Days Around Here

The people of Finland have now elected their 12th president and all is well in the republic. During the campaign the candidates were accused of being too friendly to each other and agreeing too much with each other on everything. Someone even made a study of the ways in which they started their sentences on TV debates and apparently the most common phrases used were ‘you have a very good point there’, ‘I agree with you very strongly on that one’ etc. I thought it was very enjoyable to see the two discussing important issues with such a determination to work on the same problems. Of course it was just for the campaign, they were trying very hard not to offend anyone in order not to lose any votes.

In the nordic cultures conversations are very much centered around conformity. Finns do that, Swedes do it even more, at least Finns like to joke about Swedes having endless meetings with endless talk, whereas Finns are more often seen as the silent types who keep repressing their feelings until they fall apart. Those are of course stereotypes, but maybe there is a seed of truth in those caricatures at least in certain personality types if not characteristics of the whole culture. Still, I think we all agree (see, again we all agree) that having meaningful conversations does not come easy. Either we agree on everything and try really hard not to say anything that the other person disagrees on, or we start arguing. I wish I had more time for endless talks. Seems like too often my days go into running around correcting all the mistakes and fixing all the misunderstandings that I’ve made during the previous days when I had to run around in order to manage to do everything I had to do that day. Why is it that we people misunderstand and judge each other so easily? I think the best conversations are the ones when ideas flow freely and there doesn’t seem to be any point or end at all, but they still seem to make us stronger and better human beings. In those conversations you feel you can freely voice any ideas whatsoever without the fear of being judged, labeled, controlled or boxed. You can even keep changing your opinion without anyone wondering about it. See, I don’t think there is anything perfect in this world, except maybe a lazy afternoon or a snowflake. We all have flaws even though we all are so desperately trying to find someone perfect to look up to and stand up for.

I saw many people blogging about what people regret before dying. People said that they wished that they hadn’t worked so much and they also wished that they would’ve been able to enjoy the moment. I see those things as points in a continuum, not two sides of the coin. Maybe if we worked a bit less and found it in ourselves to enjoy also those moments. Every now and then you can read in magazines about people who have jumped off the treadmill, but not everyone can do that, the society will always need its teachers and doctors and so on. Maybe giving yourself time is just about our attitude towards things – the ability to find it in yourselves to enjoy the moment, and not think about the next thing you have to do, and to be able to forgive each other the fact that we are not without faults.

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22 thoughts on “Days Around Here

  1. Wise words, indeed, Annika (and beautiful photos, too!). If I may share something personal (but hopefully relevant) – it wasn’t until I experienced the death of someone very close to me that I saw, in that moment, that what is truly important in life is not the material things/money, but how you have been as a person, and the impact you have had on the world around you.

  2. Ian says:

    Very interesting Annika and great pics.

    Ian

  3. Thank you again for a stimulating insight. I particularly loved ….” the best conversations are the ones when ideas flow freely and there doesn’t seem to be any point or end at all, but they still seem to make us stronger and better human beings. In those conversations you feel you can freely voice any ideas whatsoever without the fear of being judged, labeled, controlled or boxed.” There is nothing as liberating as freedom from judgement, labeling, control or boxing … for allowing creativity to flow. If I want it, then I need to give it to others … Nancy Kline makes a good point with Time to Think …http://www.timetothink.com/uk/ … and maybe your politicians can create a new way of politics that is based on the higher good for all … not personal advantage if they truly are listening to each other! Am I dreaming??
    As for regrets, for me, the saddest is not to feel wanted or needed. It is not how much or how little but for whom that makes the difference. It is not coincidental that the very things that block a good conversation, block our relationships and are the cause of heartsore regrets.

  4. Thomas Paris says:

    You should hear the politicians here… All they will tell you is how wrong the other side is :( They’re all so despicable that for the first time in my life I’m considering not voting this year (two important elections). And I’m angry at them for making me considering it. If only they could work together to try and find solutions instead of just throwing dirt at each other…

  5. kt11 says:

    Love the first photo. Nice work.

  6. hellenjc says:

    Lovely photos and sentiment.. Living in the now is something we should try to do at least for a little time each day :)

  7. Annie Greenwood says:

    Beautifully put, Annika. Life is so busy that sometimes the simple, pure reasons we are living get lost. Thank you again for wonderful, thoughtful words.

  8. itssrijana says:

    when ever i see your new post i just forget to read … your photos are so beautiful its hard not to be held captive by them ..

  9. Dear Annika, I enjoy your thoughtful words, beautifully written, as much as your photographs, which are transporting. Thanks so much for giving me the occasion to slow down and enjoy the moment!

  10. munchow says:

    A very thoughtful text. Looking at your pictures I start thinking if it’s a wonder that Scandinavians (yes, also Norwegians do it – but maybe a little less the Danish) so much agree with each other. When it comes to politics I think it’s nicer than the ugly attack we find in US political campaigns. Open and free flowing conversation where everybody would be willing to listen to arguments is quite something. Love your pictures. You made me enjoy the moment.

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