Gratitude, abundance and elephants

Another haircut, another Saturday in town. I am short-haired and loaded with money because of the generosity of the Norwegian government and so I buy that jewelry box they first displayed last year. It’s back and it’s available.

Wait, let me back up. First, let me thank the people who are made my cash flow possible: Workers who demonstrated for various rights back in the 1930’s (primarily). Thanks to them and workers before and after them, the Norwegian government ended up adapting several measures, inspired by the labor unions. Part of the labor law is the vacation law.

Several countries in Europe have this law. In Norway, we basically get four weeks plus one day (an extra week for those of us affected by labor unions and on top of all of this, regardless, another week for those over 60). We aren’t technically paid for the time off, so the employer is required to set aside a minimum of 10,2% of our gross pay. This is paid out in May or June and is roughly two net paychecks. Vacation is not a privilege, but a right and an obligation. Your boss can’t prevent you from ever taking a vacation, nor can you refuse to take one. Studies show that workers who get a minimum of three weeks off, especially consecutively, are more productive and happier at work. (Someone should tell the US to get the F— out of the 19th century, already.)

This year’s June pay slip, which is my vacation pay, also includes the 2007 bonus we qualified for (almost NOK 10,000 before taxes).

So, what do Norwegians do with all this extra cash? Some spend it on their vacation. A high number pay off bills (especially that balloon mortgage payment, something I did back when I first got my apartment) or shop with it. I will be paying off credit cards and what’s left will go into savings. I can still afford a trip.

My thoughts are not on this particular annual windfall, but on bigger things. I really want to try visioning some new realities into my life. The price hike on apartments in Norway have left people like me, a single-income household, unable to manage any loan large enough to buy something decent. So, on the bus on my way to town today, I mused about an environment-friendly, energy-efficient apartment in a local building project but an apartment there the same size as the one I’m in now costs more than twice what I can afford to borrow. But I’d like to live in something like that, so I was wondering where a good 2-3 million kroner would come from. How can I attract that, attract the apartment? I need to get my mind focused on the abundance.

I have a plan: It is exactly one month until my vacation starts (July 21), so I have decided to do as the book(s) say(s): In order to get abundance, you have to completely appreciate what you already have and then be just as grateful for the new to come. So 30 days is what it takes to get a new habit, so here I go on a new habit of appreciating what I have, including my vacation pay, current apartment, my now pain-free stomach, my job and more.

When I bought the jewelry box, the clerk told me that it was hand-made in India. “Oh, I should’ve realized,” I said, “it’s decorated with elephants.” The clerk told me those were symbols of good luck, especially since they were holding their trunks up high. “Who knows,” she said. “Maybe you’ll win the lottery.”

Maybe, indeed!

By Keera Ann Fox

I am a bi-lingual American who has lived most of my life in Norway.
Jeg er en tospråklig amerikaner som har bodd mesteparten av mitt liv i Norge.

3 replies on “Gratitude, abundance and elephants”

Interesting stuff. I bought some abundance incense for my car recently (what? doesn\’t everyone burn incense in their cars?!?), and it sounds like we\’re headed in similar directions. I generally feel that I have been successful at attaining a decent standard of living, but I, too, have been eying something that is beyond my means recently (I want to spend more time on the coast) and instead of telling myself not to be so silly, I\’ve actually been indulging the notion lately (I even subscribed to Coastal Living recently).I\’ll be adding your tips to my routine and will look forward to seeing what emerges from our efforts!


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