In January, my mom texts me, "Happy birthday! 27! I cannot imagine my little girl is already 27 years old. When I was your age I had two babies. Don't forget to find a right man and enjoy life." Well-meaning (?)... but ouch!
27 does feel different. Perhaps it was a job shift and getting older but also, for the first time in adulthood I'm beginning to see my voice and have some footing on this enormous planet.
I may not have found my exact Ikigai just yet, though, I'm listening more carefully to what my mind and body are naturally drawn towards. This year has been full of drawing/design, crafts, food adventures (eating and cooking), caring for plants, playing badminton, swimming, hiking, biking, keeping a clean space, learning languages (Japanese, currently) and car-free living. Common themes seem to be food, nature, art and being active. I think I'm getting warmer...
Sometimes I get discouraged thinking about the downfalls of being so untethered; feeling as though my efforts are for no one and for nothing, and thus, meaningless. Perhaps this is partially due to knowing my mom gave up her own pursuits to marry my dad, move to Canada and raise our family. Her ikigai became our family so it makes sense she wants us to have the same feeling and idea of purpose. During those lethargic bouts where I feel the "lack" of a relationship or "lack" of meaning, I am being lazy by avoiding the true "lack" which is my own ikigai, independent of any other being. I naively think that others/a partner/pet would give me an instant purpose and then I'd find my own goals that fit snugly with theirs. I don't think there's anything wrong with that but it could be delaying a crisis later. Finding my ikigai will be a long, fulfilling journey that will surely guide me to healthier, deeper and more balanced relationships and a richer life.
So thank you, mom, for the birthday reminder that I'm 27, unbound by children or "a right man" and I have everything I need to be calm and listen.