What are Goans like? Susegad I say, describing our culture. It is about savoring life, and being in the moment. About taking the time you need without worry. Enjoying feni, fish curry, rice, music, life. Yet it is also so much more.
Susegad is derived from the Portuguese word socegado, meaning quiet. For many it is inextricably linked with the laid back or relaxed cultural lifestyle of Goa, a state in India. Along with this can come the negative stereotype of Goans as lazy, lacking ambition, indolent…but, relaxed or laid back does not need to be so. Our ambition is simply tempered by finding fulfillment in the living experience of the now. The susegad concept, is contentment of/in life brought about by fulfillment in living one’s ikigai – one’s life purpose – or even the pursuit of it. (I know it is quite a mouthful, but it is difficult to describe something that the English language does not have a direct translation for.)
In our modern stress filled and hectic lives we are so busy in doing that we forget the part about experiencing life, about life having meaning, a purpose. It is illustrative I cannot find English equivalents for holistic living concepts like susegad and ikigai. If it is not part of our vocabulary it is not part of our life.
I have treasured the ikigai concept from the Japanese – it is even part of my blog title. Now I am delighted to share susegad from the Goans, from my cultural roots. These are words that force us to consider life holistically. Are there any others out there? If you have similar word concepts to share please add them by commenting on this post.