to wake up to every morning.
This morning, my reason for getting out of the bed refreshed and without the need to snooze my morning alarm was this piece of work.
Have you found yours?
Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha