It’s a funny thing, isn’t it?
We all want it. And then once we get it, it’s gone. When we don’t have it, we do all sorts of crazy things in order to get it back.
No doubt, happiness is a tricky subject when it comes to us humans. And, it can get even trickier once we enter the second half of our lives—the half that begins at age 60—according to New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee. He’s authored a truly enlightening book on aging titled, I’ve Decide to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.
In this groundbreaking work, Lee discusses the three types of joy that we can embrace as we enter the second half of our lives. Unlike the more surface level joys that we reach for in our youth, the three types of joy we’ll discuss here run far beneath, because as we age, we’re (hopefully) evolving to seek happiness from things with deeper roots. Sex, food, fortune, and fame—these are all fleeting types of happiness that we tend to chase when we’re younger.
As we enter a period of wisdom, however, we need to find our happiness on a different level. As Lee teaches, “old age is a time to find new sources of happiness. Instead of being attached only to the joys that come from the desires you sought to satisfy in the past, discover joys of a higher level.”
To lead a truly satisfactory second half of life, it’s essential to embrace the following three types of joy:
Hongik – the Joy of Living for the Good of All
Hongik is a Korean word that when roughly translated means living for the good of all and working for the benefit of others. Now, that’s a more altruistic joy than those surface desires we spoke of before, isn’t it? This is important because once we reach retirement, we often lose our sense of purpose. The things we used to find happiness in simply aren’t there anymore—our children, our career—they may no longer be a central focus of our lives, and in some cases (like career) they may have vanished completely. Therefore, we need to find joy in Hongik. Hongik can manifest in finding joy through pure, unconditional love—love that doesn’t control or possess. This is the pure love that resides at the soul level, and we must tap into it in older age to find true happiness and live for the good of other human beings—life partners and otherwise.
The Joy of Awakening
The joy of awakening has to do with truly waking up to the principles of nature and life itself. Upon entering old age, we typically move into a natural progression of awakening as puzzle pieces of the nature of our lives seem to fall into place. We have time to contemplate—time to ponder the nature of existence. Our enlightenment is much more attainable with the wisdom of decades lived and past struggles behind us. Old age can be a truly fascinating time to embrace the joy of awakening to the sacred cycles of life and true depth of spirit. This is one of the most fascinating ways we can learn to love our old age. Enlightenment is within reach!
The Joy of Creation
The act of creating—anything—is one that brings us deep, deep happiness. Writers experience it when they pen an article or book. Dancers feel it when they create a piece that moves to music. Artists revel in it when a canvas is complete at last. The joy of creation is ours to hold dear as we age. No longer must all our activities revolve around making a buck. Gone are the days when every waking minute is spent nursing a newborn babe to sleep. In old age, our lives are ours to enjoy! And we can embrace this through taking time each day to create something beautiful. Now is the time to begin a creative hobby. Music, photography, writing, painting, scrapbooking—these are all up for the creative taking! To continue living a life of purpose in our older years, it’s absolutely necessary that we jump into the joy of creation.
Ilchi Lee delves deeper into the 3 joys of aging in his book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years. If you want to learn more about how to live a happier life in old age—one that’s ripe with deep joy and contentment—I encourage you to pick up a copy of this wonderful book!
[Note: Between 12/11/2017 and 12/17/2017, the Amazon Kindle version of I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years> is discounted 80% from $9.95 to just $1.99.]