I’m jumping on this here bandwagon and I’m not even a little bit sorry.
One of the buzz words of the moment and a term that recently went viral online (over 1.5 million tags on Insta). It seems that the world can’t get enough of this Danish gem of a word and I’m not surprised. I can’t imagine anyone wanting a life without hygge once you’ve become familiar with it.
There are scores of books written about this little five letter word and they all wrestle with defining it. It’s hard to quantify. It’s about capturing that moment in time, when all is well with the world. You know, that moment when you sigh a happy sigh and wish you could preserve how that moment makes you feel, for the rest of your days on this earth. They say the Danes are among the happiest people in the world. They have their culture of hygge to thank for this reputation.
Hygge – Pronounced hoo-gah: A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (Oxford Dictionary).
What I love about Hygge is that it’s different for everyone. It could be sitting on the beach, wrapped in your thickest blanket as the sun sets behind the sea. It could be curled up in front of an open fire, watching the flames flicker and crackle. It could be reading in your comfy chair by candlelight while the rain pours down outside. For some it involves food. For most it involves candlelight or fires. For everyone it involves a sense of cosiness, quiet satisfaction and calm.
There’s nothing airy-fairy about it. It’s not mystical or magical. It doesn’t cost money. We’ve all experienced it at some point in our lives, we’ve just not put a label on it and called it hygge. It happens when we strip back all the complications of our world, all the white noise, all the busyness. It happens when we dial the speed right down and we make time to just be.
No agenda. No competing. No rushing trying to get stuff done.
A few years ago we took the girls camping for the first time. On the last evening they settled into their sleeping bags and wooly hats (a bit of a novelty for them) and Mr C and I sat in our camping chairs just ouside the zipped door as they whispered and giggled together. We wrapped ourselves in blankets, sipped on red wine out of plastic cups and looked up at Mount Snowden. It wasn’t extravagant or luxurious. But it couldn’t have been more hygge. And it was perfect.
I don’t believe our purpose is just to exist. Life is so much more than that.
But it can get too busy. Unnecessarily busy. We moved our little family to the Dales seeking out a simple life in the country. One where only the important stuff matters. Two and a half years on I love my life but we know we could do with more hygge moments.
And so in 2017 I will be consciously pursuing a life more hygge. As we pack away the glitz of Christmas for another year and move into what is widely agreed to be the more miserable months, there couldn’t be a better time for embracing cosy contentment. Evenings by candlelight. Looking at human faces rather than a digital screen. Nibbling on yummy food. Reading. Talking. Laughing. Listening – sometimes just listening. Making a mental note of everything I have to be thankful for.
Not striving. Not trying to prove ourselves. Not achieving. Just being. And bloomin’ well enjoying it. Not even the British weather can put a dampener in this.
I don’t think this comes naturally. Not to me anyway. I’m goal driven so if I’m not trying to achieve, I’m trying to work out how something can be done. I like lists and plans. So it’ll be a learning curve. I’ll forget, and let the clutter of life creep back in. I’ll try too hard to manufacture the perfect conditions and probably have a near-miss with hot candle wax. I’ll want my fix of Instagram at the wrong time and reach for my phone just as Mr C sits down next to me because I wasn’t in that moment. My girls will likely growl like wounded wolves when I call an evening off the grid with no technology. But this will be our journey as a family. To learn to slow down together. To remember to enjoy each other. To be content in the moment as a unit, a pack, a tribe of five.
2017: So here begins a year of hygge…
Mrs C x