I was intrigued this past week by this article about the Dutch concept of hygge. The happiness of the Dutch during their long winter months is attributed to hygge, a type of cozy and focused intimacy one can experience alone or with others. The idea of hygge seems distant from what I experience as the incongruity of the longest nights of the year merging with the pressures of Christmas. Last night I said out loud what I often feel, especially on weekends: “I am scattered! All day I rotate between cleaning up the kitchen, working on laundry, wrapping presents, checking email and facebook, and running around town. I want to focus on something and forget everything else but until the house is in order I can’t seem to do that.”
After my mini-tantrum, I drifted to the piano. As I practiced I experienced some precious moments of focus and bliss, even with the messes and unfinished work in the background. It was possibly a taste of hygge, as was the moment my husband and child cuddled and giggled on the couch while reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth” together, and the late afternoon visit we had today with friends from Pennsylvania over spiced cider and Christmas cookies.
Tomorrow we leave for a trip to south central PA to a cottage we’re renting with my parents, siblings and their families. Being away from the responsibilities of our own homes may help bring on the hygge. One of my goals for the New Year will be to find the peace of mind that comes from hygge, this concept I do not fully understand but want to learn to know better through experience.