I respect Sweden, as a country, for it’s values. Swedes are famous for their unique appreciation of style, practicality, simplicity. I truly believe that the way a country defines itself and the things it openly values are influential in shaping personal thoughts - and subsequent lifestyles.
My favorite Swedish word is lagom, a word roughly translated to ‘moderation; balance; just-right.’ The term is accompanied by a beautiful state of mind that is foreign both literally and figuratively to most Americans. Swedes believe in finding an appropriate balance with all things, shaving excess, appreciating appropriate portions. This word, because of it’s simple existance, shapes the lifestyle of Swedes all over the country. The Swedish possess less things, but truly value good quality, they take up less space, they eat smaller portions, they sip coffee out of tiny cups, and they find a healthy balance in the way their lives are executed. The philosophy of lagom is more than brilliant, reminding me of the values my mothers been expressing to me for 21 years and I can only hope will return with me permanently in the US.
That being said, the presence of this in Stockholm’s museum of modern art is no suprise either:
While lagom is appreciated greatly, so too is the concept of enjoying life’s pleasures. Sweden does not have a WalMart. Swedes do not dress in sweats. Swedes do not buy little Debbie cakes. Everything is valuable, everything is worthwhile, everything is of good quality and style. Replacing small American purchases of tshirts and junk food with the infrequent but exciting purchases of higher quality goods not only de-clutters your life but also ultimately brings more pleasure.
In adopting the Swedish lifestyle I’m learning to avoid meaningless pursuits and instead open myself up to spending money on the things that really matter— a weekend trip, a good pair of leather boots, the occasional gourmet cupcake.
Eat Sugar, Spend Money - words to live by. Just remember, not too much!