The narrow path versus the narrow life | Day 152 of my 2023 Journal
I am from a welfare state.
I am from a country crowned as the happiest in the world.
I am visiting now in the beautiful beaming summertime. I see the healthy people, the bicycles, the organic food in the shops, the bicycle helmets on the children, the sleek Scandinavian design, the smooth traffic, and the clean air.
Copenhagen is hip and well-adjusted. People make money. And spend it. They are well-dressed and efficient. Universities are free; the metro is new.
Everything is working.
But there is something rotten in The state of Denmark, as Shakespeare pointed out almost five hundred years ago.
I find it complicated to name it, but I think I have a headline now. It is about the contrast between the narrow life and the narrow path.
The narrow path is about the Truth. (I know it is a Christian term, but can you please get over that?) The narrow path is about The Truth. Walking the narrow path is living the life we are here to live, about daring to do what we find right even when it is in contrast to what goes on on the highway of Mainstream. It can sometimes be seriously narrow, as in you think you might not make it, but here we are. Walking anyway. Doing “other” stuff, living “alternatively.”
Our home country of social security, medical care, and free education is also a country of following rules and obeying a narrow idea of normal. It is a country where you can have a high-functioning life if you WANT to work 37 hours a week on weekdays daytime and leave your children in daycare and public education, have a mortgage, and retire at 65.
But there is no wiggle room.
In the allegedly most equal country, mothers have to work 37h as well; everyone has to follow the narrow life option and do as the neighbor. You can not really work nights unless you are a doctor (because doctors are the new gods, so we make room for them), you can not choose to work half-time if you want to use your brain, you can not thrive as an artist, because no-one will pay for you unless you are on the payroll of the state, and really: That is rarely an option.
The nudging is extreme!
I sometimes tell myself this: If I do what is hard (make my way through the narrow path of doing what I find right despite all systems around me), my life becomes easy (as in I am happy and present and know I am on track in my life).
If I instead do what is easy (as in following the rules and the nudging and the mainstream), my life becomes hard (I will be depressed and stressed and lost to a world of consumerism and showing off).
Denmark, I do love you. But we need to change the track; something is wrong, and moving in the wrong direction. We need space for crazy; we need wiggle room for everyone; we need to break down normal and slow down, maybe even cancel mainstream.
We do not have to cancel taking care of each other; we have to make sure we don’t become narrow-minded, hyped up about mainstream, and self-righteous.
Love and light
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