Thursday, September 28, 2017

Lagom with a touch of Hygge

By Cheryl Oreglia

I wanted to be a Hyggelist for about twenty-four hours but just found out that was so yesterday! This was the topic of a recent blog posted at Living in the Gap. Hygge is a Danish term, it requires consciousness, the ability to not only live in the moment, but also recognize it's gifts. For those of you who only write horror, the english words used to describe Hygge are cosiness, charm, happiness, contentment, security, familiarity, kinship, or simpleness. The very things you strive to shatter in a horror novel are currently trending in the United States. 

If I wasn't trying to disrupt the algorithm of Facebook ads on my social media accounts with fake google searches I would have never stumbled upon the term Hygge. How lucky are we?

Taking time to smell the roses, enjoy the moment, maybe even seize the day, this is what Living in the Gap is all about.  All very cliche, totally Danish, but nonetheless taking our culture by storm. As a writer I consider my life experience through a unique lens. Does it have relevance, deeper meaning, significance? Is it worth writing about? Hygge sharpens the focus. 

Larry, my husband, and I have very different interests. My passion is writing, his is riding (mountain biking), weird how they sound the same, although very different practices. He does not miss a Saturday morning ride if he's in town. EVER. So I tend to write on Saturday mornings but that's not enough to keep a blog going. I have to linger with my words, thoughts, feelings, #Hygge. He'll never admit it, but he's not a fan of watching me crouched over a computer, deep in thought, sucking down gallons of coffee. He's what you call a man of action. I'm not. Is there middle ground?

Last night we were invited to a private concert. A good friend of ours is pursuing his passion of performing in a band. He made it happen, organized a group of talented musicians, and lined up a few gigs. They are awesome, the name of the band is Knee Deep, and they are making their mark in the valley. 

Knee Deep was booked at a quaint theater in downtown San Jose, a crew was filming for promotional purposes, so a small group of close friends showed up to dance/cheer/clap in the background. At one point in the night my friend Jill said "I love that Steve (the one in the front of the picture) is pursuing his passion." She looked at me and said, "you are too with your blog." We looked up and down the row of spectators, all over fifty, and still working day jobs. We realized most of us have a passion we kindle on the side, be it writing, riding, music, yoga, fishing, hiking, wine making, running, wood working, philanthropy, etc. And we all agreed we prefer our passions over our day jobs. 

I thought this was interesting, but I put it aside, and continued my mad search for news of Hygge. This is when I found out Hygge was so 2016, Lagom is the new trend, and together they are defining American culture. You can toss that around at your next dinner party (#sointheknow). Lagom is a Swedish concept of "not too much, not too little." Did I mention I'm Swedish? 

Sounds a little like the Buddhist concept of the "middle way," which avoids extremes of deprivation and excess, finding comfort in the middle ground, an optimal place for enlightenment. Lagom translates to "enough, sufficient, adequate, just right." Where Hygge aims to capture a feeling, Lagom is an ethos of moderation. Coffee with cream is Lagom, a nonfat pumpkin spiced latte is too much, plain coffee not enough. Add a roaring fire and you've got Nirvana!

In staying with my new standard of Lagom maybe I should avoid extremes like Comnopanis or my disastrous ClosetApparently there is a thin line between following your passion and acting in a selfish manner. Striving for balance, learning to say no, focusing on what you need to be doing are all part of the Lagom lifestyle. It's your personal gift to the world, the one you were born to pursue. As Glen Campbell sings, "I might need you more than want you." Writers write, singers sing, athletes play, everything else is superfluous. The trend is to simplify, pursue your passion, and avoid excess. A soft throw, hot coffee, computer, now that's the ultimate Lagom with a touch of Hygge.

"You will always be a little incomplete. This is the beautiful frustration of being human. And it’s where all the best art comes from, " Jeff Goins. 

Drop a few thoughts on these new trends in the comments. I might need, more than want a simplistic lifestyle, how about you?

I'm Living in the Gap, drop in anytime.


Carrie Beckort said...

I hadn't heard of either term until this post, Cheryl! I like the concept of both, although I think I'd stress out too much trying to achieve the concept of Lagom. What really is enough but not too much? I suppose I am trying to teach my daughter the concept of moderation - especially when it comes to sweets. That's probably close to the concept, right? If so, I've never been able to master it, but I'm trying really hard to make my daughter aware.

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Thanks so much for reading and commenting Carrie! I was totally naive to these terms also but pleasantly surprised at the appeal! You sound like a fabulous mom. Your daughter is lucky to grow up with such commitment and love.

Unknown said...

Liked this post, knew both terms from my Swedish brother in law but didn’t realize Lagom was the next Hygge!

Cheryl Oreglia said...

Thanks Abigail! It was front page news in The Press Democrat today so I thought I’d resurrect this old post and just saw your comment. We are so in the know! Thanks for commenting.

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