Happiness is Finland, Maybe

Finland has once again been named the happiest place in the world, which is somewhat surprising to the Finnish. Some Finns said they’d describe it more as contentment or security (they have a great social platform to protect them), and another said it was more along the lines of reasonable expectations. In a place that’s mostly dark most of the year, the fact that surveys keep putting Finland on top says there’s something good going on there.

How were you feeling particularly Finnish this week?

40 thoughts on “Happiness is Finland, Maybe

  1. I spent the last fortnight on retreat and then holiday. Both were great. The retreat left me realizing I could do better fulfilment-wise than my current job, and some exciting ideas on alternatives. And the holiday included catching up with 8 friends who live in that area. That was wonderful. So I guess happiness is about fulfilment and connection. That probably lines up pretty well with the Finnish.

  2. I got to have lunch with a beautiful young lady who I’ve known since birth. She’s the only girl in a set of triplets and she just got engaged!!

    And a big thanks to Tammy because they are considering a honeymoon in Finland… so I shared your link!!

  3. My River Birch tree came in the mail yesterday, and I got it planted right before a nice rain. It’s already a foot tall, but dormant, as it came bare root, surrounded by some loose dirt. It likes acidic soil, so I mixed into the dirt from the hole some compost from the bin where I’ve been adding a lot of coffee grounds. It survived the two short blasts of hail we got yesterday. It was 52º, but still hailed a bit! They were small pellets, thank goodness. It’s in a cage to keep the bunnies from nibbling it. The instructions said to do that to keep the deer away. It’s nice not to have to worry about that, at least, here. The New Jersey Tea bush that I transplanted from that spot is leafing out in its new home. So all is well. I look forward to watching both plants grow and thrive. That is definitely a happy!

  4. I had the house to myself for a few days while my husband took our boys boating. I got some writing done, and cut out a coat pattern that I’ve been planning to make for ages. And I had two very dear friends around for afternoon tea and crafties and chat that went on into dinner.

    1. I’m still unpacking from my move, but I finally found my tin of thread! Yay!

      I’ve wanted to do some sewing, and I promised my daughter and grandson some pyjamas, but it’s hard without thread, and the nearest fabric shop is about half an hour away. As this house is already packed full of fabric, you can imagine why I shouldn’t go there…

      So now I’m happy. I’ve also knitted a few rows of my shawl, so it might get finished by winter.

  5. Happiness this week was as simple as allowing myself to nap instead of work out on Wednesday.

    Oh, and even though we still have 1-2 feet of snow on much of our lawn, Hubby pressure washed the deck and brought the furniture up, so with a heater, blankets, and a touque I should be able to enjoy tea outside.

  6. I have been enjoying the beautiful weather here (central NY). We’ve had a whole week of sun and warm (low humidity included) weather. That’s mood improving for sure!

  7. Also enjoying the beautiful weather in upstate NY, where it went from winter to spring/summer almost overnight. Still fighting the post-Covid cough and fatigue, but I managed to get out into the garden and get the very early seeds in (spinach, lettuce, peas) before I had to go rest.

    Happiness was a long massage on Friday, which was not only great for my tight fibro muscles which were cranky from two weeks of nonstop coughing, but also my massage therapist (who is new to me in the last 6 months or so, and who I adore) used some kind of thumping technique on my lungs that reduced the coughing by about 80%. It was a damned miracle.

    A bittersweet happiness was finding the perfect person to buy nearly all of my jewelry supplies. After 35 years of making jewelry (on top of the day job, which I finally gave up a year ago, and the writing, which is now my focus), I’m finally giving that up too. I just don’t have the time and energy, and I’m pulling out of the shop as an artist too, so no place to sell it. It was just time, really. But I do love all my shiny beads, and after hoarding them for years I figure I probably have about $10,000 worth of supplies!

    The happy part is that instead of having to sell them off piecemeal, which would have been a lot of work, the new jewelry maker taking my spot at the store came over to look at them and is buying the lot (minus a few I’ll keep in case I want to make something later). We have very much the same style, and she was so excited to get them, it made me feel much better about giving them up. (And it turned out we knew a bunch of the same people, because small town, and she’s just lovely.) She’s even giving me more money than I’d been expecting to get for them, which will help out with the extra house expenses. So lots of happy all around, which is the way I like things to be.

