What’s Lagom and How Do I Live Lagom in 2017?
Lagom, pronounced La (as in not too FAR) and gom (as in NOM, like when you’ve eaten all the food), is Swedish for ‘the right amount’, ‘just enough’, or as Goldilocks would have it, ‘juuuuuust right’. It describes the Swedish belief that a person shouldn’t have too little, nor should they have too much.
Lagom underpins all that we’ve come to admire in Scandinavians: a lack of fussiness and pretentiousness, plenty of contentment and quiet confidence, functional architecture and pared-back design, modesty and wholesomeness, unfussy cuisine and an emphasis on the communal over the individual.
But, why is Lagom so popular all of a sudden?
Let’s be honest, Lagom isn’t really anything new. In the age of Pinterest, most of us have attempted to curate a capsule wardrobe, have upcycled a piece of furniture, de-cluttered to embrace an element of Minimalism, and, if you pay attention to Instagram, you’ll know that the ‘live-for-the-weekend’ mantra is firmly out, while #slowliving and #seekthesimplicity are most definitely in.
It’s not surprising that so many of us are craving a slower, more minimal lifestyle. Life’s hectic. Stuff is cheap. We can find ourselves surrounded with crap, fat and miserable, without having taken a moment to pause and wonder if we actually needed any of it.
So, how do you live Lagom?
To embody the Swedish philosophy, is to live more minimally, and as sustainably (in terms of living within your means) as possible, but the key is to do it without making yourself, and those around you, miserable.
It’s partly common sense and mostly about living within your means, so:
- budget realistically, taking in to account your real outgoings and needs, and then:
- spend, but you shouldn’t spend more than you’ve budgeted for.
- Eat cake, but don’t eat the whole cake (admittedly, this is a tough one). The same goes for alcoholic beverages.
- Reduce waste but do it in ways that make it enjoyable: upcycling, cooking, and re-styling.
- Buy clothes, but buy good quality key pieces that you love and will wear. Donate or sell clothes you don’t wear.
- Work hard and pay your bills, but learn to reduce what you pay, so you have more to spend on going out for dinner, and holidays, and cake and wine!
Essentially, Lagom is about balance. It’s about working hard, but enjoying life, slowing down and having just enough so that you’re really able to appreciate it.
But, isn’t Lagom just another Hygge?
I already wonder if ‘Lagom’ will have the over-hyped, short-lived Pinterest fame of it’s Norwegian cousin ‘Hygge‘ and be quickly debunked as an early 2017 fad, or if it can really change our philosophy on living for the better.
If I’m truly honest, I don’t really care if the name ‘Lagom’ sticks, but I do hope the philosophy of avoiding excess, and living simply and somewhat sustainably, resonates and lingers and has a chance to find its way in to our routines and habits because I, for one, need it.
Just enough of what you crave is as good as any feast