I have been noticing and reading about hygge. It is trending in my web orbit on various sites. As I read about it, I am not finding anything new to me. The Danes are crediting with creating a way to survive the long, cold winters by doing certain things.
Here in Southeast Texas, long cold winters don’t happen. However, we do have days strung together of damp, grey rain. This morning is one. Yesterday was one.
As long as I can remember, I have set myself to enjoy such days. I have the curtain drawn back and the window open to hear the rain. The lights are low. A candle flickers. My pillows are propping me up as I snuggle under my coverlets. A cup of tea is steaming on the nightstand. I have my journal at hand to scribble my thoughts.
I have spent time this morning thinking and planning. Pondering where I want to go with the projects I am working through this month. As an update, over the past week, I have hauled off some odds and ends to the charity shop. I have added things to the costume box for our daughter’s theater. I have dumped some projects. I will be continuing to haul off the junk associated with those projects.
Additionally, I have determined to dump the mindset that tells me I must have everything on our place clean and orderly before I can actually feel happy, content or satisfied. Several years ago, in an effort to fight off this very mindset, I wrote an exhaustive list of all the things necessary to achieve such a situation. I actually included: no fire ants anywhere on the place. We live on seven acres in Southeast Texas. I included no fire ants. Of course, it was one of those extreme exercises designed to show me how ridiculous are my thought processes. In the quiet of this morning, I recalled that and laughed all over again.
What does that have to do with now? I have some items on that very list that are not so ridiculous still holding sway over me. I am determined to rewrite the tape that plays in my head. “If this, then that” goes round and round. If I could get this done, I could have that. But, I am like the mule at the millstone going round in circles chasing the carrot that dangles on the line out in front of me.
Already I have significantly reduced the incoming flow of stuff. I have unloaded things. I am focusing on the things I really want to pursue. Not pursuing them, yet. I am thinking about those things rather than the carrot dangling out there.
I am allowing myself to truly enjoy the art of doing nothing. I am giving myself permission to be happy with being imperfect. I am granting myself leave to embrace my oddities. I was once described by a friend as one who marches to the beat of her own drummer. I have tried so hard to seem normal. To be less strange. To not distance people with my weirdness. I am giving myself permission to let it all go and see what stays. See who stays.
This is a good trend to follow. “To thine own self be true.” What year did W.S. write that? After 400 years, it is still a good trend to follow.
Now don’t get yourself worked up about animal cruelty. It is only an expression. Granny Sally and Mother used to call a certain kind of house cleaning washing the cat out with dash. There was a washing detergent called Dash. I don’t know if it is still made or not.
To wash the cat out with dash means to really deep clean the house. Not spring cleaning exactly, but still very thorough. It seems I used to be able to do it in half a day. The entire house would be dusted, vacuumed, mopped. The bathrooms scoured, the kitchen shiny, the washing done up.
Today(Saturday), I got some cleaning done. The house looks good. The floors and kitchen are done. The wash is clean. But, I have more to do.
Even when the children were small, it didn’t seem to take so long. Of course, I was home full time and twenty-something years old. Many things got taken care of as I went along. I could get busy and get the shine on pretty quickly.
Also, I had a room separate from the rest of the house that held projects and stored sewing and crafting supplies and equipment. I had a small shed to house a lot of boxes of stuff as well.
In this house, I have eight closets, generous pantry shelves, large bathroom cabinets. I also have an attic that holds quite a bit. I fret over them having things in them that may not need to be there. What if I have too many Christmas decorations? What if I have too many purses in storage? What if I have too many never to be used arts and crafts supplies and tools? As I look around my home, I wonder do I have too many decorative items? Too much furniture? I don’t even want to think about my overflowing bookcase. Books are precious to me. I love books. Nook can’t replace the tactile experience of paper and ink books.
I am trying to break the thought process that leads to the fretting. Whose business is it anyway? As long as he doesn’t mind, and I like the way it is, who else matters? What hovers in the dark memory of my past that makes my mind go off on that path? I think I know what it is. When I was young, not yet a teenager, an elderly man made a comment to me that hurt my feelings in a way that I still stings sometimes. He criticized me for allowing my room to be a mess. My mother was never one to force the room cleaning issue. She might mention it and then just close my door so she didn’t see the mess when she went past.
When I became a homemaker, the nagging feeling of shame haunted me. I think that is why I have never allowed personal things to sit on tables. Books, notebooks, nail file, a bottle of polish, pens, markers, lotion, those types of things, I don’t allow myself to leave sitting in the public areas of my home. The bathroom counter is always free of bottles, combs, hair bands. A soap dispenser or dish with soap is all that I allow. Kitchen counters are as clear as I can make them without too much inconvenience. No canister sets, toaster, bread box, etc. sit on the counters. Even in my bedroom there are no collections of toiletries or stacks of magazines. Our bedroom has a lot of furniture and most of my treasures, relics and trinkets. Even those are boxed up and put away when I feel suffocated by them.
Less is more for me. Less stuff to clean and clean around means more time and energy to play and to laze around daydreaming. Two of my favorite things to do. Although, I do love to get busy and wash the cat out with dash some days. That freshness of a washed up house is wonderfully relaxing. That sense of accomplishment silences a ghost voice I am still trying to banish. I like doing it just for the joy it gives me.
A huge almost empty room. Natural light illuminating everything. Sumptuous bed. Beautiful plant or flower. Great book to read. Cup of steaming black coffee. Sounds like paradise to me. How do I get there?