I stopped making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, because I could never manage to keep them. After reading much psychology, I now know that I was setting myself up for failure, by making the wrong types of resolutions. They were either too grandiose, too ambiguous, or too misaligned with my lifestyle. So here’s to trying to make the right type of New Year’s resolutions for 2019.
If you haven’t already noticed, I’m a big fan of happiness. What you might not have known is I’m also a huge fan of language. I love words and the magic they weave. Language often reveals what is important to a culture, and can be a more valuable learning experience than travel (especially if you only have time for the tourist attractions). There’s something beautiful about discovering words that exist in other languages that perfectly describe how you’re feeling. Whenever I find such a word, I feel a connection to this culture that I am not a part of and have never had the chance to encounter. Between my love for travel and my current exploration of joy, you can probably guess how excited I was when I found The Happiness Passport by Megan C. Hayes on NetGalley.
I stared up at the giant before me. This construct of wood and empty space, left open to the elements, led to a summit just outside my range of sight. I may not know what lies in wait, but I knew I only had one shot at this.
Nobody lived in the big house. At least, we had never seen a living soul enter or exit. There was a wooden fence and a huge yard that separated two one-bedroom cottages from that house. I was barely tall enough to look over the fence on tiptoes. The other side of the fence by no means forbidden; Mom would often let us play in the yard, as long as we latched the door in the fence. I still carry a scar from the one time we forgot to.
I used to see my way to the bitter end of books, even the ones I couldn’t get into. After many years, I decided life’s too short to be reading books I hate. I wouldn’t force myself to eat food I didn’t like, or spend time with people who make me a worse person, so why am I forcing myself to read books that aren’t adding value to my life? And so, I entered the world of “did not finish” books.
If you couldn’t tell from previous posts, I’m fascinated by Scandinavian culture. So I was pretty excited when I heard about The Finnish Way, by Katja Pantzar. What is sisu, and do I want it?Sisu is a mix of grit, resilience, mental toughness, practicality, and fortitude that allows people to keep going through seemingly impossible odds. The book quotes a 1940 Time magazine:
“The Finns have something they call sisu. It is a compound of bravado and bravery, of ferocity and tenacity, of the ability to keep fighting after most people would have quit, and to fight with the will to win. The Finns translate sisu as “the Finnish spirit,” but it is a much more gutful word than that.”
Reading that now, in the wake of yet another mass shooting, this time in a city not 60 miles from me that I’ve visited many times – it hits really close to home. My heart hurts for everyone affected by all these shootings, and I have so much admiration for their strength and compassion in the face of adversity.