The Foreign Service Journal, April 2018

76 APRIL 2018 | THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL During two terms as AFSA president and one term as AFSA State VP, I wrote 66 col- umns for The Foreign Service Journal. While most naturally dealt with personnel or profes- sional issues facing the For- eign Service, the column that prompted the most favorable feedback was philosophical. Titled “The Journey,” that September 2008 column observed that many Foreign Service members are “always becoming but never being” because they focus on secur- ing the next promotion or assignment rather than on making the most of where they are now. Instead, I encouraged viewing the Foreign Service as “a journey rather than a des- tination” by focusing on the unique and varied day-by-day experiences that our extraor- dinary career has to offer. As a recent retiree, my philosophy about this new chapter of my Foreign Service journey so far draws more heavily on research than it does on my own experience. During my research, I came across a concept that I think other retirees might find interesting. A study of populations around the world with the lon- gest life expectancies found one such group in Okinawa. While they, of course, live healthy lifestyles (e.g., regular exercise, good nutrition), one key to their longevity is a concept they call ikigai . That Japanese word roughly translates as “a reason for being,” but a more down-to-earth translation is “reason for getting up in the morning.” What is your reason for getting up in the morning? During our working years, it probably included elements such as “to do a job I love” and “to earn money to support my family/myself.” But after we stop working 60-hour weeks of paid employment, we need to find a new ikigai to moti- vate and energize ourselves. Researchers suggest find- ing your ikigai by answering these questions: What do you love? What are you good at? What does the world need from you? For pre-retirees, there is a fourth question: What can you get paid for? Ikigai may well include a combination of activities. Common examples for retir- ees are visiting grandchildren, caring for family members, volunteering, part-time paid work, travel, hobbies, sports and creative expression. Whatever the case, what we choose to do needs to be suf- ficient to impart a sense of pur- pose that will help us persevere in the face of any obstacles (e.g., health, finances) encoun- tered during this capstone chapter of our lives. Here’s hoping that you find your ikigai and live long and prosper! n Continuing the Journey Views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the AFSA Retiree VP. Contact: | (703) 437-7881 RETIREE VP VOICE | BY JOHN NALAND AFSA NEWS After we stop working 60-hour weeks of paid employment, we need to find a new ikigai to motivate and energize ourselves. AFSAAdds Two Names toMemorial Wall The annual memorial cer- emony on Foreign Service Day is an important occa- sion to pause and remem- ber our fallen colleagues. This year AFSA has the sad duty of adding the names of two members of the Foreign Service who died in the line of duty over- seas to the marble plaques in the C Street lobby of the Department of State, bring- ing the total to 250: • Michael Andrew Cam- eron Jordan suffered a fatal heart attack on Dec. 18, 2016, in Juba, South Sudan. • Selena Nelson-Sal- cedo died suddenly due to pregnancy complications on June 4, 2017, in Bratislava, Slovakia. We invite you to join the family members and friends of Andy and Selena in honoring their service during this ceremony, which is tentatively scheduled for 4:15 p.m. on Friday, May 4. For the second year in a row, AFSA is organizing a moment of silence at embassies and consulates around the world, encourag- ing mem- bers of the Foreign Service community to pause at noon local time to remember our fallen colleagues and reflect on the dangers that are inher- ent in choosing to work in challenging places around the world, protecting and serving America’s people, interests and values. n