by Ian Doescher
It’s always affirming when you hear about a concept that existed before you knew about it, which validates something that already happens in your life. For example, being afraid of horses and realizing there’s already a concept for equinophobia (the fear of horses).
This happened to me recently, when my spouse Jennifer and I learned of the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced HOO-guh). Hygge is, essentially, the idea of the cozy life. Especially during these winter months, hygge is all about lighting candles, snuggling under warm blankets, having tea (soothing) instead of coffee (frenetic), and generally being peaceful and serene.
Jennifer and I naturally cultivate these things in our life, so hygge was, as I said, a validating concept. We were doing something that, evidently, is already a thing in Denmark.
My friend Tom recently told me that he rarely watches serious movies or television. By “serious,” he meant he doesn’t watch a lot of dramas. Instead, he contents himself with comedies (The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, on Netflix, is a favorite of both of ours). Tom explained that his own life can provide the drama, the seriousness, so when he sits down to watch a movie or watch TV he wants to be entertained, taken away. He wants to laugh.
The world is a frighteningly serious place sometimes. We don’t need to be any more cold and frantic (or whatever the opposite of hygge is) or dramatic than we already are.
As 2017 begins, I’m trying to cultivate more hygge and more laughter in my life. At home, at work, in all my activities, I’m trying to be more in tune to what is good, what is peaceful, what helps me appreciate life. In the end, we all deal with stress, busy-ness, and some drama. But it is the other things–the hygge things, the fun things, the things and the people we love–that matter most.