It’s been one full year since I moved to Sweden. And these 365 days, as expected, have been quite a transforming experience. I’m not talking about the less startling culture shocks in terms of food, attire or festivals, nor am I hinting at the awesome, yet frivolous nature of climate around this side of the globe. At the risk of sounding philosophical, I would say I am looking inwards in evaluating this one year experience.
Personally, I have undergone many subtle and yet important changes in me, which have been deeply influenced because of my living, working and travelling experiences, primarily in Sweden.
To summarise, I would say that I am at least a few shades humbler than the previous version of myself. Humbler, not because I am any less awesome or lesser than the narcissist I have always been, but the embracing of the fact that it is quite hard, to be good at something, rather anything at all, has dawned upon me, or at least I would like to think so. I am more disciplined – while I thought I already was, even in this regard I am working to meet higher standards prevailing around here. Also, reassurance of the fact that honesty and integrity in our actions is the only way to do anything at all; this might come as a surprise – although well preached, it is barely adhered to and rarely practised in many quarters of interactions I’ve had back at home.
Overall, this migration of mine has been a necessary change of climate from the habitat where I had grown almost all the first 26 years of my life, and hence the reputation within the same entourage had in many ways snowballed into something bigger than what I actually might have deserved. Not to condone any of the adulation I received then, and I still continue receive now, which were an impetus of different kind. This criticism is to point out the flaws in me, which if I had continued to remain in the same environment might have made a complacent nincompoop out of me.
That said, interacting with a culture like that in Sweden does many other important things to you as well. First and foremost, it reignites the drive to get better. Inherently the notion and standards of comprehension and expertise are set to very different levels. Feynman’s profound advice “There is a difference between knowing something, and knowing the name of that very thing”, takes a far and wide spread connotation here. The deep-rootedness of every action, and the enormity of efforts behind seemingly simple accomplishments elevate the calibre.
While most of this evaluation would be because of my extensive interaction and involvement with academia, I don’t think there would be any difference in this analysis even if I were to compare any other aspect, like say sports or music, or art, or even politics.
On the other hand, because of this migration, I have observably become less affirmative and/or assertive, but more non-committal and open-ended. Now, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad as yet, but have (seemed to) realised (realise) it.
Other quintessential Nordic paradigm changes like impregnation of sustainability and pragmatic, action-driven love of nature have also found way into me.
At the end of one year, after having seen places, and met many inspiring people, I think I am set on to the better of the tracks that lay ahead of me, still taking to me to my chosen destination, but with a more gratifying ride – more like a bicycle ride on the lanes of Göteborg, than the scooter ride in Bangalore 😉