Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My wishes for 2010

My wishes for 2010?

I live in Europe and it is since long I envy the people living in Sweden.
My wish for 2010 and later is that we, from the rest of Europe, come to understand what is real HIGH QUALITY life.
I too the licence to copy the following written by a Swedish (actually an American who smartly some time ago understood what many still do not and may be never will)

"After having made the move to Sweden 22 tears ago, my brother (who then shared our rent-controlled Manhattan apartment - but who know owns his Upper East Side digs plus a house in Southampton) finally admits that I made the right choice. He made a fortune as a stock broker, had to quit in 2008 because of the risk for post-crash lawsuits and now is desperately holding on to what he's got.
I live an hour from Stockholm in a modest house by the sea (powered by hydro electricity) and commute to my job in the city in European-style comfort thanks to our stellar transit system; 100 bucks a month for unlimited travel within a radius of about 100 miles. I had a car for a few years when my daughter was a toddler but ditched it when she got big enough to use public transit with me - which she prefers. We ride with our laptops and mobile broadband, me clocking work hours and she learning math and language, or we read books or just talk (How many parents get 2 hours daily right next to their kid without having to clutch a steering wheel?). We have 3 different composts which transforms ALL our waste (yes, even human) into soil for our yard and garden. Before selling the car it had been used as a greenhouse in the Spring. Our summers are spent on a mahogany sailboat that sleeps 3 but requires no motor.
I dare say our quality of life is superior to my brother's life of luxury, which requires 2 cars and endless hours of six lane highway-driving. Yet I do it on about a fifth of the income. I get 7 weeks more than the standard European 5 week vacation, when comfortable, punctual trains will take me thousands of miles if I choose to travel. Healthcare, daycare and education are all free here (and we can choose on both fronts among a wealth of both public and private providers). Violent crime is infrequent, since guns are strictly controlled and American-style poverty is non-existant.
All told I pay about 50% of my income in taxes - about the same as my brother considering his tax bracket and property taxes in NYC and LI.
The tragedy is not only that it took my brother over 2 decades and an unprecedented economic crisis before realizing that there is a better "way of life", but that we had to lose each other's company so I could find it."
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