Whilst creating a resilient mindset is central to what we do here, a massive proponent of our journey is looking into icons. By that I mean those we as a society ordain as figures held in the utmost regard, those we aspire toward. There are so many of these people that have less than no business being aspirational figures, if that’s even a word. No complaining here, we as a people have chosen these people, so we as a people need to turn the right people into our icons. This is absolutely something that is integral to us.
However, today I want to look at someone I consider to be an icon, an inspirational figure. I want to talk about the special person that is Daniel. a co-founder of NORSE Life.
People being a product of their environment, or the events of their lives is a popular concept with good reason; regardless of if they define us entirely, we are certainly shaped by our pasts for both better and worse. I think one of the things that makes Daniel so special, is that the person he is could be entirely different based directly on those events that have befallen him along with the life he chose to live.
Daniel chose to venture directly into the heart of darkness, serving for the Swedish army, deployed into conflict zones for a cause he believed was just, entirely epitomizing doing what is right regardless of the journey it takes to get there. His memories do not mirror the images we may have of what it means to serve, subconsciously shaped by movies and escapist fantasy. War is not just heroic acts of valour, stories to tell your grandchildren and fighting the good fight. It’s seeing your friends die, it’s a constant feeling of discomfort, and is by no means glamorous. A mindset of knowing mistakes can cost both you and those around you their lives, and living by that every second of the day. I will be forever grateful to Daniel and anyone else who takes the decision to put themselves in harms way for greater good and comfort of both those around them, and people they will never personally meet. On a personal level I like to remind myself of these obstacles, these literal do or die situations he and so many others have been in to help contextualize my own problems and struggles. Not simply to trivialize them in an attempt to simply brush them aside – but as a reality check reminder. I am not in the darkest of nights, I will always find lights to help guide my way, and our mountains always look biggest looking up at them.
Being in such situations where you have to do whatever it takes to stay alive, you would afford those coming through the fires to have a bleaker outlook of people and what they are capable of. In what is viewed as one of the most progressive and accepting cities in the world, Daniel was attacked in Stockholm following his military service. The attack was opportunistic simply to take his mobile phone by people he had never come in contact, leaving him with what we would see now as permanent damage.
He is required to take daily pain medication for constant numbing pain in his neck. He struggles with movements that require his arms over his head. He needs to check for things most don’t even think about; changes in pressure can severely impact his days, his sleep cycles make more of a difference than a quadruple espresso, served in a litre of red bull, and his short term memory has been negatively impacted, requiring him to put measures in place to hold on to memories most can recall at a whim. He was told due to the medication it was to be expected that he would never be a father.
All of this, because someone decided they wanted to take low end functioning mobile phone from a passerby rather than work for it. All of these life changes stemmed from the greed of individuals who thought nothing of what all actions inevitably bring: Consequence.
Daniel ventured absolutely truly into the darkness. Upon his return he was greeted once more by the vile side of humanity which would twist so many of us with a bitterness toward it, showing its ugliest of forms. It’s entirely human to hold a grudge to those that mistreat you. But Daniel is different. He is better than the people that caused him to adapt his lifestyle in such drastic ways. Daniel is the purest message of what it means to be a good person. He treats friends like family, and complete strangers like long lost friends. He will always see the good in people first.
Daniel is not simply a product of his environment. He is not bitter. He is not wary of people; not in the slightest. He is a great friend, selflessly looking out for the best of those around him. He is a loving son to his parents. He is a proud father and husband.
Daniel is, was, and always will be; my light in the darkness.
For The Pack,