It was the best of times

June 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Beach. Brygge. Book. Bikinis. Barbecue. Blonde. Babies. Boats. Birds. Blue. Boys’ Bathroom*. Boom Boxes. Beer. Bare. Breeze. Birkenstocks. Beauty.

*Line for the girls’ was too long.

I finished my book (Just Kids by Patti Smith) and it was so good, I might have even held back a few tears at the end.

And, as if to mock my too-soon departure, when I got back to my apartment, this was on “Need Some Balance? Try Denmark.” Out of all the OECD countries, Denmark scored #1 for work-life balance. No surprise to me.

  • Danes work 1563 hours a year, a full 205 hours/year fewer than in the USA.
  • Only .02% of Danes work over 50 hours/week, compared to .11% in the USA (still not very many, but five times more than in Denmark).
  • Danes spend 16.3 hours/day on personal care (e.g. leisure, hobbies, eating, and sleeping), compared to 15.1 hours/day in the USA.

Some other interesting tidbits about Denmark:

  • 97% of people [in Denmark] believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need, one of the highest rates in the OECD.
  • Nearly 3% of people in Demark reported ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ spending time with friends, colleagues or others in social settings; this figure is one of lowest in the OECD.
  • In recent polling, 90% [of people in Denmark] were satisfied with their life and 92% believe that their life will be satisfying five years later. This makes Denmark the highest ranked OECD countries in terms of life satisfaction… much higher than the OECD average of 59%.

It seems like only yesterday that I got on the plane to come here, but it seems like a million years ago that I was sitting in the CMU library for 14 hours without a break, hammering away at a 78(!) page lab report. Yet those events were only four weeks apart. Yet one so close and another so far.

I was there for these moments, but so young and preoccupied with my own thoughts that I hardly recognized them as moments.
Patti Smith


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