Until recently life used to be something that happened to me, while I was trying to keep all the balls in the air. I pretended to be an overskudsmor. Until I decided to stop pretending and quit my job. This was a highly necessary and very essential decision, and it has brought me something very precious: my future is again a big wide-open space. I can choose any path I like. Now you would think I’d feel relieved! Liberated! Excited! Delighted!
Unfortunately I feel neither of those. On the contrary, I am not my chirpy self. I could really use an underskudsday (or maybe even a whole underskudsweek). I feel like snuggling myself up on the sofa with a blanket, a huge pot of tea and some chocolate. Now that almost sounds hyggelig, but is it possible to have a hyggelig time on your own or does hygge always need to be shared with others? Maybe there’s a Dane in my audience that can help me out here?
Well maybe hyggelig isn’t the right word anyway. Hygge implies a happy feeling and happy is not exactly the word I would use to describe my emotions right now. I would rather say I feel lethargic. My energy level is down to zero. It’s one of those days where I don’t manage to get anything done. There’s only one thing on my mind: which path do I take next?
Unfortunately many of the paths that would suit me well require perfect Danish. Actually, given the fact that I only moved to Denmark a few years ago, I believe that I am doing pretty well. My Danish is definitely good enough for everyday use: for making a dentist appointment, talking to my children’s teachers or socializing with other moms during a school trip. But good enough is not quite the same as perfect. To find a job, a least one that offers some challenge, a more perfect Danish would really come in handy. Realizing that my Danish is not perfect and maybe never will be, and that this limits my possibilities, frustrates me.
I know I am not the only foreigner in Denmark – or any other country for that matter – that’s struggling with this frustration. But frustration usually doesn’t get one very far, so let’s change direction and try something else. Let’s re-think the situation. Why not take advantage of our accent and see it as charming, instead of letting it bother us? Or why not exploit the fact that we speak several languages, instead of concentrating on not being fluent in all of them? If good enough can’t become perfect, than good enough simply has to be good enough. It’s as simple as that.
I am convinced that there’s a path out there for all of us. Finding it is just a matter of time. It’s very likely our path reveals itself as soon as we stop thinking in boundaries and start thinking in possibilities. Let’s tackle the frustration and embrace positive thinking!