It’s no surprise to most of you that I’ve worked very hard on simplifying my life. Two and a half years ago, I up and quit my job as a television anchor just so I could take a breath. It was a ten-plus year career, built on decades of refining my craft, going to school, moving to city after city, job after job. It was supposed to be everything I ever wanted. But two years ago, I just walked away. I don’t know what it’s like to divorce someone, but it sorta felt like I had walked away from a deeply cultivated relationship that had turned volatile and unforgiving. It was hard to not look back. It was terrifying to think of myself as apart from that life. It was agonizing when I realized the newsroom wasn’t going to beg me to come back. (Much like a rich ex-husband, the newsroom was just going to go out and hire a younger, prettier version of me… which it did.) I had to just press on and figure out what my life would be without it. Little did I know, I’d set out on a quest for hygge. (Okay, I had NO IDEA what hygge was at the time…bear with me.)
Simply learning to breathe took me almost two years and I’m only now just learning to open my eyes and really see the things in front of me. I sort of feel ashamed to say that – but it’s true. I’d been a head down, reach for the next rung, ‘my life is the rat race’, take no prisoners kind of person my entire life. But you know what they say – there is always a crack in the darkness; that’s where the light gets in.
Eventually, the light does ‘get in’ and in my case, it lead me down a wandering path towards a happier marriage, motherhood, friendship and entrepreneurship. For the record, my life now is WAY scarier than my days in the newsroom ever were, but the newfound lightness in my steps is remarkable.
Finding my breath, however, also allowed me to awaken to my surroundings in a new way. I found KonMari two years ago and something about it spoke to me. (You can read our journey here.) I realized I had been filling my personal life with junk, things, accumulation of ‘whatever the f**k’ to distract from the fact that I knew I was failing in almost every aspect of my life besides my professional career. Once I let go of the career, I was able to see that I wasn’t enjoying my things, I was just owning them – or rather, they were owning me.
Now that Dan and I have gone through KonMari and I feel incredible success in terms of my new learned ability to assess what I own and chose to bring into my physical environment, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to now ENJOY my new space and, for all intents and purposes, my new life.
Enter the Danish concept of Hygge.
I feel like I’ve always been on a quest for Hygge, but I only just discovered its name.
Hygge is sort of hard to explain, but its essence is ‘cozy’, ‘warm’, ‘small’ and difficult to see unless you truly open your eyes and invite it in. It is found in spontaneity; in sitting cross legged in the floor playing board games with your husband and drinking a robust glass of Merlot while the baby sleeps in her swing. It’s washing the breakfast dishes at the kitchen sink while watching the morning light change across the water. It’s hot coffee after a brisk walk in the snow.
You know what? If KonMari is the art of sparking joy, then Hygge is the act of collecting joy.
Hygge is a MILLION things and ONE thing all at the same time.
We recently had a big stormy Saturday and Dan and Piper and I hit up the bookstore before the snow flew to make sure we were well prepared in case of a power outage. I grabbed Marie Tourell Soderberg’s ‘Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness’ and devoured it while curled up on the daybed in the rec room with Buddy. In the postscript to the book, Soderberg describes Hygge:
“Hygge moments are the small everyday moments that make you happy. The best of them are bright and shining like stars. Having a word for it makes you aware that they are right in front of your eyes. Ready for you to collect.”
She explains that hygge in a home means it’s not full of things that don’t matter (much like the concept behind KonMari). It is functional, but only insofar as that function promotes community, friendships and gathering. Candles and light are a focus because in Denmark (like much of Canada) the winter days are extremely short and the darkness can be overwhelming.
Here’s a list of ways to invite Hygge into your life! (Pin this and Share it if you want)
As I was reading the book, I realized I was experiencing hygge! AND it cemented my desire to find more of it. So I’ll start by figuring out a way to keep our day bed in our plans for the playroom. Dan built it for me with his own two hands and it makes me incredibly happy just to see it. We were going to give it away or dismantle it to make room for a fancy new sofa – but that moment, reading that book, cozy with my dog, a cup of lemon tea and a bowl of #stormchips made me see it another way.
The day bed invites hygge. And hygge is what I want.
It also cemented in me a desire to expand this blog. I’ve been wanting to do it for sometime, but now feels like exactly the right time to do it. I can tell by how much you (my readers) engage with the stuff I put out there about our new family that it will work (at least I hope so!) I’m going to start off slowly, but I hope to have at least a couple of posts per month dedicated to family. I started this blog because I love projects and I wanted a creative outlet. I have kept this blog running for almost FIVE years because I love what it does for my family, what it means to me and I love feeling that I’ve helped to build a small community. I want to share that passion and joy with you beyond just building, crafting and decorating – because without family, who’s it all really for anyway? Hygge is about creating spaces for gathering… so I plan to now talk more about the essence of that.
I have Sparked Joy… now, it’s time for me to see joy and collect it.
I wish you all hygge 🙂 (<–Pretty sure if someone Danish reads that, it’ll make no sense. But you get my intention, right?) 😉
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