“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?” – Marty McFly
It was the summer of 1985 and I was in the USA staying with my dad. We watched Back to the Future in the movie theatre and it became a film that stayed with me forever.
In the UK, it was a time when people met up more, a time when consumerism of goods hadn’t become so throw away, and a time when shops closed every Wednesday afternoon.
“If my calculations are correct when this baby hits 88MPH, you’re gonna see some serious s***”
Living in Denmark in 2019 can be like living back in 1985.
A life with one car families. People spending a lot more time outside. Social skills are highly valued, and TV watching well balanced. Oh, and high street shopping is very much alive and kicking too.
It’s not all white t-shirts and Levi’s however, Denmark is a mix of old and new. It’s a country whose population is made up of tech-savvy people who love early adoption of devices and technology.
The key difference between 2019 in the UK & USA and 2019 in Denmark is mostly a mindset.
Technology compliments Danish life, it doesn’t drive it.
Take me back to the future
Going back in time isn’t all good.
I love the calm, I love simplicity. I don’t love Sunday with not much is open and very little going on outside of the city.
During the week, local shops and post offices close for lunch. They really do! The busiest time in a UK post office (if you’re lucky enough to have a post office) is lunchtime. I honestly don’t know how Danes can do personal chores outside of working hours. It’s increasingly obvious they do it in their workday and employers are sympathetic to it.
Our doctor’s surgery doesn’t even have a website. It’s so old school there’s a piece of paper sellotaped to the front door with the phone number and opening hours (which are 9-5, Mon – Frid btw).
Back to mindset
The 1980s felt like the last decade of calm. Busy lives were left to the bankers, CEO’s and fast-paced white-collar workers. It all started to change towards the end of the decade when Thatcherism pivoted society towards less community and more ‘what’s in it for me’?
Thankfully not so in Denmark, where it’s poor taste to think you’re better than the next person just because you have more money. The villains in Danish movies will often be rich people and it feels like being successful is more about living a happy life than the car you drive and money you make.
White poo all over again…
So I’ll take going back in time, as it comes with calm, simple and unselfish living.
I’m not sure about the white dog poo though? Remember that? It was everywhere in 1985, and it’s all over the place in my local neighbourhood right now in 2019.
Where’s my DeLorean?…
I hope you enjoyed episode 4 of Notes from a Small Country? Please give me feedback directly or in the comments. Which part was your favourite? What do you want to see more or less of? Other suggestions? Let me know!
See you next week for Episode 5.
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Marcus Purvis leads software engineering teams at Unity Technologies, the realtime development platform of choice for video games, movies and more. He’s also learning to write inspiring content on LinkedIn, Medium and here at marcuspurvis.com
Originally published as part of LinkedIn newsletters here: Marcus Purvis Newsletters