On long winters

Living in northern Europe means that light levels in winter are very low. The sun comes up after 9, sets before 5, and stays that way for a couple months. That affects different people differently, but it’s something that many people struggle with – seasonal depression, etc. Along with that, Lithuania has one of the highest suicide rates per capita in the world.

This Fall, a message appeared painted onto the sidewalks near our apartment. The days were getting longer, winter was around the corner, and someone took it upon themselves to paint “Ačiū, jog esi!” around the block. Translated into English, it says “Thank you for being” or “Thank you for existing”.

Aciu jog esi

It’s remained on the sidewalks for a few months now, and I find it encouraging – a non-official, non-sanctioned expression to those walking past that they matter. That they shouldn’t allow the darkness and the cold weather to drive them to depression or worse.