I ended my last post hopeful that Hygge would lead to a lifestyle of happiness, not just for myself, but for those around me. The following words from Buddha sum up this notion perfectly:
“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Yes. I have quoted a cliché. But, what is a cliché if it is not true (also a cliché).
However, as clichéd as it might be to use a quote about which one knows very little of either the orator or the orator’s beliefs, this one seemed rather apt, particularly since, as I continue my conversion to Hygge, the first chapter in The Little Book of Hygge is called Light.
Lighting in our household has, over the past couple of months, been rather a sensitive subject. After moving in to our first home, we have been haunted, not by a resident ghost (it’s a new build) but, by a distinct lack of lampshades. Having spent a number of years in rented accommodation, these were obviously unappreciated luxuries which, until now, had gone unnoticed. The same can be said of curtains. To me, the process of buying curtains and lampshades is the true definition of growing up; a rude awakening as to what it truly means to be an adult. Because, let’s face it, it’s only when you eventually leave home that you need to think about these things. After spending so long staring at different lampshades, lightshades, eyelets and pencil pleats I began to start questioning the very point of these objects all the while continuously replacing my dropped jaw at some of the prices. Needless to say, I had a new found respect for my mum and dad.
It turns out though, that many an argument in the middle of Dunelm between me and my better half could have been prevented because, according to this little book, instant Hygge and therefore instant harmony comes in the simple form of a candle.
Ah, candlelight. That romantic, rosy, flickering hue within which many an amorous dinner has been taken and many a birthday wish has been made. I have always had a bit of a love affair with fire and candles. I suppose it’s the lull of something which can look so beautiful but be so dangerous (I have just asked my husband if this is what first attracted him to me. He is laughing). It was because of this fascination with the Third Element, my mother would later tell me, that when she got the phone call to say that I had had an accident involving a tea light, she wasn’t surprised.
After six weeks in hospital, during which I watched an obscene amount of day-time television and endured a skin graft, one of my nurses asked me if the accident had made me reassess anything. She went on to explain that she had known patients quit their jobs and go traveling or leave their partners all in the name of crikey-life-really-is-too-short. I told her that I hadn’t reassessed anything but instead had evaluated a few things. The operative part of that word being value. I often tell people the same thing that I told that nurse, that my accident was the best thing that ever happened to me. It made me realise what is important, it made me realise that I was loved and yes, of course, it made me realise that life really is too short. That, and the fact that it’s OK if you don’t look good in skinny jeans.
I suppose over the years, the clarity that my accident allowed me has somewhat become blurred and whilst I still feel very lucky, my appreciation and gratitude for the simple things has perhaps waned. This is why I am so keen to embrace the lifestyle that is Hygge.
And so, whilst the concept of adding instant Hygge to the home by way of candlelight may have seemed simple to Meik Wiking, for me, it posed as slightly more problematic.
That said, all was not lost. Being fortunate enough to be living in the 21st century we are blessed with advances in technology which have made the movie Minority Report look positively dated. Recently we have seen even further advances in AI if the CES tech show in Las Vegas is anything to go by. However, Alexa, Cortana and Siri can all step aside and make way for the ex-pyromaniac burn victim’s best fried: the LED tea light.
Sceptical as I was, I was pleasantly surprised to see how effective and, dare I say it, Hygge, they were.
My husband has since started littering the kitchen with aforementioned LED tea lights in a bid to support me in my Hygge conquest of perfect lighting. And, whilst I might not be able to light thousands of other candles with these LED imitations at least the arguments in the middle of Dunelm are a thing of the past and we are once again a Hygge couple.