All posts by Heidi Ahokas

The happiest country in the world

Hello there, dear reader!

As you may have heard, Finland was recently chosen as the happiest country in the world. According to the UN report, the other Nordic countries didn’t perform bad either. For instance, Norway placed second after a tight competition. In addition to happiness, the study took a gaze to aspects such as migration. You can read the whole study here.

The Finnish people embraced the results with great joy and proud. After all, we are quite competitive as a nation (mention sports like ice hockey and cross-country skiing at a get-together and you can be sure to find an unofficial expert to tell you all about our success in such sports for the last decade.)

As a native Finn, I feel like we often forget to appreciate the things that we already have. The things that we take for granted. You know, as the saying goes, the grass is greener on the other side. Elements like free educational, free healthcare, a democratic political system and equal right to vote, social support, fresh air, clean water and overall safety we’re not built on a day. I sure have my moments of ungratefulness, too. You soon forget about all the nice things when the temperature drops below zero and sunlight feels like a distant memory.

I am positive, that it’s the coldness and darkness of our winters, that has evolved our sense of humor dark and sarcastic. It requires a certain state of mind to understand the cheekiness behind comments like “Why would you want to live in Finland, we are depresses as heck!” that were posted on the articles celebrating Finland’s new position as the happiest country. To us, happiness doesn’t stand for overflowing joy and non-stop smiling. To us, happiness is more about the warmth of a home, the fact that you don’t have to hate your job but the nation actually supports your never ending thirst of knowledge and different aspirations. Happiness is about cracking up a cold one with the boys after sauna and avanto (a hole in ice where you go did yourself. Sounds crazy, yes.)

When you live in a country, where it seems to be cold and dark for 10 months out of 12, you tend to dream about “something better.” As if you need a reminder from time to time so that you can once again remember the best qualities of your home country. I sure do.

Because all in all, happiness is about knowing that after every dark and freezing winter, there will be spring.