I often think about how happy I am to have found peace to stay on for a longer period of time in Stockholm. It truly is an amazingly beautiful city. It’s hard to believe this is the capital of Sweden. About 900 000 inhabitants live here, which makes it a small town compared to cities around the world. It’s actually possible to have this view just down the street from where I live 🙂
I used to try to get away from Stockholm. When I was younger, it felt like wherever I went in the city, I knew someone. It was like living in a small town. I started to feel suffocated. As if I needed to see what was out there. I wanted to find out how one could live life in other places.
Thus, I left for other countries and bigger cities, where I could walk down the street without having to meet people I knew. It was nice to disappear in the anonymity of those places, and also to feel like there was no end to the possibilities ahead. In a small city like Stockholm, the limits are not only closer physically, but also mentally. Perhaps that’s what happens when you visit big cities – the boundaries move outwards, in line with the city’s own limits. The bigger the city, the more bountiful the possibilities within it.
I felt that way for quite some years, and even started to wonder if I could ever feel at home in Stockholm again. Would I always get that restless feeling and have to get out of there, or could I somehow find a way to cherish the way of life in Stockholm?
Yes, I could. And it was all because of my children. As I had them, I started
to appreciate being part of a community where you recognize the people going to the same supermarket, playing with their children in the same parks, enjoying the small beaches by the water with their kids – who of course became friends with my kids.
It felt safe. There was always someone to chat with, people who could tell me if they hade seen my child somewhere. People who I knew, and who knew me and my family. As the children grew older, it felt even more important to recognize and greet one another, keep up with what was happening in the different youth groups and tell each other if something didn’t feel right. Today, I don’t mind meeting people I know all around the area. Insetad of feeling observed, I feel safe and happy for my chilren, that they live in a community where they can trust other adults to look after them, ask them if they are ok, and call me if something has happened.
Today, I have a completely different feeling aobut living in this small city. What I used to think of as boring silence, is today something that I cherish more than anything else. Living in an inner-city neighbourhood, with everything you need around the corner, yet still being enveloped in a soft silence, is bliss.
#stockholm #winter #community