I know, I’m going out of order here if you are following me on Facebook or Instagram as well, but this seemed like a good spot to write about something I came across months ago in National Geographic: Friluftsliv.
Friluftsliv is what we all need to embrace right now. I wrote to the editor saying I was living it as I read the article. Like many Danish words, I can’t spell it without looking at it let alone pronounce it. It roughly translates to “open-air living” and is deeply ingrained in the Nordic heritage. Jen Rose Smith, a writer for National Geographic, wrote “From the remote Arctic to urban Oslo, friluftsliv [pronounced free-loofts-liv] means a commitment to celebrating time outdoors, no matter the weather forecast.”
Friluftsliv found me at yet another park: White Sands National Monument, the largest area of white gypsum sand dunes in the world. The park encompasses about half of it, protecting it. It’s majestic. It has the look and feel of snow, including buying sleds to slide down the dunes and plow marks where the keep the spaces and roads open. Many of the roads through the loop are covered in a white dusting, just like you would find in a light snow dusting up north before the sunshine washed it away.
In my industry page, I posted that by the powers not vested in me, I hereby rededicated the park the Orthodontic Lab National Monument. No, I did not make teeth, but we always used gypsum, plaster, to make molds of mouths to create our appliances. Before the change.
The world is going through a paradigm shift. We are in the age of masks. Lives and businesses have changed, possibly forever. I’m an old hand at this. I’m pretty damn good at it.
About 8-9 years ago, my industry went through a paradigm shift. Technology hit us like a tsunami. 3D printing, intraoral scanners and tens of thousands of dollars needing to be invested in software, hardware and machines that all lab owners never thought they would have to do. It was just a matter of time before the doctors would start opening up their pockets, so I did what I had to do, becoming one of the first small labs in the country that went 100% digital. Then, I went out, created a national association, and taught others how to adapt.
Everybody is still screwing it up in my opinion. Companies that I laid out the blue prints for to make millions ignored me. I see my ideas popping up here and there–without credit or payment of course, but that’s okay. A friend couldn’t adapt and took his life. An acquaintance did the same. I did what I had to do because it needed to be done.
“I think you are all still screwing up by not getting into the gypsum printer,” I wrote, “and 3dSystems (the company that owned it) is screwing up by not adapting to their new market.”
Everybody went with the resin printers. Plastics. Everybody hates the resin models for various reasons. And they print millions of them, probably enough by now to completely cover the 275 square miles of White Sands National Monument. Sticky, smelly, non bio degradable plastics. When there was a perfectly fine gypsum printer available, using the same material we had used for decades.
Everybody took the path of last resistance, the easiest way that the companies who did adapt offered them.
The lessons I learned in that paradigm shift I am seeing in daily life. Some people are not adapting, like the labs who are no more. Some are adapting, but not well, with their labs still in chaos. Some labs are adapting well and flourishing.
Friluftsliv is, what I see, the healthiest way to adapt to this new reality we live in. No, not everybody can do what I did and travel cross country and live it. I couldn’t really, but that is a longer story. But you can get outside, no matter the weather. Live. Create your “pods” that I heard about, the people creating groups where the continue the interaction with each other, trusting that everybody in the pod stays safe.
White Sands National Monument. How beautiful. I’m glad someone pointed it out to me. The only thing you have to be aware of is missiles. Seriously. About 20 miles south is the birthplace of American missile testing and there is still an active range. About 60 miles north is the first place they tested an atomic bomb.
Me? I’m going to go hiking again. Get into kayaking. Check out the snowy north and get back into winter sports. I always loved to ski and was once damn good at it. Not boasting here, but I took to it naturally. I stopped skiing a long time ago because, as a lab owner, I couldn’t afford to break anything from the waist up. Now, I can. I’m also checking out Indian motorcycles-I ran across a beautiful one somewhere in Washington State at another national park.
Aloha. Now, I’ll try to catch up on these columns in the proper order when I get up to San Francisco.