#On-y-va

One thing is kicking yourself out the comfort zone – it is quite another when you set out to do that with 10 people including husbands, pre-schoolers, tweens and teenagers.

Going to the mountains to do some serious skiing has been on the agenda for years. But so much has come in the way. A real effort was made last year when we packed our skis and went to Germany – however the lack of snow made the initiative futile. We still enjoyed Schwarzwald (Black Forest)!

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This year the destination chosen had an inbuilt snow-guarantee. It better should when you go to the middle of Norway in February. Just getting ready to leave for the mountains requires getting out of comfort zones. For the Non-Norwegians of us it also meant getting out of our comfort temperature. Equipping us all with ski-poles and the right sized ski-boots (both cross-country and down-hill) took some logistical efforts.

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Skipping all detailed descriptions of how sweaty we became dressing kids, pulling cars out of icy ditches just because some wanted to test the 4-wheel rental car and pairing the right skis and poles before setting off in the slopes – it was worth every drop of sweat (and swearing) when we witnessed our brave and sporty offspring. Some of them had never tried skiing and others were a bit rusty after 3,5 years living in Luxembourg without much opportunity to enjoy snow outside the living-room (like we normally do in Norway). Crispy and fresh air against the backdrop of endless quiet mountains added to the experience.

after ski sausages

Getting back inside the cabin in the afternoons experiments with single malt enhanced tea were interesting – it helped the grown-ups to relax and get ready for more fun in the slopes. Good food and wine are essential factors when setting out to conquer the wilderness. The Norwegian part of the expedition members felt compelled to show off the better sides of Norwegian culinary tradition – and were impressed by the courage to taste the admittedly scary smell-wise “rakfisk” – also eating skrei with roe (“are those real blood vessels!!?”) and reindeer (without telling the younger members of the group that we were eating Rudolph) was a part of extending comfort zone-experience.

There is a lesson learnt from this wonderful expedition. No matter how deep some of us were shoveled in really deep snow at times, and no matter how cold, cold turned out to be, when you get a bunch of people that are open-minded, with a great sense of humor, enjoying the world’s smelliest fish, you can go anywhere in the world and still will have a great time.

relaxing after skiing

There will for sure be more joint expeditions. Next time to slightly less cold place(s)!

#bored-out

I was recently asked whether I was going through any of the burnout phases. I declined politely, saying I’m far from experiencing any of them. I do though tend to overreact a lot (this I didn’t say), but that is not an odd behavioral change. My overreactions are more of a personality trait, and not necessarily a sign that I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown.They do however tend to coincide with PMS.

After declining politely the diagnostic suggestion, I added that I usually enjoy stressful situations because I (still) love challenges. They make me feel alive and allow me to push further. I should maybe have revealed that I actually feel the opposite. I’m bored. I don’t feel challenged enough. It feels like I am suffering from viral boredom. And there is actually a word for that. Or rather a syndrome. The Bore-out syndrome. “The lack of work, boredom and consequent lack of satisfaction”. This apparently is common among individuals working in modern organizations, especially in office-based jobs.

So I am not alone. It is rather the absence of meaningful intellectually challenging tasks than the presence of stress, that is my biggest problem. So what now? Usually when you try to explain this at work, you get shuffled with more meaningless, repetitive, dull tasks.

So how to avoid falling into a vicious circle of meaninglessness? How to avoid the b-stings? Neither being burned out nor bored-out? Well, it always comes down to the magic trick. Finding the right balance. Maybe adjusting the expectations to what challenges work can provide, explore if there is intellectual fun to be had elsewhere? Being a bit bored every now and then is probably even good (and there is for sure an online article somewhere about that too).

Everything depends on the equilibrium, on the ‘just right’. I learned today that in Swedish they have a special word for this, ‘lagom’. Well, I guess in nearly all languages you have a special word that describes effortless the right balance you have to strike in life (to be happy). Not too little, not too much. ‘Pan Metron Ariston’ as the Greeks say. Finding the right equilibrium and balance. In life.

After all consideration, just-rightness, lagom-ness and the eternal balancing act, I decided to halt. To push the pause button. I will inhale very deeply and exhale all anger, frustration, and impatience. And then I will try to enjoy the now. Without any thoughts on yesterday or tomorrow. Just now.

Now!