Friday, April 13, 2012

LAGOM


I've got to put the Curmudgeon
label on this one

Just this morning I noticed that I’d better wash one of the shelves on the door of my refrigerator.  I suppose I should wash the whole fridge more often than I do.  I know I’ve written before that for years my Mother cleaned her fridge every Thursday – every Thursday!  She also had a regular schedule for washing the kitchen floors, doing the bathrooms top to bottom, washing whatever walls weren’t wall-papered, doing all the drapes and curtains, not to mention the regular dusting and vacuuming, making the beds, and doing the cooking and laundry. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing about it, but this is just what most women did years ago. You might see it as a decline in standards, but I see it as an increase in choices. 

The lifestyle choices we have today have made a hash of centuries of status quo.  Over the years the fashions changed, new worlds were discovered, wars were waged, but men’s and women’s roles in society, how they lived and how they worshiped, were pretty fixed. Not today! The decrease in church attendance can be attributed to more choices for what to do on a Sunday morning. Choices for what to do on a weekday, from furthering their education to getting a bit of retail therapy, have lead women out of the house, and into whatever they want to do. I’m all for not cleaning my fridge every Thursday and going to a museum instead.

All this is well and good, but I’ve never seen gals as busy as some of these young Moms. Were I a Mom today, I might think that yesteryear-housewife’s schedule serene. Where today’s choices have opened up, so have choices for the children’s schooling and pastimes. And this means the Moms are constantly on the go, bringing the kids hither and yon. And the wide open choices also lead to multiple family cars, and a garage packed with sports equipment for the whole family. And the whole family is rarely together because they’ve got so many choices of what to do, and meals have be fast food eaten on the run. And all of this stuff leads to packed credit card balances, AND, I’d guess indigestion at an early age.

All of this leads me to a word I only recently heard: lagom. The Swedish live by this word that means ‘just enough.’ The Swedish, and probably much of the rest of the world, generally believe that all of us Americans want to be Number One, the best, and have the best and the most of everything. I’d say that not all of us want that, but relatively few Americans would care to live by ‘lagom’. Look at any fashion, family, or ‘shelter’ magazine and you are exhorted to get with the times and update everything from your wardrobe to your décor to your kitchen dishes, and to make sure your kids are germ free and equipped with the latest in toys and technology. If you like to keep up with the Joneses you go out and buy, buy, buy, and soon your stuff has stuff. * 

And, and, and, and… my thoughts on all this excess seem to go round and round. Where will it all end?



I've got a great collection of the best of my favorite Sunday comics.
This one is "Rose is Rose" from April 1, 1990. 
I don't know if I'd say 'mediocrity', but 'lagom' would be apt.

Again I quote Aristotle - or whoever it was:
"The wise man achieves balance by reducing his needs to the level of his possessions."

* if your stuff has stuff see my blog entry here.




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