“Instead of avoiding death, we should start living.” This beautiful sentence caught my attention in the Netflix documentary “How to Live to Be 100.” The documentary showcased regions of the world where significantly more people live to an astonishingly old age. The reporter interviewed many of them to uncover the secrets of their longevity. What became evident in all cases was that they are truly living their lives. A lady from Okinawa also said, “Have fun in the here and now and don’t be angry.” And there’s another sentence I’d like to share with you, which stuck with me: “Lose your Ikigai (purpose in life), and you die.”
This brings me to a familiar question: Why are you here? Or, as Mark Twain put it, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
Do you have a daily task that fulfills you? Do you know why you get up in the morning? And by that, I mean, do you have something that brings you joy instead of frustration? Is your attitude, “Oh my God, it’s Monday again” or do you prefer to say, “Oh my God, it’s Friday again”? Are you already looking forward to the weekend on Monday, or do you feel sad on Friday because the weekend is ending? Do you love what you do? Do you love what you have? And most importantly, do you love yourself as you are right now?
Because if you answer “no” to these questions three times, it will be difficult to stay motivated every day. The constant dissatisfaction and fear that many people live with lead them to go through life in a disassociated manner, keeping themselves emotionally detached. Genuine feelings are suppressed, and a facade is put on to make it through the day. Appearances take precedence over authenticity. Only those who are a bit more sensitive can immediately sense that what is being presented is merely a show.
Let’s take another look at the people in the documentary. According to their statements, it’s important to have fun in the here and now. And you can only have fun when you are present, emotionally engaged, and genuinely expressing it from within. Are you truly in the here and now in this current moment? Or are you already thinking about future appointments, upcoming tasks, or whatever else is on your mind? Are you constantly living in the future? Or are you stuck in the past, reminiscing, “Oh, how wonderful things used to be…” Well, the past is just a story. And tomorrow is also just a story. The only thing that’s real is now. Are you experiencing joy and happiness in the here and now? Or are you living by the “if…then” formula? Only if X happens, then I’ll be happy. But how can you be happy tomorrow if you’re unhappy until X arrives? It’s like practicing cycling over and over and then expecting to be an excellent basketball player.
Feel free to take the wisdom of the elderly to heart. Instead of doing a hundred things to avoid death, start with one thing that excites you, and live your life in the here and now.