Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Gettin my Hygge on

So day two of being home sick from work and I honestly couldn’t think of a better time to have a blog conversation about something I saw on the Facebook that I had no idea I had been practicing since before Christmas.  It’s called Hygge.  Thank you to my new old friend for bringing this term (which I can’t even begin to pronounce) to my life.

Usually before and after Christmas I have a hard time.  It’s not that I hate Christmas but the pressure of what goes with it.  I’ve been told in the past by a friend I might have SAD (lies) but really I just think this time of year is just a time for calm and quiet.  It’s cold so why not stay in more with books, movies, writing and one or two friends.  If you love Jesus then maybe it’s his way of sparing us all from your company and neediness.  Anyway, turns out I think I just catch a bad case of the Hygge! 

The Danish meaning of hygge

Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul. In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. The warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Friends and family – that’s hygge too. There's nothing more hygge than sitting round a table, discussing the big and small things in life. Perhaps hygge explains why the Danes are the happiest people in the world?
"In other languages the word for hygge or coziness is more a physical thing, and hygge is more a mental thing," explains Lotte Hansen, a library science student from Aalborg, Denmark, who's interning at the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa. "It's like a feeling, and it's big at Christmastime. The candles, the food, being with your family."

"It's not only Christmas, though," she adds, noting hygge is a pervasive, year-round spirit. "It's like a mood you have. We can see hygge in many things, in many situations."

I love this!  I love there is a name for how I have been living this last while.  I sat down one day after my last break up and decided to stop being made to feel badly for my introversion but to also make a real effort to get out more to events that interest me and stimulate me in the right ways.  So I went to parties where the only people I knew where the hosts, took myself out to dinner at a place I wanted to eat and made more of an effort to make new friends.  It all worked.  I was happier without an unrealistic expectation. 

I noticed even home alone I was striving to make the house feel more cozy by lighting candles, keeping the lights off or low and if the TV managed to make it on it was the fireplace channel.  This also worked over the holidays with entertaining.  I took a huge breath and let myself be more laid back again.  I read for hours covered in pets forgetting to eat or that company was coming.  Over the two weeks off I lost all track of time, worked on myself and kept pumping out the tea lights.  Even at the hardest points I loved how it felt to be cozy, in my home, back in my mind and body.  I had not felt that way in years. 

My security sweater has been busy this season also.  Only the last two women I’ve dated and my friend Megan have seen me in this monstrosity.  It’s a huge ripped Michael Jordan hoodie worn by I’m guessing a very large gangster.  This thing is three sizes too big on me and I’m not small as we know.  Anyway with the hood and terrible look it feels like a warm hug to me.  When I am sick I wear it to bed with the hood on and somehow I feel better.  I wear it in the house and unless I’m cooking it feels like a soft back rub from someone who cares.  I actually wore it while reading on the sofa one day and used the front pocket to help carry my book.  I later took that book out while on the toilet and continued reading.  That is how awesome this sweater is.  I’m wearing it as I blog and perhaps the sweater is giving me a fancy secret back rub to get me writing again?  Let’s give it this.  

So this warm cozy physical feeling I had been trying for was working big time. Now, what about the hygge in my mind?  That has been flowing also.  I’ve spent quality time with friends, no phones, less technology and made a real effort to connect with myself.  Getting back to listening and speaking to myself kindly has not been an easy task.  All this has however made it easy to connect with others.  I feel like when I am in the company of others now, (even if it is only one other person) I listen more attentively and I speak so much more from the heart.  A friend has noticed how brutally honest I am with myself at times.  I have almost found it unable to hold anything to me that does not bring in some hygge. 

So it’s only the end of January.  Is there more hygge to come when the weather changes?  I think so.  My goal is to work on my yard as soon as spring comes to have a great place for summer BBQ’s, fires and to just sit back and enjoy.  I used to have people over all the time but in the last few years my world got a little too small.  It’s time to hygge and bring back a wonderful attitude of bonding with friends, enjoying nature (a little) and appreciating what wonderful feeling a person can create for themselves out of the cold.  

Picture totally stolen off a hygge article online but I love it. 

Friday, 23 January 2015

I am Not a Left Handed Jew!

Have you ever tried to wipe your ass with your opposite hand? Or have you ever tried to get someone off with that same opposite hand. Not as easy as it sounds. Go give it a shot I'll wait here. 

My point is change is not easy. I have so many examples in my own life I could keep you here for days.  In the past six months I've had a lot of change laid on me. Make ups, break ups, make ups, break ups, health, money, friends, sex and love.  All of it I tried to deal with with my "good" hand. 

But what happens when things don't work out the way you think they will and you realize that "good hand" has done you no favours?  What happens when you realize that "good hand" needs an overhaul?  I'm not suggesting you use both hands to wipe your ass but what I am suggesting is sometimes the other hand might do a better job even though it's super uncomfortable to try.

Before my last relationship I had begun making my life very small. Friends had changed, had kids and in many ways I felt like I didn't fit with anyone anymore. A new friendship evolved into a romantic relationship and I let it take the place of several friendships. Now here I am single again and since Christmas I've made a lot of changes.  I kind of feel like I'm in a perpetual state of using my left hand all the time now. Over the holiday I did probably the equivalent of six months of therapy (for my shitty self esteem) in two weeks. I've explained it to a few people that I feel like all of my insides were pulled out, examined and bleached before being inserted back slightly incorrectly.  Over dramatic? I think so. But I kind of need to gay man it up to prove my point. 

Change is terrifying. I've watched friends stay in terrible relationships for years because they're too afraid to be alone. The unknown of what that will feel like after years with someone, even a shitty someone was too overwhelming.  I don't think I've ever been that afraid of change but I have been guilty of complacency in my life. I put up with people treating me shitty and not changing how I should have been treated.  Now that I'm approaching 40 I don't have the time for that nonsense anymore. I think this might be one of the good points about getting older.

So here I sit at my dining room table trying to make sense of the change I have been through. Feeling so exposed after all that therapy. I almost feel like a person who's been given a new handbook on how all this is supposed to go. However I'm just learning how to read English again and it's in Hebrew.  And I'm not a Jew.  Story of my life really but thus far I've managed to muddle through and truthfully I wouldn't change any of this for the world. All this change has provided me with so much new opportunity. I now have the strength to spend more time out of my introverted shell, I've made amazing wonderful new friends and I've done a few things that need to be vaulted.

I'm happy to report that even though I feel naked, new and very confused at times I don't think I've ever been happier.  I have the full support of a wonderful new friend (who won't let me get up until this blog is finished) and this past year I've made a couple friends who even though they are new to my life, look past my weird quirks and are there for me 100%.  That feels amazing.

So off I go with my left hand free and my right hand still MIA.  I think she needs to stay gone a little while longer...