Saturday, March 27, 2021

Are we really happy?

This is a post about the myth behind the happiest country in the world: Finland.

Once again, Finland has been declared the happiest country in the world, based on the low corruption, working healthcare, the way our government dealt with COVID-19, welfare, and so on.

With 74,2% of the territory covered in forest, it's not difficult to understand that Finns are literally surrounded by nature, and the woods are the places where they find refuge. Finns are not social animals or not as much as people in other countries could be. It's a very individualistic society, which brings people to keep their distances from each other even without the risk posed by the pandemic

People in Finland do not enjoy being close to other people, particularly if they are not close family members. It wasn't any action taken by the government the reason behind the low contagion; it's because of the Finns' way of living. To be honest, our government received many criticisms for its clumsy way of dealing with the pandemic. Loneliness, darkness, long winters bring two problems every year, suicide and chronic depression. 715 people suicide yearly. In 2018, over 6000 people between the age of 16 -24  were declared unfit for work because of chronic depression (and this is not taking into account those who suffer from depression in older age). 

Their number is destined to grow.

Natality has also reached a screeching halt, people don't see life as something worth giving, and the uncertainties seem to bring people to that decision. It's not an economic problem to stop Finns from having children; it's the fear of having them dying by suicide or falling into the spiral of depression and alcoholism or drug abuse.

Now to the question, are we, the Finns, really happy? And why are we?

Happiness is a weird concept and changes meaning depending on who you ask. Finns are indeed happy because they can connect to nature around them. They know that after a long, dark winter comes the summer, and with the changes of seasons, the forest offers food for the body and the spirit, and Finns rely on that healing power, despite the statistics. They also have been taught since a young age not to complain and see the positive things in life. If you can't find them, then it's time to work harder to get them. They trust law enforcement and governmental institutions, and so far, their trust met very few disappointments. This is the reason why, when you ask a Finn: are you happy? Even if the world is collapsing, they will answer yes.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Spring time, time for...

 Generally, we would say that Spring time it's an excellent time for cleanings. The new season is a sort of second  New Year, when we go through the spaces of our homes, clean, and declutter from all those things we'd accumulated during the rest of the year.

I don't know whether for you it's the same, but every Spring, when I start decluttering, I am amazed by the number of things I've accumulated since that last clearing. Although I go twice a year through the storage, trying to free my house from what's useless or obsolete, during the Spring cleanings, I always find many things to bring either to the recycling or straight to the garbage.

My promises of not accumulating things fail every year miserably, and I think I can attribute this, mainly, to my own laziness, but also to the lack of time and the increasing stress caused by work schedules and writing commitments.

This year, Springtime seems to be a bit late on her schedule; therefore, the decluttering and cleaning season will start with a couple of weeks delay. 

Unless the weather takes a sharp turn to higher temperatures and the snow we are still (not)enjoying will finally melt away, I don't see this coming this weekend.

Spring also means switching to daylight saving time. Now, at least, here in Europe, this was supposed to be the last year we would have switched our clocks forward and backward, but with this Corona crisis, those issues had been placed on the backburner. As for me, I always hated changing my clock, especially in March.

Helsinki isn't blessed with more than four hours of sunlight a day during the winter, and as soon as I can appreciate the lengthening of the days, my mood reaches the stars. I wake up at six every morning to reach my office at half past six. Presently, I wake up with the daylight, then suddenly, from one day to another, I am brought back to waking up in the darkness for another week. If this isn't a good reason to despise the daylight saving system, I don't know what it could be.

According to the latest news, we should quit this madness next year and, believe me, I can't wait!

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