Tobias Vemmenby

Thinking, making & writing…


Thanksgiving 2018

Thanksgiving is one of those American peculiarities I really wish we would adopt in Europe. A day and feast devoted to being thankful is a fantastic idea! Not to mention it, at least in theory, helps put a stopgap between summer and Christmas along with Halloween. I know full well this isn’t really the case, but nevertheless.

I’m Scandinavian. And like a lot of stereotypes, the one about us northerners being less than gushing is perhaps at least vaguely based in reality… That is to say, while I have managed to introduce a ‘Thanksgiving-esque’ feast in November as a family tradition, I have not been as successful with the ‘going round the table’ part. And frankly I don’t think I can think of many things that would make a Scandinavian family more uncomfortable if I did.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to share that I am thankful. Because I am. And this year, this fall especially, has left me realising I have things to be thankful for. Even if it doesn’t always feel that way. It’s almost like when things really suck, I’ve felt like I really want to show appreciation of what I do have.
And so, here follows a list of some of the things I am feeling particularly thankful for this year.


Ok, so this one is perhaps boring and trite to some. But I do mean it. Without my family I’d likely be in a pretty bad place, or at least I would have a few years back when everything blew up. They help me, I help them and I’m lucky to have them. I am very thankful for everything they do, and everything they’ve become.


I’m becoming more and more amazed at how things seem to work out. This doesn’t mean life is just gravy, but I’ve noticed that things fit together very neatly lately. Not all the time, but I have this increasing sensation of being led down the right path. Whatever it is, I am grateful for it, because it feels amazing every time I realise and feel it.
This fits in to a larger system of magic that has made its presences ever more present and clear in my life. I believe in magic, and I am very thankful for it. I don’t claim to be a magician in any way, but I do believe in it. I believe it’s real. I’m experiencing it daily. And for that, I am truly grateful!


I’ve been going Keto for a fair amount of time, and I was certainly not one of those ‘go Keto and all your troubles go away’ people. But I’ve steadily improved. My body has become healthier. I’ve lost 25 kg in all so far. My mind has become healthier. It’s not just my diet that has helped heal me, but it has been a huge contributing factor. I can feel it whenever I decide to cheat. The old internal hell is right there if I were to want it; cake-piece by cake-piece. I am very thankful that I found the lifestyle, and decided to stick with it.


Leaving therapy aside, the other great big change I’ve done in my life is take up meditation in a big way. Over the summer I even meditated for a minimum one hour a day. Right now that feels a little much as a daily practice for me, but still I sit every day with a goal of 30 minutes. Most of the time I reach that, and more. This too is something I can’t even imagine living without anymore. I am so grateful that I decided to explore mindfulness and didn’t just ignore it because New Age and hipsters.

My pain

A number of years ago now I injured my back, and as a result I am living with chronic pain. Whether or not I’ll have to endure it for life probably depends on many factors. But the important point is, mostly I can handle it now. Mindfulness, listening to my body, a change in lifestyle and so forth have helped. A lot.
Yet it’s complicated. On the one hand, I would love to not be on a constant scale of pain. (It’s mostly bearable…) But it has also spurred me into making some very important changes that I wouldn’t want to be without. And, to that, it acts a something of a bellwether for my wellbeing now. Truly, this fall has meant more painkillers than I’ve had in quite a while, but exploring this excess of pain also gave me reason to remember listening to my self. Not done, but I am listening.
Yes, there are downsides. Not least that I had to ditch my further studies last year, and it affects my singing. And yet, I am thankful for the pain. Ultimately it has given me a second chance. Without it I would still be spiralling downward.


Last year I lost several of my feline friends. Nina and Hittepå were tough losses in may ways. But the worst one was Tyr. I was there when he was born. We spent almost every day together in some way. He was there during some of the roughest times in my life. We had a bond that was much more like that of man and dog. Having him, and being there for him when he had to move on is something I am still deeply grateful for.
This year another hairy friend almost left, but thankfully Winnie made it through. And the other three are doing well, though they are getting on in age. I am thankful they all have their health and enrich my life daily.


This, too, may strike you as a bit of a strange one. If you know me that is. I am, as they say, not particularly lucky in love. I’ve had very, very few relationships. I find it difficult, at best, to find love. And rarely do I find it reciprocated. Or perhaps I don’t know how to show a woman I love her. But the end result is very much the same. Lonely evenings and an empty bed beside me. So what is there to be thankful for?
See, nearly a year ago this woman I’d known fo a little while; well, rumour had it she was suddenly single after a long relationship. Up to that point I had never really looked twice at her because she was, as the saying goes, taken. Now though? Did I like her? Yes, yes I did. And I started to realise just how much. She was… is beautiful, funny, elegant, pretty, sexy; in short wonderful. But just as I started realising that what I actually did was falling in love with her, I got the news.
My intel was bad! She had either never left her boyfriend, or gone back to him (still not sure), and they were now moving in together. That was not a fun day. Not one bit.
Being in unrequited love sucks! I am trying to move on, but the process you know. Takes time and all that. So why am I thankful for all this?
For two reasons really. The first is: I did fall in love. In it self, I truly believe that is a beautiful beautiful thing. Secondly, she has added so much to my life without even knowing it. I am happier and a better man for even having known her.
I understand that this might sound a little fake to some. And I am not unaware of that I’m unlikely to ever to hold her, caress her, tell her how wonderful she is. Never the less, right now, my heart finds her the image of perfection. Even if I have to move on (eventually) and intently wish I could at least tell her how I feel; I remain truly thankful for feeling love.


Let’s face it, we all like stuff. I do too. Frankly I love a lot of it. I do try to make sure I’m not attached to it to the point of it controlling me. But I’m very thankful for it nevertheless. Be it my MacBook, my car, or a good pair of shoes. I’m very grateful for the stuff I have. I want new and better things yes; but I already have a lot of great things too!
So yes, I am thankful for MacBooks, headphones, books, movies, knives, cars, clothes, pretty things, useful things and nice things and lots of things besides. I don’t want them to rule my life, but I do want them in my life.

Giving thanks

For all these things and more I am so very grateful. It has been an eventful year, and I have grown a lot. Is life perfect? Yes it is. In that it isn’t. Would I want things to be different? In some ways, yes. In others, no. I am happy. I wouldn’t mind being happier. But I am thankful. And that; that is something to build on.

What are you thankful for?

Let's get this blog going!

It's been a long time since I last wrote anything. Life has had a peculiar knack for getting in the way, not least lately. However, turning 37 the other day, made me think that it was time. Time to get back to the pen! Whip out the ol' keyboard and dust of my website.

I have no idea where this little project might lead, but if I've realised anything thus far in life it's that most of the best things start off as little acorns and in time beget very interesting and wondrous things.

Here's to creativity!