Lagom -the little book of simplicity, if I was to title it, it would be that. But I am not an expert in Swedish language so you are free to laugh off this interpretation.
The thing is that a proper translation of this word in English, German or Bulgarian (my native language) are rather elusive to me, it’s almost impossible to pin it down to one or two specifications and to say that’s it, even though each language may have its own word with rather literal meaning like “enough” or “sufficient” in English, but lagom is much more than that. As much as you read further, the book expands its topic and you understand the complexity of it.
However, you can make your own interpretations and put it into different contexts. Take for example the fact that you can say “Yesterday I had just lagom a good time with Janet”, it means that I had a wonderful time with Janet, we had deep conversations and I didn’t feel bored or tiresome by her company, it was just perfectly good. Meanwhile, you can say “This cake is just lagom sweet, it is delicious” but I can object and say that it’s far too sweet for my taste aka not lagom. And this is the tricky part as Lagom can be identified as a personal preference towards something or as Lola (the author of the book) simply states “My satisfaction may vary from yours but we are both satisfied”.
The flexibility of this word expands even further as it can be incorporated in every context possible from talking about personal preferences to more general topics such as business, money, and lifestyle.
What I’ve learned so far from this wonderful book is that lagom is deeply ingratiated into Swedish culture and its practicalities.
First of all, lagom does not mean perfection, it’s far from being that but rather it means the right amount of something in accordance to someone’s needs. You know what happens when you have too much of a good thing, we become spoiled, and we don’t want that, do we?
This point leads us to the second specification of it, namely simplicity in every aspect of our life from beauty trends to food and fashion. And here lagom teaches as that less is more and can be more than enough. We learn how not only Swedish society but the Scandinavian countries, in general, rely heavily on quality rather than on quantity. You might already understand that they would choose to be minimalists, not because it’s trendy but because it reduces the burden of buying things they do not truly need.
And the third thing that lagom says is that we need to be reasonable, in a sense to be precautious as we do not know what the future holds for us, everything can happen and it’s a good thing to be prepared, especially when it comes down to financial stability and investment. Or as Dickens says ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”.
If you, by any chance, pick up this book, you will learn so much more and you will truly entertain yourself with the wonderful photos in there, you will peak into the Swedish culture and learn one or two Swedish proverbs, one of my favourites is “To write well and speak well is mere vanity if one does not live well” .
Now I am going to have a portion of just lagom cheesecake and enjoy the sun this afternoon as it is exceptionally sunny today in Britain. 🙂