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Anxiety or Wellbeing in Romania. What will win?

I’m a sociologist and I run research for almost 20 years. My professional journey has been and continues to be amazing. Every project I get involved in makes me feel closer to people and get the feeling that I can really change something, even if our contribution is still modest in the great scheme of things. 

I’ve been through many years of research talking with people about how it is like to live in Romania and the talks were constantly becoming tensioned on the subject. “Romanians are thieves, lazy, unreliable, passive” …well-known epithets. I wasn’t so much worried about the content of these descriptors, but the tone of voice behind them. Worried, fearful, nervous.  Like Romanians participating to projects were talking about some invaders – the other Romanians –and their drama of having to live together.

I knew there was something wrong with these descriptors, but I have never jumped to include in reports verbatims of how bad Romanians think about their people. Precisely because right after getting the negativity out, people were ready to claim the positive sides as well “after all we are very creative, happy and welcoming people. We are not that bad”.

In a way I was feeling that all this anger was hiding a huge love suffocated by fear and frustration. Why fear? Why frustration? Not people fault, actually. People are born with similar potential anywhere on the Globe. The context they live in makes them change or develop differently. Romanians have never had an easy history and their position on the map was not among the privileged ones. We were forced to grow as a nation in the Europe’s uncertainty area, “between the worlds”, and that ready imprinted in our DNA. We are not more inclined towards stilling, or lazier, or worse than others. We are just anxious, scared, skeptical and, consequently, frustrated. And unfortunately we have supplied all these fears and frustrations for years. Discouragement was (still is) national weapon, mistrusting success and fearing failure were just bombs for any individual initiative.

The confirmation of the fact that Romanians are not at all such a horrifying nation is the fact that, in time, the storm of national shame has faded. We started to feel better with ourselves and with us, as Romanians. Even though we went through a new crisis, this brought us a lot of good. Because that wasn’t just  a Romanian crisis. This was the crisis of everybody. It helped us not to think that much of our fears, but rather on how to overcome them. It allowed us to see that all people are vulnerable and not just us. Wherever they are born. It helped us to find surprising resources in us, to avoid asking for help around, to raise on our feet and become more confident. And stronger. And prouder

We’ve been talking for the last three years with people that have completely changed. People that do not stop surprising us with every project. People searching continuously for ways to be and stay happy. And then to pass it over. It is true that they live in a world which functions parallel to marketing, communication, social and political, but soon their journeys will interfere. Romanians slowly recover. They will definitely change the way we do business, communication or politics in Romania. There is no way back

So, what happens to the people that want to live happily and in self harmony in Romania? We point below four major changes that trigger upcoming lifestyle trends:

  • Struggle for humanisation. In a fast, ultra-competitive and highly technologized world, people lack time to really feel what brings them value. Thus they try to simplify their choices using the authenticity and real emotion criteria. Is it real? Is it clean? Is it made by a human? Does the story make me emotional? Does it help me? 
  • Empowered community voice. Only today we can say Romanians understand the real meaning of “community” and the power behind this. A community is not a committee that gets stuck in procedures and has hidden interest. A community is a group of people gathered organically around an idea, a belief, a common objective, to the benefit of all. People understood that having trust in each other, communicating freely and working together they can change their lives for better.
  • Redefining traditional roles. People try not to live by customs anymore, but mainly aligned to what they want in life. They marry or have kids later, they get a job or work as freelancers. The traditional roles of men and women are challenged. They are rather partners todays, with equal share in job and household. With lower manifestations of vanity. Social standardisation gets weaker in front of personal choices. People tend to believe that you can start all over any time as long as you are alive and kicking. There is no dead end. 
  • Strength of slowing down. To stop running. To say ”that’s it, I can’t do more”. To win time for you by giving  up to what does not come as strict necessity. The strength to give up to material comfort for a different type of balance, the mental, interior one. A peace of mind. People in Romania talk more often about that. Many chose to implement it and are admired for that.

These appear to be the seeds of potential of tomorrow Romania. The shades of anxiety are slowly fading. The fear, frustration and mistrust are replaced by harmony, self confidence and peace of mind. Romanians are in a continuous search for personal wellbeing and are more willing than ever to share it with others. 

Maybe it will be a good idea to invent a word for that. For the new Romanians’ direction – that of wellbeing, of relaxation, of inner harmony. Maybe it will be interesting to create a people dictionary of happy life for Romanians. Like Danish people have Hygge, Japanese have Ikigai or Spanish have Fiesta (or siesta ☺) We could have a Romanian concept of peace of mind, emotional stability and good life. That could keep us on the right track for a long time, irrespective of how times are.



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