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A new beginning

Our family has recently moved from the city of Copenhagen, Denmark, to the boondocks of Sweden. People often ask us why. We usually say things like “we wanted to be closer to nature” or “Eva’s twin sister moved with her family first, and we wanted to be closer to the family”. We have also heard ourselves say something along the line of “let’s see how long it lasts, maybe we’ll move back soon.” But the real truth to why we moved, we rarely say. Because somehow it seemed a bit embarrassing that we were not satisfied with what we had.

We had checked all the right boxes, my wife and I. We had two wonderful children, jobs in attractive positions, a nice and beautiful home. There was even a little green garden strip and a fairly new car outside our apartment. I had been running the half marathon that is mandatory for men my age, and my wife had fulfilled her dream of becoming a sommelier. We had lovely neighbours and friends, and during weekends we would take our children for rides in our Christiania bike to the cinema, aquarium, Tivoli, theatre, or our car to the shopping mall. If we needed entertainment or stuff, it was always easily accessible. We had it all. And yet, we did not feel happy. We felt sedated. What was wrong with us?

Well, behind the list of expected goals to be realized before the age of 40, there was a daily routine none of us really enjoyed. The schedule was well planned, however. We waved goodbye to our children at a few minutes to eight where they would take the bus to the kindergarden, conveniently located directly under the inflight to Copenhagen Airport. A place where few people wanted to live because of the noise pollution, so it could as well be transformed into a day-care centre. After dropping the children off, we would go to work, and eight or nine hours later we would meet again. Completely smashed up in our heads from impressions, thoughts, and the endless effort to live up to various expectations. Dinner was something we had to get over with quickly, so each one of us could go to our neutral corners with our iPhones or iPad for just a moment of peace and quiet. Then we had to tuck in the children, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, mow the lawn, answer the last emails, before the next day that would be a replica of the one that just went by. Regularly, we looked at our bank account, and wondered where all the money, we worked so hard for, went. And then send wishful thoughts to the dreams of holidays away from our everyday life, that also were never fulfilled. We hung on in our nails to the edge of the cliff, so it felt, and it became more and more difficult to get the meaning of it all.

So the dream of slowing down the pace, get more time for us as a family and as individuals, a little more air in the budget, and more time for better family dinners and friends coming by for more than just a few hours, wasn’t for us a romantic dream. It was a clean and bare necessity.

– Nicolai