KonMare

It’s good to have goals and dreams, to aspire to create a better life for yourself. It makes you work harder – or rather, it used to do so. In these times of instant gratification, people can’t wait for life to get better. It has to be perfect now, right now. 

This is probably one reason for the success of the KonMari concept. KonMari became the synonym for getting rid of all the unnecessary clutter in our closets and thereby, at least in theory, cleaning up our life too. A branding feat like no other.

The idea behind the brand wasn’t new, but the timing and presentation was spot on. There was a market for quick life fixes.

I actually read the book – not only the articles on it – and was inspired to clean my closets. My life didn’t change, but my closets are roomier.

Now my trusted news source tells me that KonMari fans are ready to take the concept further. They argue that we should take a hard look at our whole life; not only our jobs and other activities, but our pets, friends and significant others too. It’s time to get rid of all unnecessary clutter, to create a perfect life.

Most of us know that there is no such thing. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, and life sure isn’t perfect even though it has its perfect moments.

Instead of getting rid of things and focusing on yourself, why not take the time to step out and see the world with fresh eyes. It’s still pretty great in many corners.

I chanced on one such corner in the middle of Helsinki a few days ago. I almost missed it, because it was tucked away – literally – behind a pile of stones.

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Let me set the scene first.

Helsinki has been enjoying sun and fun this May.  The days have been warm and sunny, while the nights have been slightly cooler. Hence it’s been warm, but not too warm. Change is coming, it will be cooler soon, but for a few weeks the weather has been perfect.

It feels like we humans – along with nature – have been given a new lease on life after a long, cold winter. Everything is green and fresh.

It’s the perfect time for creating perfect moments, if not a perfect life. Maybe take a trip somewhere –

or just enjoy the weather and the scenery.

I  was able to enjoy such perfect moments as I walked along the stony trail to my new haven.  When I reached my goal, I found that the views had inspired many before me. Some of them had inscribed their thoughts in the rock for posterity.

The author below ponders the way of the waves: “Have you far away a loved one, a friend? Where the sun sinks itself into the sea. Is it him you are longingly thinking of? You wave by the shore!”

Based on the wording (this was a literal translation from Swedish) and the writing, these questions were posed to the waves a long time ago.

Just to prove that there really is no such thing as a perfect life, I stumbled upon the drawings below; no poesy involved.

It was one of those rare moments when one actually hopes that a product will fail to live up to its marketing promise; that the permanent marker drawing will not, in fact, be permanent.

My home city, Helsinki, showed me many faces as I looked at it from my new favourite spot.

There was the city itself and the Jätkäsaari harbour.

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There was the Lauttasaari suburb, hidden away among the greenery.

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And everywhere there was the sea – with its endless opportunities for both perfect and not so perfect moments.

IMG_7840.jpgI was left with one single thought: This beauty should be preserved for generations to come.

There are many EU directives that I could easily live without. I am, however, all for the proposed new EU-wide rules to reduce marine litter. They target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as fishing gear. It is estimated that the targeted products together constitute 70% of all marine litter.

Yes, my partner in life’s favourite hobby is not as harmless as it seems. Abandoned and lost fishing gear alone accounts for 27% of the beach litter, we are told.

Some estimate that at least 8 million tons of plastic waste enters our oceans every year.

The statistics may vary from time to time, but the findings seem conclusive.

It’s time to rethink my consumption of plastics. Sadly I have not been careful enough before, but there will be no more single-use cutlery, plates, straws, drink-stirrers or balloon sticks for me. There are always alternatives.

The proposed directive is just a step in the right direction. More is needed. Forget your closets, help clean the seas instead: KonMare.

As the award-winning Norwegian author of the book Shark Drunk, Morten A. Stroeksnes, puts it: We need the sea more than the sea needs us.

The sea is as important to our climate as the forests are, he argues. If its chemical processes malfunction, we humans may be looking at the same fate as the dinosaurs.

The original Norwegian title of Stroeksnes’ book translates to Sea Book. I wish the English-version publisher had not let its PR people dream up a “better name”.

When it comes to climate change, and the effects of our oceans on it, I have to rely on experts. But when it comes to the effect of clean seas on our personal well-being, I only need to look at the pictures above.

This is the legacy I wish to preserve for my grandchildren – permanent marker drawings excluded.

Join me, it’s KonMare time.