Insights on finding purpose

May 23, 2022

Our founding organisation, Feros Care, produces a series of short films called Fearless Films, which showcases inspiring stories of amazing seniors living their bold lives. This is
Kay from the Volunteer Team, and today I would like to share the uplifting story of Jazmin Theodora with you.

You can view her Fearless Film here

At aged 82, Jazmin is a writer, speaker, and tarot card reader living in Northern NSW. Born as a male in 1938, Jazmin grew up when no one knew anything about trans- or gender-diverse people. Yet, when Jazmin turned 26, she courageously decided
to march to the beat of her own drum and live the way she wanted to.

“This is my life, and everyone can get their bloody hands off it!” she said. 

She started dancing, got a job as a stripper at a drag show, and became the star of the show within six weeks!  

Jazmin has always felt gifted with a psychic ability; she took up tarot reading in 1966 to help people get in touch with themselves and find the answers that lie within. Her favourite card is Temperance. Temperance points to the ‘tempering’
of extremes, realising that time is on your side, to let you invite harmony, balance, calmness, and a new vision for yourself.  

Jazmin also loves expressing herself through writing. She writes for the Nimbin Good Times and has published her life story in the book ‘Over the Rainbow’ which is about her life, loves and travels. As a speaker she is often invited to talk about transgender issues, raising the visibility of transgender people, and the issues members of the community continue to face. To Jazmin, staying true to yourself is the most important thing and this applies to everyone in life.

“Never give up on your dreams. Get out there and try. Believe that you are unstoppable – it’s that simple!” 

I was particularly moved by Jazmin’s story because she reminded me of the Japanese philosophy “ikigai”. I am originally from Japan, and “ikigai” means “the reason for being.” This is considered
the old secret to living longer in Japan.  

According to Japanese culture, everyone has ikigai. It indicates the value that one finds in their life or the things that make someone feel like their life is valuable. It refers to both mental and spiritual circumstances that make one feel
like their life has reason. 

Everyone has different ikigai. It can be a hobby, sports, grandchildren, or even pets. Ikigai as a concept can be defined as simply spending time with family, keeping up a gentle level of employment or volunteer work, or passing on knowledge
by teaching the younger generations. It’s a reason to get up in the morning, it adds shape and colour to the day, and it makes a person feel satisfied when their head hits the pillow to go to sleep. 

There are many different facets to ikigai, but there is one fundamental takeaway. Even if your present state doesn’t feel right, or you don’t feel truly valuable right now, if you seek out a strong goal, and keep striving towards
it, then you will have found your ikigai. Your reason for being. 

Ikigai isn’t just about a long and happy life. It’s about acknowledging the journey you are on and making it your own. It is about continuously trying to find what brings meaning and purpose to your life at any given time. 

If your ikigai is helping people, like Jazmin’s, then why not consider doing so by volunteering with In Great Company and giving lonely seniors a reason to stay connected?

Find out more about volunteering here.