March 1, 2019 – Mumbai, India
A while ago, I stumbled across the concept of “hygge” (pronounced “huggah”) on social media, and decided to do a thorough analysis of the concept, and chanced upon Meik Weiking’s book “the little book of hygge”.
What is “hygge”? To quote, Meik Weiking, from his book, “The little book of Hygge: The Danish way to live well”, ““Hygge” has been called everything from “the art of creating intimacy,” “coziness of the soul,” and “the absence of annoyance,” to “taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things,” “cozy togetherness,” and my personal favorite, “cocoa by candlelight”.”
For me, “hygge” is taking it easy, being in the presence of loved ones, enjoying the moment with laughter, friends, and simple living. It is being comfortable with who I am, in my small cozy flat, surrounded by my plants reading on my bean bag, staying at home on a weekend night, and just reading or relaxing. It is Sunday afternoons cuddled up on a bean bag or on a diwan, with the sweet smell of spices, and looking up at the canopy of green leaves outside my window. It is sipping tea, surrounded by essential oils diffusing in the background, and playing board games with a bunch of friends or just chatting, and eating some soul food.
I am a complete type A personality – loving to run from one activity to another, and I need to be constantly busy. I can’t sit still for even a minute. Gradually, in the past year, I think however, I have learned to discover myself, and I have learnt to slow down willingly, and honestly I am starting to love it. That is a bit scary for someone like me, because it means a complete change from the fast paced life I am used to. It does not mean that I will stop running or working out or just being active – that it is an integral part of me, it just means there are days where I am happy and comfortable taking it easy.
Earlier, I would eat out in fancy hotels and restaurants (and most times I would go, because it was what was expected of me in the social circles I was or because of what was “expected”) – I have slowly realized that I no longer enjoy the experience or the food, because I was never doing this for myself. I have slowly learn to be comfortable with who I am, and what I want, and that’s perfectly fine. For me that is “hygge” again.
All over the world (and I think this is particularly more in Asia), we are obsessed with the idea of being “busy” (believe me, I am one of these people). We love to say “we are busy”, “we have a huge to do list”, and have to pencil people in. Slowly, you realize that sometimes you just do this to run away from your self, from your feelings, and what you really want. Why is this relevant to “hygge” – it is, because a larger part of the “hygge life” is leading a simple life, doing things that make you happy – you don’t have to be busy all the time, you just have to do what makes you happy.
Social media is great (believe me I am a great fan, and I use it to promote my pages, and well my blog as well), but sometimes I think you get sucked in, and forget how to live without it. “Hygge” for me is also learning to live without social media, it is taking long walks on a Vagator hill (which I just did when I was in Goa, a short while ago) with family and just “being”. It’s about walking through a Vagator village, listening to the sounds of the birds, and the crunch of gravel under my feet; sitting on the balcony of my house watching water boil on firewood outside on an early morning in Goa with mist sitting in; and the sound of the roosters waking up in the morning. None of this requires huge amounts of money or social media (well – you need your plane ticket and your accommodation, but that’s it).
I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I don’t have to be busy and occupied all the time.
I think I have learned to appreciate the cozier, smaller things in life, and learnt to understand what my soul wants, and it’s been tough for me to accept it, but I am slowly learning to give in.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author only.
References: The little book of Hygge: The Danish way to live well by Meik Weiking.