During the past decade I’ve been writing about wellbeing inspired by my natural and cultural surroundings on a small out-of-the-way island in Sweden. The truth is that I never expected that an island that is about 400 meters from one side to the other and built upon barren pebbles could give birth to all of the books, columns, blogs and other projects that I have produced during all of these years. However, inspiration crops up where you least expect it, and when I found that several of Stockholm’s historical buildings were constructed with sand brought in from this now-derelict sand-mining spot in Mälaren, I concluded that it seemed to be a place that gave rise to things (no pun intended).
What did I ask myself and discover amid the silence and the spruce? After a harried, high-speed career as a management consultant in no particular place, I stood on this small speck of earth and asked myself: What is a good life in the 21st century? What does wellbeing mean now and into the future? As I pulled out the weeds, chased the hares from my cabbage patch and listened to the woodpecker chinking away at my proud Swedish flagpole, I began to gain a perspective on what we’re missing in our highly practical technology-age schedules: space (mental, emotional and physical) and time. Not only that, I began to feel that the modern yet nature-oriented Scandinavian culture that I had come to live amidst during the mid-1990s offered its very own philosophical and practical solutions to our modern wellbeing dilemmas. I began to write about them and gave them the collective title, Nordic Wellbeing™.
So what am I doing here at The Local taking up more of your space and time? Today I divide my time between my rocky, stony hermitage and an island considerably closer to the center of things. I spend time in the Tunnelbana (subway), I rush to meetings and, several times a day, I am accosted by people trying to sell me things that I don’t want to buy. Suddenly, as a result of this change in my own life, I see the acute need for 21st century ‘islands’ where we can share thoughts and perspectives about what it means to live well in our times. This is perhaps less for our own sake than for future generations (can you tell that I am a mother of young twins?). Still, this isn’t an unselfish blog – it’s about our lives too.
A warm welcome to Julie’s Nordic Island at The Local. Let us create an island that we believe in right here.
My other islands:
www.nordicwellbeing.com – the world’s first e-magazine for wellbeing with Nordic inspiration.
www.julielindahl.com – my personal pages
My book (of which there is an upcoming sequel): “On My Swedish Island: Discovering the Secrets of Scandinavian Wellbeing” (Tarcher Penguin, 2005), available at www.amazon.com and other online bookstores in Sweden and elsewhere.