Redesigning My Approach To Life

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1. Hygge: Let’s get cozy

Life and the world around us, is confusing and exhausting (even when we aren’t in the middle of a pandemic). Contrary to idealistic fiction that everyone spews as ‘wisdom’, it’s not wine it doesn’t just get better with time. Yes, you know what I’m talking about. Like oh right after college, I’m going to do this, and this where I’ll work and live, or this is this what I’ll look like, or…I could go on, but you get it. You know what we don’t get? Any of those outcomes. Then comes that exhausting bit where you repeatedly try to adjust yourself to match those standards. Which feels like a bullfight where you always end up thinking that by now ‘I would have had this whole dance wrapped up.’

It’s taken me some time and enough experiences to make peace with the fact that it’s okay to not have all or any of it figured out. To change them, or be confused, but more importantly understand that’s not what life is all about. Instead, it’s a bunch of other things, like knowing what to be grateful for and what really makes you feel that cozy-warm-happy feeling or as the Danes say ‘Hygge’ (for a better understanding scroll to the end). So, to begin with, I knew I had to remind myself of exactly that…

I am happy every time I am able to sip a cup of warm chai in the morning. Without the sound of humans around, without the overwhelming thought of what I need to do next, but most importantly when my chai has milk (dairy) and sugar and I don’t think twice about consuming that.

I am happy when I haven’t worked out in ages, but manage to squeeze in a sweaty session of boxing or running and the happy hormones trick me into feeling invincible. It makes me feel like I could be the next Lara Croft/Batman (sometimes even Babita Phogat) or better yet I actually believe that I have my whole life under control.

I’m happy when I can kick back with a good show or movie, sometimes it’s incredible cinema, where I find myself awing at the writer’s talent to make me love/hate yet understand the motivations of a character. A director and cinematographer for making me feel intangible ‘somethings’ through a screen; an actor who simply moves into a being with just the subtleties of truth. Then there are also those days where I laugh until it feels like an ab workout after watching a slapstick comedy, or a rom-com of 2 whole hours of messy-corny-cheesiness that tugs at my heartstrings crafted from stupidity, but it really does the job.

I am happy when I eat food that feels like memories to my taste buds. Fries, egg fried rice, or Kathi Dal Chawal (Varan baat), I have now learned are the irreplaceable routes to the comforts of familiarity.

I am happy when I can call my best friends and seamlessly move from conversations about the oil crisis and dissecting Harari’s ‘Sapiens’ to

‘I need to ask you something important- Is that women’s hair vitamin or will It work for me? or ‘I’m telling you he’s seeing my Instagram stories and avoiding me, how rude’.

Every aspect of life seems like the next big crisis followed by ‘what Netflix show should I use as a band-aid for this problem.’ The ease, flow, and sincerity remain the same no matter the topic of discussion, there are very few things in life that make me feel that comfortable.

I am happy when after battling with the anxiety, fear, judgment, and other ridiculous barriers (largely self-made) I overcome them to try and learn new things, or complete simple tasks, like just being able to start writing again. I tend to be even happier when the response is positive (like hearing/reading that this is a was a nice read *wink wink*)

I am most certainly the happiest when I choose to remember these 101 little things that make me happy and remind myself that’s what life is really all about.

Illustration by Giselle Dekel

Hygge [ hoog-uh ]

Danish · Noun

A term defined as “a quality/mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” There is no direct translation in English, although “cozy” is as close as it gets, and associating feelings of relaxation, indulgence, and gratitude.

Now for the Danes, experiencing hygge has a lot to do with hot chocolate, knit blankets, sweaters, warm fires, and the rest of that fuzziness. For those of us living closer to the equator that however could feel a little less cozy and a little more like ‘melting in the furnace’.

So, in my understating the idea is to find the comfort of familiarity, the simple ease of being, the assurance of reoccurrence, and effortlessness. Think of all the things, people, habits that have these qualities and make you simply feel that warmth inside. The ‘Hygge’ lifestyle is to consistently go inward and get cozy, by incorporating and being mindful of all those factors. Try to shed the complications required in achieving a false narrative to your happiness. These habits, actions, things are aren’t hard or out of your way, they’re always there waiting for you to remember…how do you feel hygge?

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