  8. Finland makes me think of three things.

    1. My erstwhile housemate Dr. Aila ____, who warned us when she moved in that she had a tendency to burn teakettles, which she demonstrated four different times in the three months she lived here. She would go into her room, get enmeshed in some medical article she was reading, and wouldn’t notice the sound of the teakettle whistle in the next room. She bought a lot of new teakettles. 🙂

    2. The national anthem of Finland, which I learned as a child, refers to its homeland as “mommy” in the first line. Well, that’s how it sounded to me as a child, even though I don’t think it meant that.

    3. Another song we learned as children was a lament about a lost part of Finland called Karelia (‘karjalan’ in the song) that I think the Russians had stolen. It was the saddest song I’d ever heard.

    So maybe Finns are generally happy, but they can get very sad, too. And forget teakettles like nobody’s business.

    1. Dr.Aila sounds like a candidate for an electric kettle. They turn off when the water is boiling. We got one for my mother, when she burned one up. I have one, too. The measurements are in liters, though, which is frustrating for an American.

  9. I have been for a walk by the sea today, which blew away the cobwebs and made me happy. Being by water always makes me feel content – my childhood home was opposite a mostly disused docks that was home to a few barges and tiny boats, and we went on holiday to Cornwall a few times when I was in primary school, so I have excellent memories of being close to water.

    I have also found a happiness-inducing playlist on Spotify called Hopeless Romantic, which I *think* I found via Martha Waters’ newsletter. Lots of beautiful instrumental music.

  10. My cherry tree is blooming and looks amazing. It was supposed to be a weeping cherry, and is not – but is huge and beautiful. My daffodils are out, and my neighbor across the street texted to say thank you because she sees more of them than I do!

    The cats are enjoying the open windows (until it gets chilly again next week, but really, it IS April).

    We worked really hard last week and got lots done, and this week I am taking a class for more than half the day of Monday – Wednesday AND boss is back in CA, so it should be a more relaxed time.

    I have embarrassing amounts of chocolate in my house. I am working on eating the evidence with great enjoyment.

    1. I planned picking up my meds for the day after Easter in order to take advantage of 50% sales on chocolate. Mostly my focus was on pastel colored M&Ms for summertime cookies. Also bought a bag of black jelly beans. Passed on the peeps and all the rest.

  11. My new dishwasher arrived as promised, along with my tenants’ new dishwasher, and I think they were even happier than I was! The dishwashers still need to be installed, but that’s another happy — one of the tenants is a plumber and kindly offered to install both of them for me. I try very hard not to impose on him, but if he offers, I’m happy to accept! Both tenants are very nice and very quiet and very reliable for paying the rent, all of which makes me happy. And they seem to be happy in the unit too; they’ve been in it for going on eight years now, and I keep the rent low so they won’t feel inclined to leave! Happiness all around!

  12. I read an article about the ‘Finland + happiness’ conclusion and noted that several interviewees mentioned the distinction between happiness & contentment – with the second state of mind most often prevailing. Happiness being an active state and contentment a resting state (paraphrasing). Which fits my state of mind most of the time.

    Yesterday I contentedly spent three hours walking Santa Monica Beach as part of a volunteer effort organized by Heal The Bay. Spotted one returning trash-picker with a bucket full of bottles & cans; no idea where he found those; my bucket was half full of globs of crude oil (having discovered that one can pick these up, and they won’t even stick to the bucket, so long as they are sufficiently crusted with sand). It made for a heavy bucket but considering the mess that junk made of my shoes, good to have it off the beach. Also gleaned many small bits of plastic, cigarette butts, etc.

    Today I shall contentedly spend at the computer, working through edits for the Renn Fair novella.

  13. You can skip this one; it’s not a real comment. Sorry all. I’m seeing whether I can change my email address while keeping my screen name. If this doesn’t work, I’ll just unsubscribe and resubscribe. No need for y’all to do anything except enjoy the blog and comments.

  14. Happiness comes from many things. For the last several months, one could not buy an AeroGarden Aerovoir, four of which could be seen in any of my farm reports. I had to splice lines to make a reservoir serve two garden units. They are finally available again and I’ve bought a fifth unit and christened it Doris , a girl’s name for “Gift of the Ocean.” In classical Greek mythology, Doris is the daughter of Oceanus, god of the sea… which means it’s in keeping with naming all the other units after supernatural water ladies.

    Okay, then. This post is… Finnished.

