I love this time of year. By time, I’m referring to the days following Christmas and proceeding the New Year. The feverish holiday pace and lengthy task lists are behind me and I can slow down and become thoughtful about the new year ahead. And this is a big one—a new year and a new decade!
I spend a lot of my ordinary time knee-deep “in the weeds” of day-to-day responsibilities. As I approach a new year, I can step out of the fray and gain a new perspective. Or to use another analogy, I can get to the balcony for a better view of my life.
“Getting to the balcony” is a way of describing how we gain perspective on the whole of our lives. Rather than being immersed in the particulars, we step back or above to view our lives and ask questions like, Is my life aligned with who I am and what is important to me? Am I living the life I want to live? Am I happy with my life? What changes do I need to make?
I read a book recently on the Japanese concept called Ikagai. Ikagai is a word that describes the experience of living a full and meaningful life. It’s what we all want—right? As teleological beings, we’re hard-wired to function best when we live with purpose. And getting to the balcony can help us do that; it affords us the vantage point to engage the question, Am I living a full and meaningful life? And if not, what can I do about it?
In this book, I came across the diagram below. The image suggests that we will experience the greatest satisfaction (Ikagai) when there is synergy and alignment between all four spheres. As I climb to the balcony in preparation for choosing my word of the year, I’m going to spend time with this image, scribbling in the ovals the statements that best name what I love, what I’m good at, what the world needs, and what I can get paid for.
My hope and prayer for you, my friend, is that you take time at the close of this year to “climb the stairs” to the balcony of your life. And may the view afford perspective and sharpen your vision for what it means to live your particular life; one that is shaped by who God created you to be and what God wants to do through you.
Happy New Year! Beth and David Booram
Ikagai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles