Monday, April 14, 2014

L ~ Lagom, Revisited #atozchallenge

All Aboard! "It's Very Swedish..." a train on a cultural journey through Sweden, exploring the differences big and small between American and Swedish culture.


I've written about this word before, in my 2012 series, and looking over the comments from that post, I gotta tell you it just makes me smile from ear to ear to see how many of you are still around, listening to me.  Thanks, you.  I don't want to just give you the post again, but there are some parts I think I nailed, and then I have a "where is she now" perspective.

So, to the past:

Of all the lessons I'm teaching through my postcards, this one is the lesson I've most looked forward to. The word I'm teaching you is probably THE most famously in-translatable word in Swedish. 

What word am I talking about? LAGOM.
Pronunciation: la + gum. The la is as in lalalalala I'm not listening. Gum? You chew it.

Translation: This is where it gets tricky. It takes more than just a few words. It takes an entire fairy tale to do the translation justice. Hence the postcard.

In the Goldilocks and The Three Bears story, our heroine explores the house of mama bear, papa bear, and baby bear. Wherever she goes, there is only one of the three choices which satisfies her. Only one of them is “lagom”. I suppose if I had to put a definition on it in just a few words, they would be, “just about right.” Don't you think a word in English with this meaning might be very useful?

Today, I am struggling mightily for a lagom.  A balance.  A "it's just about right" in how much time I spend on my writing pursuits, and how much time I spend being a wife, mom, friend, sister, daughter, aunt, etc.

It's not an easy juggle, even if you have THE right word to describe it.  It's no secret that co-hosts of this Challenge are stretched mightily thin with ALL the blogs to visit, blogs in our specific assigned section to mentor, our chosen "jobs" as part of the engine that makes this whole crazy train keep rolling, and then comments we long to return, and emails that keep rolling in.

I love it all.  I am a person who thrives on leadership and tasks all lined up, organized, assigned, and checked off the list.  However, it's not about me.  It's about a huge community event, and sometimes I lose the "lagom" amount that I can realistically do, and try to do it all.  

I had a different word for today.  It was Lördagsgodis, the Swedish tradition to buy a small bag of candy for your kids on Saturday.  The Swede said, "You are writing about lagom, aren't you?"  I decided I needed to. Even if it's just a reminder to me that balance, the "just about right" of work, family and fun is what keeps it all moving.

What is your biggest struggle in finding the perfect balance?  How do you make it all work?

~Tina, who hopes you're finding the lagom in your life


Anonymous said...

What a magnificent word! How difficult it is to find this "Lagom" in life :-( Just gotta keep trying, though! Thanks for sharing some of this interesting culture; I've really been enjoying reading your A to Z.

jetgirlcos visiting via Forty, c'est Fantastique

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

I love your word choice, love the word lagom. The English language is lacking when it comes to words that describe "specifically." Last week, I was finishing up a "Flat Mary" journal, posting AtoZ articles, and preparing for a week-end library open house. A lagom schedule plan might have come in handy.
Gail visiting for AtoZ

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tina .. 'just about right' is a good way at looking at life in hairy scary times .. I just congratulate all you Co-hosts of the Challenge - for keeping it "lagom" - you do wonders for us ..

Have a good "lagom" week .. with life getting easier in a few areas .. cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Stretched mighty thin - that's an apt description.
I just prepare for a month of unbalance. I'm aware there will be very little lagom going on in April.
I did actually sit down and write two thousand words this weekend. First real writing since the Challenge began and it was needed.

Jo said...

I don't have as much to balance as some of you do, especially being a wife and mother, so mostly I am OK. Maybe I am an example of lagom. Good word, I too like it.

CA Heaven said...

Lagom is a great word, one of my favorite Swedish words, together with "grymt" and "hur bra som helst" >:)

Cold As Heaven

Andrea said...

Oh, we're supposed to make it all work....hmmmmmm... ;)

A Beer for the Shower said...

I love this word. On the other side of that, there's a fantastic Native American word, "koyaanisqatsi" (pronounced koy-ahn-iss-KAT-see"), that means a life out of balance.

For a good balance, I just need to remember not to neglect my social life, which is easy to do as a writer. Then I get in a crappy mood, and forget that it's because I haven't seen daylight in a full week. Or people.

Kate @ Another Clean Slate said...

I think this is my new favorite word!

Anonymous said...

From my perch, first kudos for all you do and are. You give out such positive (if sometimes forceful and frantic) vibes, Tina. It is no surprise so many readers have journied with you for awile! Secondly, the 40s are the hardest decade for lagum - raising kids, height of career, peaking physical abilities, changing hormones, ... You name it and chances are you are dealing with it in your 40s. I promise lagum becomes more realistic in future decades. Aging does have some advantages, and lagum is at the top of the

loverofwords said...

Lagom is hard for me, but I love the word. Life is a balancing act. PS Since IKEA is just minutes away, I can buy the Kaviar and herring in sour cream (my favorite).

Unknown said...

Thanks for language lesson.
I think I have things balanced then something changes here, or there. It's all good, it will work for the best. Unless it is Jenga we are talking about then I'm screwed!

Nicole Pyles said...

Balance is rough - I am struggling to find a balance between blogging and writing AND my job and family stuff. I try to take time for each and sometimes some things will be neglected, just hopefully not the people who care about me.

Laura Clipson said...

I struggle a lot with balance, although I tend to find that if I plan things out in advance I do better.

JoJo said...

I am trying to balance seems like I had more time when I was working full time. The internet has started to really take over my life. On the other hand, I enjoy it.

Rachel said...

Trying to find balance while living as an adult for the first time is harder than I expected. I have to balance out cleaning and cooking and school (which may need to take the back burner while I learn my new job) and my new job. There aren't enough hours in the day for everything if I also want to eat, sleep, bathe, and spend any time with my boyfriend. And now I added the Challenge to it because I needed something to have a few minutes a day to write, just to relax and breath, though keeping up with comments is near impossible from my phone. I suppose time and learning are the only ways to find lagum for bein an adult.

Susan Scott said...

May the Lagom be with you Tina. Yes, it's hard finding a balance in among the juggling ..
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