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  • Writer's pictureEphemeral & Faithful

Fika: Slowing Down to Appreciate Life and Friendships

Fika (n) [fee-kah]

I love learning words from different languages and cultures and exploring their significance as sometimes they can sum up an entire feeling, state of being, visual pleasure, or action that the English language cannot. One of these words is "fika", which is a word that is apart of the Swedish language. It originated in the 19th century from the word "kaffi", which means "coffee" in Swedish. Basically, fika means to have coffee and usually sweet pastries with friends. Sounds good enough to me! I do love my coffee. However, the word goes much deeper than just coffee and pastries in the Swedish culture. It is the embodiment of fellowship, camraderie, connection, and taking time to get to know others. It's a very casual social time where folks get together and enjoy the pleasures of chit chat. Fika is used at many workplaces for networking or to get to know coworkers better, as a way to become acquainted with a possible romantic interest, and simply as a relaxed way to spend a sliver of time with a friend. It is a deliberate action to slow down and step away from the daily hustle and bustle, reflect upon the meaningful and good things of life, and recharge by treating yourself to fellowship and food.

In the American culture, we are focused so much on productivity. It's almost an addiction, and one can be looked upon as lazy if you do not do something productive each day. Now don't get me wrong, I find high value in productivity! I am a very achievement driven person...it was even my 2nd highest strength on the popular StrengthsFinder test. I start to go a bit insane if I do not accomplish at least one productive thing daily...the more the better! I truly love to work and take great delight in doing tasks where I see results, such as cooking, gardening, and cleaning. It gives me a feeling a satisfaction and pleasure, and provides me with what I see to be appropriate grounds to relax. However, I fail often to find a balance with work life or other productive tasks and find benefit in slowing down. Constant productivity does not make for healthy boundaries in life nor allow for vital relationship building and fellowship. Friendships are one of the most treasured things in life, and I want to do my best to invest more time in building the bonds with my fellow sisters and brothers. Being in quarantine for 7 weeks away from those I love has made me realize how valuable friends are and how much more I should invest in these relationships and balance productivity in a healthy way.

So with all that being said, I encourage you to embrace this Swedish tradition by starting to set aside some time aside for fika. Grab a friend (or a few!), hit up your favorite café or coffee shop, put away the cell phone and laptop, and relish in connecting with humanity and reflecting upon the good things in life. Who will you have fika with today?

"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." ~ Proverbs 17:17
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