The Danes are down with the blues. And it may just be this that contributes to them being declared the happiest nation on earth. Luckily happiness spawns industry and we can now read all about how and why. So that now sitting on the book shelf of The Naughty Nunnery is The Danish Way of Parenting: A Guide To Raising The Happiest Kids in the World.
I've not read much yet, but the little I have gave me a lot. Chiefly: That one of the reasons the Danes are so happy is because they're not afraid to be unhappy.
Rather then sugar coat the world as perfect and lovely, they tell it as it is. And they do this a lot through stories. So that Hans Christian Andersen didn't have his mermaid marrying the prince; in the original version the mermaid dies, “dissolving into foam” on the ocean.
I'm guessing that somewhere along the way someone at Disney decided that this was much too depressing and so of course we have the ending we do with the Little Mermaid waving merrily goodbye to all who she loves as she sets sail with her Prince. And yet, if you go to the original version there you see a writer talking directly to parents and children about death and the question of immortality.
Big themes that most of us will pass through life hoping we never truly have to question.
But what if we did? What would that mean for our anxiousness and depressions and sadnesses and grief? What would it mean for our ability to be happy? This may not last forever... and so whilst it does... may I appreciate the extraordinary chance to be alive. Instead of wanting something that is just not in the nature of life to give: to always be happy & for things to stay the same.
So I am writing this sitting at the bottom of a corn field with dog by my feet. Little Human is at nursery which is a 20minute drive (I can't quite bring myself to admit some mornings it’s more like 25minutes) from home. So if I want to be mildly productive then there’s no point in going home as soon enough I’ll just be turning back to go and collect her.
So I have driven around with dog looking for a foot path where I could walk him and we came to one plunged with puddles knee deep. At the end of which was this corn field, where we loped around the outer rim before sitting down to stare at some nettles whilst a fawn stands watching us fifty metres away (why do all deer watch?). I am inwardly begging him to soar away as I distract Bongo with soft coos and rubs behind his ear. He knows something is up and is looking around but has not yet spotted fawn. Leap I plead. Leap. But fawn stays motionless. Standing. Staring. And so I have to somehow coo to my dog lovingly whilst at the same time making loud enough noises that fawn gets the message: go! Finally he does and I let go of dog and I think of the Danes and I look around and realise that here is both the time and the space to write and meditate and walk. You can’t say that about many offices.
So I scrunch up some of the straw scattered around to place underneath my bottom and get comfy and the sun is sparkling through the leaves and I practice for the 21minutes after which I type a story on my phone and then we carry on and walk.
So now I've found the time. Or rather time found me.
Life it seems, gives us no excuses.
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