Tuesday, February 23, 2016

52. Fika

A few themes have bubbled up in the last few days in my blog posts: political frustration and trying to escape all of it. It’s difficult to try and distance yourself. (I honestly don’t understand how people can not know who is still in and who isn’t in the presidential race.) I still look at Facebook way too much and post a vaguely political article or reference, but I don’t even want to do that anymore. It just raises my blood pressure way too much and I don’t even have fun discussing it.

I wonder why we’re so angry about everything. I strolled through Barnes & Noble during my lunch hour. A lot of the titles in the “Current Events” section got me exhausted just reading them. (I really don’t want to google them for fear of the cookies following my online browsing.) They were all talking about how awful things were and how the rapture was upon us due to the election of Barack Obama as president. I’m sure there were a number of angry liberal books, but the market for angry political books is SO much hotter than angry Democratic stuff right now. (That could change if we get President Trump or Cruz.)

But why are we so angry? Things are pretty good right now for most of us. The stock market, despite some recent fluctuations, is breaking records, the housing market is back on it’s feet, and despite media outbursts, crime is still low.

I’m not naive. I know bad things are happening. I know ISIS is dangerous and we’re doing nothing about global warming, but can we ever be happy as a country again? It feels like if you’re happy with the way things are going you’re either completely out of touch with the system or naive. It feels like it’s impossible to objectively look at things and say, “Yeah, things are going pretty well.”

I’m glad to say that things are going well for me. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while. It’s nice to have money in my checking account, friends who I care about, and interests and passions that sustain me. Shouldn’t that be enough? Does our happiness have to revolve around what greater events are happening in our country? I don’t think it should.

Of course, books and papers don’t sell if we pretend everything is rosy. But I think we can find that happiness and optimism in our media diets if we look at it a little sideways. I went through the “Staff Recommends” section and found a book called “Lost in Translation.” It was an illustrated book that showed words from different languages that don’t have a direct translation in English.

One of those words was Fika. A Swedish word that roughly means to sit down and have coffee and a heart to heart conversation with a friend. That’s one of my favorite things to do. I think I’m going to go back and purchase that book.

More fika, less fear. Let’s make that happen.

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