Is true happiness possible in times like this?

Is true happiness possible in times like this?

These are trying times. With many people in lockdown, this is a major drain on our mental health. Even when life hasn’t changed that much, like Tom’s and mine, it is obvious that the mere fact we can’t do as we please causes discomfort and confusion.

Is true happiness possible in times like this? I think it is, but let’s be honest and realistic – it asks for more effort.

Effort? Isn’t being happy not just something you are or are not?

Many people who struggle in life often belittle happiness and like to claim that true happiness is not even possible at all. Trying times or not. 

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Japan, a country at Old Age

Japan, a country at Old Age - Kishie Yoshida
This is Kishie Yoshida (1912). She worked in a velveteen factory from age 12 through 25. Married at 25 and got 4 children. In her married life she worked with her husband, buying and selling produce from the countryside. She is in 2013 still strong enough to weed the garden and sweep the floor.

What can we learn from a country at old age such as Japan? Japan is a very encouraging and inspiring example. It’s the country with the highest life expectancy rate in the world. Moreover, in 2033 a third of the Japanese will be 65 and over.

Already in 1980 Japan was ‘an aged society’. In 2005 Japan surpassed Italy and became the country with the highest amount of people aged 65 and over. Japan really is at old age. Which means that Japan has a lot of experience with aging. How does it cope and what can we learn?

Old Age Demographics

To be able to learn from Japan as a nation at Old Age, some background information is relevant. In Japan live just over 126 million people. This is 334 people per square kilometer (Netherlands: 417,8; UK: 270,7; China: 145; USA: 33,6). Life expectancy between men and women differs substantially, respectively 79,4 to 85,9 years. As a result, in the age group 75 and over, for every 10 men there are 16 women.

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