Getting Out of Bed

Costa Rica... No artificial ingredients!
Image by Wha’ppen via Flickr

Why do you get out of bed in the morning?  Is it so you can exercise the privilege of spending 8 hours in a cubicle?

I didn’t think so.

In Okinawa, it’s call the ikigai.  In Costa Rica, it’s the plan de vida.  It’s your sense of purpose–the reason you get out of bed in the  morning.  In these cultures, having a strong ikigai can be directly correlated to a statistically extreme lifespan*.  All around the world, the plan de vida is the single factor most likely to cause someone to feel they have lived a fulfilled life.

Do you know your ikigai?

For some people, their plan de vida is to successfully raise their children, then their grandchildren.  For others, it is charity.  Some folks are serial entrepreneurs, always looking for the next deal, the next business.  For still others, it is a collection or an urge to travel.  There are even some whose sole reason for getting out of bed(other than potty breaks) is  work.

The last category is most common with teachers, soldiers, and police.  The problem with wrapping so much of your identity up in your profession is retirement.  What do you do when your ikigai–your reason to wake up–goes away?  In Okinawa, teachers and police tend to have very short retirements because they lose their reason to for living.

What is your plan de vida, your passion?  What drives you to keep going?  Do you live to write, or to raise your children?  Do you live solely for someone else’s happiness?  When you find it, it will resonate as “this is you”.   Finding it is a deep soul-searching, not a light-hearted explanation or a new fad.

Your reasons can, and should, change over time.  You can’t live for raising your children years after they have grown up and moved away.  Finding  this one factor in your life can be the thing that leaves you on your deathbed looking back with a smile instead of regret.

What is your plan de vida?

* From The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

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  • 5 comments

    Comments

    1. I get out of bed because I need to keep my job – money equals hobbies and food. Oh, and I don’t want the dogs to pee on my floor. 😉

      My sense of self is wrapped around my family and friends more than anything else, so I look forward to all the socializing time I will have when I retire. 🙂

    2. I love the cultural inclusion of this post!

      I get out of bed every morning by 6am on weekdays, and 7am on weekends b/c i’m just SO EXCITED about what is going on in life!

      Everyday is like Christmas morning to me, as I anxiously await to see what’s in my inbox, comments, etc.

      Seriously, I’m pumped!

      Best,

      Sam

    3. I’m just the opposite of Sam. I have to crawl out of bed each morning, because I’m such a sleepy-head. It’s not that I don’t have enthusiasm for my life’s purpose, because I do. It’s just that I go about it in a much more casual manner.

      What I have found is that my life’s purpose is in a constant state of change. I have accomplished the college degree, corporte ladder and raising children phases of my life. And, now I’m focusing on the entrprenurial and self-sufficiency phase. After that, I’m thinking about the travel and discovery phase. Life offers a variety of challenges as it unfolds.

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