Monday, July 23, 2012

Lagom (I Just Can Get Enough).

Taken at The Study Hotel, New Haven CT

Ah, these endless summer nights. And days. I know that I promised to be more prolific, but so many things have been calling for my attention, it has been nearly impossible. Business first. I would like to thank my dearest Blighty for honoring me with an award! The Liebster! Look!

I am sorry it has taken me so long to claim it! I know that I have to pass it on, and I promise I will, soon...please don't overwhelm me! But Blighty....XOXOXOXOXOXO!

Also: A big THANK YOU to Lily Tequila at Wishbone Soup for this:

I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy! But I will work on it.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.

I've just discovered that I am Swedish at heart. No, I don't really like herring, and lack of darkness would make me ill (want to know what a Swedish midnight looks like?? It looks like noon.) It is the Swedish concept, nay, LIFE MOTTO, that I feel a great kinship to. Lagom. Here is a good description of it, from LexioPhiles.

In Sweden it is a commonly understood and often discussed topic that the citizens are striving to achieve a state of “lagom.” Lagom can be defined as normal or in moderate balance, but it also has an undertone of “not too much or too little” as well as “just right” or “just enough,” meaning one is standardized to the central norms of a society. Swedes are very proud of this term that has become so fundamentally integrated into the Swedish culture and cannot easily be translated. All example translations have either a positive or negative undertone, while lagom has none. It is a completely neutral word, which connotation is decided by the user. Lagom is neither being excessive nor sparse but looking/feeling/being at the perfect equilibrium right in between.
In one word, lagom describes the essential and elementary basis of the Swedish national psyche, which is one of consensus and equality. It is still widely considered ideal to be modest and avoid extremes. The concept of lagom is similar to that of the Middle Path in Eastern philosophy, and Aristotle's "golden mean" of moderation in Western philosophy. Swedes generally consider their lagom ideology as a good thing, although sometimes the saying ‘lagom och svensk’ (lagom and Swedish) implies drab, colorless and perhaps boring; while ‘lagom är bäst’ (lagom is best) means moderation, balance and the wisdom of defining the best possible course of action between two extremes.

Nice, right? I was first introduced to the idea of lagom while preparing for a trip to Stockholm six years ago. It wasn't until I arrived in the city (one of the most beautiful places I have so far had the honor of visiting) that I really began to sense what was meant. Everything - the architecture, the food, the actions of people, the way food was arranged in the market - somehow was perfect. This perfection was the culmination of nothing more than knowing when to stop. 
I want to try to incorporate the philosophy into my life a bit more, and especially in the lives of my children. I think just knowing when to say when, now more than ever, is critical. Whether it is in talking about religion or politics (especially in an election year), writing a blog post, eating cookies, taking a shower, walking the dog, it is important to do everything in moderation. As is being thankful for what we have, when so many have nothing. 


  1. Congrats on receiving the awards. I can hear "Take a chance on me."

  2. Dude, I can't believe I'm listening to Richard Marx and thoroughly enjoying it. Somehow perfect. Weirdly.

    Mags, I love the idea of lagom. I love that you've written a post about it.

    Congrats on the blog awards, love.

    Love love love,
    Your forever broccoli.

  3. Moderation, as my physician father always advised, is key. Congrats on your blogger awards !!

  4. Congrats.

    Super-achievers need to acquire some designed-to-save-energy attitudes. Everything isn't a hot potato or a necessity~ & non-urgency, properly applied, can be a beatiful thing too. Non-human animals are good at all of this, with their wisdom distilled from millions of years of Darwinian instincts.

  5. we could all use more lagom in our lives. (and now i will be hearing 'take a chance on me' in my brain all day long.... haha)

    good to see you back, maggie.