Aristippus to Diogenes, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king, you would not have to live on lentils.” Diogenes to Aristippus, “If you would learn to live on lentils, you would not have to be subservient to the king!”
Hygge: What Is It?
Why is everyone buying into the idea of hygge? Hygge—the Danish version of ‘perfect little moments in time’; a coziness, warm blankets, good friends, good books, hot drinks, fireplaces, candles, home.
What do all of these thoughts and images have in common? S l o w. Look again. No electronics, or even electricity. Human connection—with oneself and others. There is no magic in the designer blanket or the expensive candle. The magic is in the ‘slow’.
Hygge calls to us because we have lost these things in our everyday world. We work too many hours away from our homes. We deal with long, crowded commutes; rude, ungrateful customers; angry, demanding bosses; work policies that de-humanize us; harsh lighting; noise. Hygge promises us calm, quiet, time for reflextion, relaxation, comfy clothing, soft lighting, connection, a return to our basic human-ness.
Hygge and Homesteading
What does hygge have to do with homesteading? Homesteading looks like the way out of the job and into hygge. Move out to the country where things are quieter, slower. Work for your benefit—not to line the pockets of others. Trees, breezes, cute animals, and plenty of beautiful, nutritious food, . . . . . space.
While there is much work to be done on a homestead, there is also much waiting and watching. S l o w. You cannot hurry that tomato seedling, rising bread takes as long as it takes, there’s no such thing as 10 minute compost. You can’t hurry nature. Homesteading has built-in hygge moments.
The good news. You don’t have to run out to the store for hygge. You can’t buy it. You don’t have to buy acreage either. The best news. You can choose to have a hygge moment whenever and wherever you’d like! Yes, even in the middle of a difficult work day. The difficult news. You have to s l o w down. You have to choose it. You have to give your attention to the moment.
Finding Little Moments of Homesteading Hygge
- Marvel at those new seedlings that have just opened up. Stare at them and wonder at the miracle of seed germination. (I am endlessly fascinated by it!)
- Water your houseplants. Touch them. Talk to them. Sing to them.
- Get into a meditative state while you chop those beautiful veggies you bought at the farm market. Cook them up for dinner. Light a candle. Make it a moment.
- Watch chicken antics. They should have a show of their own.
- Collect eggs. Make sure to have a chat with the hens while you’re there.
- Don’t resist that just-out-of-the-oven bread. Grab a cup of coffee, some butter, and enjoy it!
- Stand back, lean on your shovel and admire the apple tree you just planted. It’s just as big a deal if it’s in a pot on an apartment balcony!
- Listen to an audio book while you peel apples or snap green beans for canning.
- Play classical music as you milk the goats.
- After all the work is done for the day, pull out the ratty quilt made by your grandmother, put on your favorite socks with the holes in them, burn one of your emergency candles (you know you have some!), have a chat about everything and nothing, and reflect on all the hygge moments your day contained!
Whether you call it hygge, or homesteading, or mindfulness; it’s all the same thing. It is small moments throughout your day when you are not wishing to be someplace else and not wishing for more than what you have right now. Homesteading—where you are.
Add to the list! How do you find hygge moments in your day?