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.