Press play on your dreams, celebrate living with fresh eyes and spirit

The pandemic literally paused our lives. In ways that we cannot quantify into words, our lives were altered, our priorities reshuffled, our dreams paused. In those two years of COVID- 19 pandemic, many of us lost loved ones or didn’t get to see them, lost our jobs or had our income interrupted if we were lucky enough to keep it.

FWD Life Philippines

But it was not all gloom.

For every person who paused, there are also those who “pressed play.” In our collective despair, there were silver linings.  

Small businesses sprouted in neighborhoods. New entrepreneurs were born. Creative ways to earn a living—cooking, delivering grocery items to homes and selling online—showed us that people’s spirits were not completely broken.

We also began to see with crystal-clear eyes what was and what is truly important to us—like our health. While working from home, people began to pay attention to their physical health and even their mental health. They watched what they are, tended to their gardens to enjoy fresh air, took every opportunity to walk and run outdoors when protocols permitted.

These tough times have actually gifted us with new understanding, a fresher perspective, and a braver spirit. We know now what’s important and with the world resuming its normal rhythm, we are ready to “press play.” It’s time to celebrate this precious gift again—of being able to pursue our dreams and be fearless.

FWD Life Insurance, whose goal is to help people celebrate living, is marking the world’s restart with its “Press play” campaign. FWD searched all over Asia for people who have “pressed play”—six inspiring stories of stepping forward and embracing what truly makes them happy and whole. 

Kouda is a 73-year-old Japanese snowboarder (yes, 73!) who overcame his fear of the cold. Pressing play on courage, he teaches us that age is really just a number. FWD filmed him snowboarding on his favorite slopes in Japan and having the time of his life. “Snowboarding teaches you many important things, like it’s never too late to become what you want to be,” Kouda says.

Age is also a number for Hui Mann of Hong Kong, 66, who started playing the drums only six years ago when she was 60. “I have dreamed of playing the drums since I was young. And now I get to do it. I feel very young at heart,” she says.

Two women left their corporate jobs to pursue their passions. Evelyn, a Singaporean who moved to Thailand is a former office worker and now a chef who teaches people how to eat healthy and live sustainably. Pau Javier—31-year-old Filipina and a former current affairs producer for TV and independent filmmaker—is now a potter.

Pau started the Wabi-Sabi Studio with her sister after the problematic switch to remote production took a toll on her mental health.  She pressed play on her prioritizing what made her happy by turning her pottery hobby into a business. “I am proof that we all can shape the work-life balance we dream about,” she says.

Jakatae, from Thailand, is a former construction worker who had always dreamt of going back to his rural life to plant, grow and sell coffee and bananas. And he did just that.

Zuhayr is a young Malaysian student who loves going to school and making new friends. The pandemic paused schooling for children, but now that the pandemic is over, he gets to be with his friends again and make new ones, go to school and play outside.

FWD filmed in Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and other places to bring us what it calls its “most authentic campaign yet, and to inspire us all to seize the day, press play on our dreams, and celebrate living.”

FWD’s Press Play is a campaign that speaks to our hearts directly. It is inspired by FWD’s DNA and brand promise: Celebrate living. In turn, it inspires us to action.

Maybe like Kouda you’ve always wanted to feel the cold wind in your face as you snowboard downhill but were always afraid to try. Or maybe like Evelyn, you’ve always wanted to leave your office life to learn to cook for a living. 

Now is the time to make your dreams come true or make new ones after years of having to pause. It’s time to say yes to life once more. The adventures of a lifetime awaits!

Press play on your dreams, passions, health and finances. Watch the film here.