Welcome to Okinawa, the land of immortals.
This island chain, part of Japan, is home to a little over a million people and has the highest concentration of centurions (people over 100 years old) of anywhere in the world.
So what’s the secret?
Well, they maintain exercise and close social bonds throughout their old age but perhaps the biggest difference between the Okinawians and the western world is the concept of Ikigai.
Ikigai loosely translates to “a reason to get up in the morning”. It’s about having a purpose. This could be anything from solving a problem in the world to looking after your children. The key is that it drives you, every single day.
Retirement, a creation of the western world, is not a concept that even exists in Okinawa. As a result there is no slow down as the Okinawians enter old age.
Ikigai is close to a personal mission. When we lose Ikigai, we die- the Okanawians say.
Having a clear purpose and reason to get up in the morning deeply effects not only our psychology but also our physiology.
If we can truly find our Ikigai in life then the concept of retirement suddenly seems ridiculous. Why stop?
Not sure what your Ikigai is? Do not fear! Be curious and open minded, and it will find you soon enough.