Yakudoshi

Yakudoshi is a Japanese folk custom based on the belief that people are more likely to experience illness/misfortune at certain ages. For women, unlucky ages include 19 and 33, while 25 and 42 are problematic for men. In order to avoid this bad luck, it is advised to live simply and avoid major decisions during these years of life.  According to the temple where I learned about this tradition, 37 is also an age when women should be wary.

However, I dodged a bullet. Under this system, the time between conception and birth is counted as the first year of life. Which makes me 38 as of today and free to make all the bad decisions I want. (Also, not being Japanese or from Japan, this is really just a curiosity. But it provides context.)

A few years ago, I received an hourglass as a Christmas present.  A lecture I attended a few months ago casually mentioned that a person has 25,000 days to live in a typical lifetime.  And a book I was just reading mentioned the tradition of receiving a watch at retirement coming from the concept of getting back your time.  So time has been on my mind lately.  While I’m not quite counting down to 40 the way a doomsday clock might count down to the end of the world, I have been thinking about time as a finite resource.  With the realization that time will run out, it becomes a precious commodity.  And then the question begins to loom large, especially around birthdays and other milestones: What should I be doing with my time?

The answer depends on priorities and responsibilities.  Having relatively few responsibilities, I’m free to set my priorities however I see fit.  And so my new priority is to start taking my dreams seriously.  We’re born with numberless dreams and then silence them one by one, like snuffing out candles.  Today is the day I begin to relight those fires and see how brightly they burn.  I hope this blog will encourage you to dust off a few dreams of your own and see how much they still shine.

This isn’t a midlife crisis, just a reevaluation.  A course correction.  I may not make all the best decisions or always follow the “correct” path, but who does?

Be seeing you along the way!

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