  15. Yesterday I visited my friend Dave’s stores and did my part to keep them in business (although considering the size of the discount he gives me, I think I lowered the inventory more that I raised the profit.) I really must be shrinking, because the pair of cropped pants I bought were definitely full length for me. My shortest sister has been using this technique for years, but since I started out 4 inches taller than she did, this is the first time it worked for me. I really have to laugh when I see current hemlines that sweep the floor because this is how all pants and long skirts hit for my sisters and me. Let the tall people worry about tripping over their clothes for a change!

    I also bought a wad of greeting cards in the hope that it would inspire me to get back to writing people at least annually. There is one card that I especially love because it is snide and makes fun of how staid we’ve all become with age. The only trouble is that I’ve already sent it to the one friend for whom it is a perfect fit and I don’t think I should send him the same card 2 years in a row. Maybe my big brother will appreciate the “I miss sex,drugs, and rock and roll” vibe.

    I also bought a new apron that makes me happy. It features a lemon tree on a navy background and I think it will remind me of juicy times every time I use it.

    After only a month of waiting, I finally had the meeting with manager of my apartment complex to find out why they thought I owed them money. When they opened my file, it showed that the previous manager had not processed my paperwork for several months after I submitted it , so the date of my new rent was at least 3 months after the previous manager said I owed it. This was a huge relief and I am very glad I didn’t pay the amount (plus interest!) as I had planned to do when I first got the notice.

    The other nice part was that I met with the manager who I worked with when I had bedbugs a few years ago. He took a transfer into another department when he got fed up with being screamed at by all the tenants and is now in charge of hiring the latest manager. It is ironic that he is now getting twice as much flack as he got when he held the position, because that is why he took the transfer in the first place. But I am glad that he is in charge of hiring the new manager, because the ones who came after him were not up to the job and had a default position that the tenant was always wrong. Jason was a lot more reasonable.

    1. I suggest you send the same card to your friend and make it a joke in the general theme of getting older (e.g., either you can’t remember or you assume he can’t remember).

  16. We’ve been cleaning out the flower beds, and yesterday I went the the garden store and came back with 6,000 pounds of dirt. OK, maybe 180 pounds, in three bags. I spent half the day spreading the new soil on our old beds, and mapping out the herb bed so I can see how to add some different flowers in there, along with the sage and oregano. I spent a lot of time on the ground. Thank God for Bio-Freeze.
    Today was Music Sunday with lots of instruments (drums, cymbals, triangle, jingle bells, etc.) in the congregation, lots of hymns and some solos, then the Church Ladies brunched at the local Mexican restaurant, then a walk with a friend and her dog. And now, to the recliner…

  17. So many things made me happy.
    I only have two tax returns to do this weekend. I have one audition to do.
    And there’s time for naps!
    I went to the Los Angeles Romance writers monthly zoom meeting where they talked about the conference.
    I’m still a member of RWA, because I think it’s better to rescue the baby then to throw it out with the bathwater. I don’t know if that’s a good simile or not.
    I also got invited to join Cameo because my character Barbara is so popular right now on jury duty. And I did my first cameo for someone whose mom was feeling bad and needed cheering up . That was fun.
    I also picked a bunch of charities that I could give the money to if more Cameo gigs come in. I couldn’t believe how long the list of charities was that you could choose from.
    Further happiness. I made my favorite cookie recipe – big soft ginger cookies with raisins . They rarely get as far as being baked.
    I wish all of you a joyful week full of unexpected blessings.

  18. Happy is the week went well-zoning meeting, township meeting, eye appointment. Only two meetings coming up this week and then I can ‘introvert’ again.

    The weather has been great-record breaking heat and then cooling off nicely. We do need some rain. I have to set up the rain barrel and get the lawn mower out of the cellar.

    Must read Viking Economics by George Lakey. The Scandinavian countries went with social programs and a great safety net during the 1930’s polarization. Germany went Nazi. The USA got the New Deal. The question is which way do we swing this time?

    It’s Sunday so I’ll worry about that during the week.

  19. I’ve been feeling productive and on purpose – i.e., contented. Went to the monthly social of the artists’ network, which is always fun. And spent yesterday in the sun, sowing and planting up the allotment. It’s the moment of maximum hope, and I’m enjoying it.

  20. I was lucky to go on a business trip to Helsinki, Finland several years ago. I loved it and am hoping to go back with DH and see more of the country. The stunning main library, great cycling/walking paths and an historic site 15 mins offshore were among the highlights.

