I am serving a sentence in a Norwegian prison

Yes, I know, the title of this post has probably surprised you, but I wanted to be clear and precise, and I think the title is perfect. I don’t want to give away too many details about what this post is going to be about just yet; I’ll keep you in suspense a little longer. I’ll just tell you that even though the title might sound alarming, everything is not only under control but I’m also delighted… Let´s get started.

“Why that title, Nuria?” “What’s going on with you these days?” “You seem a bit negative,” “I don’t like what you’re talking about,” haha. I’m sorry; I wanted to start by responding to your comments about me (from some of you). They’re funny but not very constructive. Come on, guys, a bit more encouragement… Anyway, let me get to the point, I get side tracked all the time.

Before we begin, you need to know, what’s a prison in Norway like? Well, a Norwegian prison is luxurious. The country’s prison system includes cells with hotel-like comforts and recreational activities with the guards, whom they call “mentors.” Individual cells with en-suite bathrooms, a fridge, flat-screen TV, a desk, and a beautiful forest view. Sounds awesome, right? NOk, now let´s try to understand the title.

As you know, I take care of my mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s (senile dementia), and we can’t leave her alone for a second at home. Since I’m her primary caregiver, I can’t leave my house too often. I don’t really complain much, but it’s true that sometimes, after, say, a week without seeing the light of day, I get a bit depressed and complain a bit.

The other day was one of those days when I felt like complaining a bit, and my son chimed in and said, “Mom, don’t be such a complainer; just imagine you’re serving a sentence in a Norwegian prison.” And I was like, “What???” And he said, “Come on, Mom, be cultured and look up what I’m telling you,” and he continued: “Look, just because it’s you, I can give you parole for a couple of hours on Sunday,” and I said, “Parole? Why?” He didn’t say anything else and just walked out the door freely (he’s not serving any sentence).

All of this made me reflect. First, I researched this whole prison thing, and I thought, well, if I ever have to commit a crime, I know where to go now. Then I thought, in a way, he’s right. I mean, I don’t consider it a sentence, but I am somewhat sentenced to being in my house with limited freedom. But I could be in a worse place. First, I have time to be with my mother in her final days. I have time to do all my nonsense (like writing in this blog). I have time to meditate and exercise whenever I want. I can sneak out for a short walk in the neighborhood at times. They deliver food to my house. I can do whatever I damn well please whenever I want… Seriously, what more do I want?

Over the four years of my mother’s illness, I’ve been accepting each thing as it comes, adapting, and learning to live in a different way. I’m already a pro at forming new habits in changing situations and at reacting or not reacting to everything happening around me. It’s true that I’ve been a bit negative and desperate for a few months, but I think it’s normal, and I have to allow myself to have a down moment every now and then. I’m grateful to all those people who always, always send me messages of support without any unsolicited advice, and I ask those people who are constantly giving me unsolicited advice (I appreciate it) to please only give me advice when I ask for it.

That’s all for today… Oh, I wanted to tell you that my last post, “Congratulations Nuria, you’ve failed,” struck a chord with some people. As a result of that, I have another post prepared to expand on it and share the responses from each of you… But I just want to give you a little preview: one person called me and said, “Nuria, you say in your post that you should congratulate someone when someone dies, well, my sister-in-law just passed away, should I congratulate my husband?” and I said, “Well, of course, my friend” (all in good humor, don’t worry). That is all for now, let´s talk later.