A Vikings Guide to the World

“Havamal” translated to “Sayings of the High One” are a series of Norse (Viking) sayings in poetic verse intended as life advice.  After reading these quips, I chose #51.

51. Hotter than fire
love for five days burns
between false friends;
but is quenched
when the sixth day comes,
and friendship is all impaired.

In simple terms: Superficial friendships appear strong while they last, but when the passion leaves, the friendship fails.

As the end of senior year is on the horizon, I’ve been thinking frequently of friendships.  In only eight or so months, I’ll most likely be in another city, or state, entirely–away from my friends and everyone I know and love in College Station.  With this realization has come a renewed sense of urgency to spend as much time with current friends as well as making as many new friends as possible.  This advice was an important reminder that friendships forged in haste rarely last longer than the time it took to create them.  Spending my time trying to arbitrate connection with people whom I barely know will probably not prove successful.  Rather, acting with patience toward my friends and allowing friendships to occur naturally rather than trying hard to create them, will prevent these bonds from becoming “impaired.”

Similarly, in Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, the passion of the two star-crossed lovers makes their bond seem invincible; however, it quickly becomes apparent that they hardly know each other, can’t communicate, and act in haste.  These facets of their relationship all contribute to the briefness of their relationship, reinforcing this viking saying. Hats off (those metal ones with the horns), to the Vikings for having some life observations that transcend 1000 years of human social evolution.




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