    We went from winter last week to summer this week. I did lots of walking just enjoying the sunshine. I planted lots of seeds at the beginning of the week and most have sprouted.I have a small green house in my family room and it seems to be the right environment. The warm temps melted all the snow on my vegetable garden and very happy that my garlic is sprouting and my rhubarb survived transplanting. Hooping to gave 2 productive plants. I planted cool crop seeds today – snow peas, Swiss chard, spinach and radish. I’m never organized enough to plant this early so looking forward to seeing What comes up.

    My friend with long Covid has decided she’s well enough to go on our trip to the Dominican Republic. We leave tomorrow am. I will be very happy walking on a beach.

  21. Gardening this past week. Weeding. Friends picked soil up and helped spread it around while Joanne clipped back the roses and the lavender. I never know if I should cut back the clematis or let it go with new shoots taking over the dead vines. Dithered so much the new shoots are growing. Dethatched the back lawn. Need to buy lawn fertilizer/weed control/etc all in one. Apparently I can buy that now that I no longer have the lawn service. 🙁 Happiness is driving up to lush green lawn, no weeds in garden and the Japanese snowball tree is greening out and budding.

    Grampy buying everything R and Archie, the pony need to show jump next week. Grampy happy. R happy. Archie doesn’t care he has a new show bridle. Very expensive this horse riding business.

    1. The clematis will just flower higher up or in more of a tangle if you don’t prune it this year. I grow mainly group 3 (viticella type) clematis, since they’re so easy to prune: you just cut them back to a foot or eighteen inches high, above a good pair of buds/shoots, in late winter. This usually means cutting off a load of good shoots on the old stems, which I’m always reluctant to do, but it does mean there are flowers from the ground up, and does away with the tangle of old stems.

  22. Happiness is that when Hannah was so excited to see me when I got home from work yesterday and she jumped up and whacked me in the face with a front paw and knocked my glasses off my face, down 4 concrete stairs and onto the sidewalk, the lenses didn’t scratch. I’m going to the optometrist on Thursday to have them repaired. Thank goodness my old pair are good enough for around the house and driving in town because I am not highway safe! Thursday is Paul’s first day off this week.

  23. I haven’t been happy this week. I’ve been content. I think maintaining content can take some work which I had to do this week and thus the unhappiness.

    I had to give myself an attitude adjustment. I have a new friend whose online & zoom meeting company I have been enjoying. We have a good connection and I don’t want to mess it up. So I had to take a hard look and realize I was letting my thinking about him veer off into romantic directions and that is not appropriate. It made me a little sad but it will be worth it in the long run.

    Meanwhile I have writing & books to read & trips to the beach or the park & time in the pool & a roof over my head, food to eat, a car with gas in it, etc.

    I am content.

  24. I found a laughing out loud funny blog. Well, re-found. The first time I encountered it I was still renting. Now that I own a house that needs so much unexpected work it is much more funny. I found it from her webcomic which is also really good.

    They bought a house that used to belong to Randall Jarrett. Now they refer to it as Disaster House. Her style makes me laugh and it is comforting that my house problems are so minor compared to theirs.

    This maybe should be on Thursday but I still avoid that on the grounds that I have too much to do to fall into more new books. The ones that show up here on not-thurs are grabby enough. Thank you all for that. And it’s good knowing where to look when next I have a bunch of downtime.

    House is at
    Comic is called “a girl and her fed”. The first part is in two versions. Original black and white and much later rewrite in colour. It has Benjamin Franklin’s ghost and a talking koala as main characters

  25. Happiness is that I got through the three 90 minute workshops at the local Young Author’s Conference on Saturday and they went reasonably well. I had dreaded the event way more than it merited. I learned a lot- that 90 minutes goes by very quickly in a room with 25 kids who ask questions and want to tell you rambling anecdotes only tangentially related to the topic. I brought way too may supplies and over-prepared, but the kids seemed to have fun getting messy with paint and some wrote some cute poems about bees.
    Teaching is hard! Give those elementary and jr high teachers a raise!

  26. Happiness is that I got through the three 90 minute workshops at the local kids writingConference on Saturday and they went reasonably well. I had dreaded the event way more than it merited. I learned a lot- that 90 minutes goes by very quickly in a room with 25 kids who ask questions and want to tell you rambling anecdotes only tangentially related to the topic. I brought way too may supplies and over-prepared, but the kids seemed to have fun getting messy with paint and some wrote some cute poems about bees.
    Teaching is hard! Give those elementary and jr high teachers a raise!

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