What on Earth is Lagom?
You may ask yourself this kind of question on a regular basis these days as language seems to be changing at lightening speed. With all the new abbreviations such as with initialism 'BTW' meaning 'by the way', completely new jargon or new trends, it is hard to keep abreast with what people are trying to say, what is real and what is invented.
'Lagom' is up for inspection this time. First, have you heard the word/concept 'Hyyge'? If you have never heard of it by ear, though you may actually have come across it in reading but didn't know how to pronounce it, let alone reuse it or understand it. Although it has been around for many many years in Denmark as a concept for cosy and contented well being and has filtered through to us over the last number of years by way of a trend. A new fashion concept for living and a driving factor for selling lifestyle goods. Well, Lagom is a sister trend by my reckoning but from Sweden.
It is has it's detractors too. I just read a very interesting 4 year old article by Richard Orange in The Guardian
An Interesting View on the Swedish Concept of Lagom
This article threw up a very interesting point of view into the mix of otherwise positive reactions to it. In fact, I only really noticed the Swedish concept of Lagom recently. I am not sure which way to go with my blog.. I understand and fully appreciate Richard's aversion to the 'trending' and misrepresentation of a concept for living in order to sell the next rug or candle holder. This is also a concept and a philosophy of life he has not and would not like to embrace let alone jump on the trending bandwagon that was. Let me explain how the Swedish Concept Lagom seems to me from what I can decipher.
Lagom Swedish Meaning
Lagom is a philosophy of life practiced by many Swedes. It seems to have many subtle nuances and various levels of adherence or popularity. It is based around the philosophy that aims to balance in every area and juncture of everyday life.
The aim is to keep everything in balance, moderation, perfect in it's simplicity. This sounds to me a good place to start as long as it is not a stand alone philosophy by which to live. Richard Orange reckons it's origins come from frugal Lutherism I think. I don't have his experience or understanding of Lutherism so shall not judge that.
Whereas this is a philosophy that has been around and widely practiced in Sweden it seems by the fact of adopting it elsewhere as a trend for shopping and selling it changed into something it wasn't.
There have been searches galore made for 'lagom scandinavia', 'lagom meaning', 'lagom swedish meaning' and 'swedish concept of lagom', among others.There are and have been many people asking the same questions. To my mind it is good to take what you like from any philosophy if it makes sense in order to help to create a good life and help to have a greater understanding of the life you are living.
The Swedish Concept of Lagom May Well Be Swedish
..But aiming for balance is in everyone's interest to my mind. Not overbearing all consuming over the top puritanical approach balance but an easy balance when it is available.
Humans seem often to take an all or nothing approach to things. It drives me mad. I do it too sometimes and that seldom comes out well.
I read this online somewhere. I would give the link if I could find it again...
'Fill Your Home With Lagom'
1) Live sustainably...good idea
2) Live a healthier life - more balance.. getting there..
3) Be Kind..try to be...
4) Be Organised...hmmm
5) Balanced Eating...hmmm
6) Buy less stuff.....yup..
7) Save then spend...trying to..
8) Reminder - Balance ebbs and flows.....definitely
9) Work/Life balance....tricky...
So roughly translated Lagom means just the right amount. Grand. We are already doing it but we don't call it a trend or a single philosophy with one trendy word. By making it a concept it concentrates the mind and helps to explain what you mean in one word without having to go into the whole thing every time. The Swedish concept of Lagom is interesting to me from a philosophical point of view and better when added to or blended with many more concepts.