According to the purveyors of ‘must-do’ lifestyle trends, everyone should be doing life Danish style right now.
hygge (pronounced hue-gah)
This Danish word is a feeling or mood that comes from taking genuine pleasure in making ordinary everyday things simply extraordinary; whether it’s making coffee a verb by lingering over a cup to a cosy evening in with friends to lighting a candle with every meal.
Frankly I’m too old and cynical to be in constant pursuit of ‘the next big thing’, but I’m not in the business of hating anything popular. I know this FOR A FACT because I recently completed a Buzzfeed quiz which confirmed I am 52% hipster, 48% basic. On the surface I might look hipster AF, but I own a Justin Beiber CD. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunities kinda gal.
But this hygge thing is insane!
At what point did we as a human race get so entrenched in wanting and buying and using and consuming and discarding that we have to be told how to slow down, how to notice the little things, how to socialise, how to enjoy a goddamn cup of coffee?
I’m well aware the Scandinavians literally do everything better, I really am. In wildly sweeping generalised terms: they live longer, they look better and IKEA is a marvel, the linchpin of every trendy, low-income household.
But I know how to savour the taste of a cup of tea instead of pouring the scalding hot liquid down my gullet as I rush around getting ready for work in the morning. I also know that I should eat at the table for every meal instead of on the couch in front of the TV, and most definitely not at my desk whilst I respond to my 400th email of the day. I also know that a night in sharing a bottle of red wine with my best friend is infinitely better than sending her idiotic videos on Snapchat.
I actually want to surround myself with friends and family and have a jolly old time at all times of the year, thanks very much.
I also know that I instinctively want to hibernate in winter. I want to light candles and wrap myself up in cashmere. I want to eat things that warms me to my very soul. I love the sound of russet-coloured leaves crunching underfoot and I will always, ALWAYS savour the smell of an open fire.
Thing is, this is not a new methodology for life, particularly in the winter. It’s why we celebrate the Harvest Festival. This tradition has somewhat fallen out of favour for most modern-day folk, but it pre-dates Christianity as a very spiritual time to give thanks for the year’s crop and come together to survive winter.
But herein lies the point of the matter: sometimes it is too complicated trying to make life that simple.
That when we move 100 miles an hour, it can be hard to make time for the little things. You can’t while away an evening with your best friend because she lives a hundred miles away, so dog-filter silliness will have to do. When all you want to do is slip into your cashmere bed socks and read Hemmingway, but the cat has just been sick on the floor.
If the most you can do is shoddily pour your soup into a bowl instead of a Tupperware box and grab 10 minutes with an easy-read novel on your Kindle, then good for you. Tick that off as a win for today.
Enjoy any fad you want. Just realise that trying to fit yourself and your life into The Perfect Ideal can be soul-destroying.
Hygge is great, but sanity is better.