This year, we have invited the renowned and award-winning journalist and author Maria Soxbo to work with us to raise the issue of sustainability in a modern and interesting manner. We believe that raising awareness is the first step, because awareness matures into thought patterns and actions that become more long-term. Through Maria’s words on the this subject, we hope to reach people’s thoughts and actions.
Renewal and enjoyment
A new season. The temperature drops a few degrees and the knitted sweater, candles and the favorite mug comes out. Holidays are over, we’re all back at work, rested and refreshed, and a bubbling feeling of a new start infuses most of us. It’s the autumn!
Mostly, this feeling is something positive. We might have succeeded in getting going with training and flexible routines again, while still being able to leave the everyday confusion we were less than keen on behind us. Turn a new leaf, start something new – there’s something satisfying about it.
Yet, there’s also another, perhaps not so pleasant feeling in the air. Isn’t it also time to … renew? Buy things? The trend reports are thick on the ground, the shops are full of signs and it’s hard to avoid what’s ‘right’, ‘hot’ and ‘in’. We’re bombarded with new impressions at a rate it’s hard to avoid, and finally, the last vestiges of the delicious feeling of summer enjoyment have gone. The worst thing is the appearance of the sofa … so last year’s model! And why did we go for grey? Everyone’s choosing beige now.
Despite most of us probably agreeing that short-lived consumer fads may not longer feel right, it’s still hard to ignore that neatly-packaged, carefully-targeted message: THIS is in, everything else is OUT.
Alongside the constant flow of new products advertised by department stores and the media, Instagram also shows the latest ideas from other peoples’ homes, where scruffy recycling bins and twisted wires are conspicuously absent. On the other side of the screen, people are still showing off their latest acquisitions for their already perfect home and wardrobes. All-in-all, the flow of images from strangers forms a soft filtered, picture-postcard existence, which most of us can only secretly dream of, and are therefore willing to be seduced by. We all want a gilded lining to autumn, not just dripping wet gloves, shorter days and stress.
Getting just a little closer to the dream with a can of paint and a new purchase (three clicks, and the walls are all matching at home!) is tempting. Perhaps then that creeping disquiet from realizing that your wardrobe ‘ought’ to be updated and carpets refreshed can be relieved, and we can feel satisfied again?
Getting the balance right between renewal and enjoyment is hard, and surprisingly few people can master the art of passing unscathed through the flood waves of inspirational material. Letting your home develop over a lifetime, just surrounding ourselves with the things we really love, and thinking long-term sound great in theory, but are not easy to achieve in reality. We are constantly being fed the message to the contrary.
Feeling satisfied is a skill that requires practice. A freshly-cleaned home can sometimes be enough, a branch of vivid autumn colors in a vase and the scent of new-baked bread can be enough to get the feeling of pleasure to spread, just like the warmth from a fire. But other times, we not be able to get over the feeling of something has to be changed to put our minds at rest.
But enjoyment through renewal does not have to be about new consumption. It can just as well involve rearranging the furniture, or creating change with flea market finds. Or creating new, vibrant traditions. Perhaps there’s a piece of music that’s special, a friend visiting, or a daily coffee break on the stairs that’s missing?
Enjoyment can neither be bought in cash or on installment. It’s never dependent on the colors of the season, it never goes out of fashion and no limited editions are ever produced – there’s something for everyone.
We don’t need to desperately hunt for a new attitude to consumerism, and perhaps the first step is to disconnect it from our feelings? Autumn is a season, enjoyment is a feeling, and the gilded lining? Well, that’s up to you.
Maria Soxbo is a journalist, author and co-founder of Klimatklubben. She switched from being an interior design blogger to become a greenfluencer, seeking to inspire more people to see the benefits of living sustainably. She is convinced that most of us would feel better by living a life within the boundaries of the planet rather than at the limits of our income and mental health, as in the treadmill of a society we live in. Together with Emma Sundh she also runs the podcast Plan B which focuses on the good life after the transition. On her own and together with others, Maria has written a total of six books about the climate and sustainability, and in 2021 she was 25th on the list of Sweden’s 101 biggest sustainability influencers.