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I'm currently on a flight home from my second trip to Japan, a wonderful country! It is so incredible that I start thinking it's in some sort of Marvel-like multiverse, but instead of villains and superheroes there are pudgy cats and fluffy little animals.

Looking out the window I can see only a dim red light flashing on the wing and I expect that at any moment the light of some Dr Strange-style portal will appear to take me back to the good old Europe.

Not being able to sleep and not being at all interested in the slides of the Mitsubishi presentation that the guy sitting in front of me is working on (corporate secrecy above all), I find myself making some considerations about the choices that have led me to embark on a new course of study and become a Sport Therapist.

We are the choices we make

The choices that each of us makes affect our entire lives: it is an important concept, but at the same time difficult to accept, because it means taking responsibility for your own choices.

Once upon a time there were "pub talk" discussions, today it is enough to open social networks to realize how much easier it is to blame others for one's fate: government policies, too low salaries, colleagues who row against... They are generic examples, but wanting to get into the specifics of my job, the same happens when clients do not follow the rehabilitation program or skip training because "they gave me a task to complete at work", "it was raining and it was cold", "there was the transport strike", "my bicycle broke down and I was unable to go to the gym". These are all respectable reasons that actually determine the circumstances in which we find ourselves, but they do not determine our choices. Indeed, we are the ones who choose how to react to these circumstances, that are in some way imposed on us by social/environmental factors, and design our lives.

It is here that my considerations peep out, on what the Japanese call Ikigai.

Ikigai and its purpose

Ikigai is an abstract concept, you can't see or touch it, you live it. The Japanese word Ikigai comes from the term "iki", life, and "gai", reason. For the Japanese, Ikigai is what gives you the strength to get up every morning and carry on despite life's difficulties. It means "finding happiness through purpose".

After 10 hours of flight and about 5 more to go, I'm certainly not here wondering what the purpose of my whole life is, but having to go back to work in a couple of days I am actually asking myself some questions about the career choices I have made and how they are going:

"Am I good enough at my job?

Do I have the knowledge I need to do my job well?

How can I improve?

How can I make the most of physical activity and manual therapy to help my clients achieve THEIR goal?"

I ask myself this because the choices made in recent years have defined what my professional skills are today, and every day they affect the path taken by my clients towards the achievement of their goals. Their aim is to achieve a goal, mine is to ensure that this happens safely and efficiently so that the goals achieved can be maintained over time, also after the end of our journey together.

Do I have answers to all these questions? Just some. However, I know one thing: I am very happy with the work I do, I have found my professional Ikigai.

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