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Lagom

On the wall just outside our kitchen, Mom hung a golden frieze of Jesus and his disciples. Having purchased it in Spain--my father was stationed there as a Navy decoder-- the inscription read: "La Ultima Cena de Jesus" (Jesus' Last Supper). I was fascinated by the fact that I could decode the words from another language. Years later, learning French and Latin only fueled my curiosity surrounding etymology, linguistics and philology.


For example, did you know that the word muscle comes from Latin (musculus) meaning "little mouse" because people believed that the movement of tendons looked like mice running underneath the skin?


Or that salary, also from Latin is derived from “salt money” (salarium) and, due to its importance, was valued as "white gold." For instance, it was used to treat wounds (thus the word salutary--or healthy--comes from salt). In old times, laborers were paid with salt that they could use to preserve their food.


All this to share a new word I learned: lagom

Part of speech: noun
Origin: Swedish, early 19th century
1.  The principle of living a balanced, moderately paced, low-fuss life.

Norwegians also use the word, lagom, to talk about living "just about right": the right amount, the right time, the right approach. How refreshing is this concept. It's so.... right!


May I remind you that "rightness" is more than a feeling- you know, fleeting emotions that derive from neurochemicals in the brain which are notoriously superficial and fickle.


Living a right life is being at peace with this moment in front of me- whatever it is. Someone sitting at a dinner table on the night before his murder surrounded by a traitor and 11 friends drew from this peace.


We can, too.