I spent the first week of August in Northern Ireland visiting my family. It felt great to swap Tokyo’s muggy, oppressive heat for a cooler period of sunshine and showers.
I’m now back in the ‘big daikon’ and the city’s quieter than usual because of summer holidays and the influence of the August 15th ’Obon’ festival. This Japanese Buddhist custom is characterized by urban dwellers returning en masse for a brief stay in their birthplace (often a rural location) and an opportunity to honor their ancestors resting places and [for some] the very spirits themselves.
Japan is filled with festivals big and small throughout the year and Obon struck me as an apt metaphor for a career change that leaves the old behind in order to begin something new. Obon reminds me that we can respect and commemorate with gratitude who and what went before us. And in a personal sense, we can also remember a career path well lived but one now over, and laid to rest. But one that helped make us who we are and from whom we can still draw strength and a sense of belonging in life.
That’s why letting go of past career experiences but not abandoning their impact and significance is what I think ‘finding games worth playing’ is all about (rule number five of the Just Five Rules self-coaching quintet.)
(Image is of a Tayto crisps and confectionery vending machine at the George Best Belfast City airport. I ate my fill while there haha.)