Why I Can’t Get Hygge With It

Hygge here, hygge there, lots of ladies are hyggeing it up everywhere! Fun, if not a bit difficult, to pronounce, with the benefit of cozy socks and a full heart, Hygge is giving a lot of us all the lovely huggable hygge feels. But here’s a rather controversial and unpopular thing. I’m NOT comfortable. Not emotionally, mentally, and certainly not physically comfortable. Everything in my life is at complete odds with Hygge. And I don’t necessarily think that is a “bad” thing. For the record: I love Hygge! I want to get Hygge with it (yes, I know that is not how Hygge is pronounced but just roll with me, and roll your eyes if you must, it’s okay I do it to myself, too). So, to be clear, this is not a Hygge bash.

Hygge - why i can't get hygge

For those who don’t know, Hygge is a Danish concept: to live well. To take genuine pleasure and enjoyment in simplicities in life. In short, Hygge is pretty fantastic, and in better, nay different, circumstances, is in the realm of life goals in lifestyles that feel increasingly harried and rushed and so dang busy. I want to immerse into the comfort my fuzzy alpaca wool socks, a mug of hot Trader Joe’s peppermint tea, and yummy floral candles burning around my (no longer existing) condo. But, I just… can’t… get Hygge right now.

 Hygge - why i can't get hygge 

Right now, I’m profoundly uncomfortable.

To curl up and snuggle in soft textiles in this moment in time feels, to me, antipodal. Hygge is rooted in an absence of annoyances and emotional overwhelm. Well, my dissertation, alone, excludes me from falling cozying up to Hygge! Hygge, essentially, is against controversy, foreign ideals and values, and is gentle, calm, with a nod toward personal social censorship. And there’s nothing wrong with that, I’m saying. But that’s not where I’m at in my present, with my experience.

I’m politically uncomfortable.

Call me a snowflake because I’m still pissed Hillary lost the election. Heartbroken, actually. And tremendously worried for my country. Well, let’s add the world. Hygge doesn’t exactly jive with the kind of discomfort and frustration needed to be truly itchy enough to be civically engaged. Snowflake, here! I moved to Mexico. I marched. Even before the election I volunteered for Hillary’s campaign. And I don’t want to get comfortable. I want to act. As much as I’d love to snuggle in those fuzzy socks and a sweater and listen to Edith Piaf on Spotify I feel more obliged to move and act on the benefit for civil rights. I am deeply opposed to nearly everything our current administration promised and represents.

Hygge - why i can't get hygge

But let’s go beyond and let’s talk about awkward.

How about calling legislators from Mexican payphones? Oh, I can be stubborn as an ornery burro when my mind is to it.

Even more uncomfortable, we must, no matter how left, right, or “I just want to see kitties and puppies and babies on my Facebook feed again” we may lean, it is essential for us to openly listen to and receive the point of view and discussion from others who believe differently than us. Expanding our views, being willing to shatter our own comfort zones of beliefs and understanding, is the way we stand to make sustainable progress. For my fellow fair skinned, hetero lovelies, that means we, especially, need to gut check our views of feminism to insist on and represent advocacy for intersectional feminism.

I’m personally uncomfortable.

Well, on my best day, in my home town, I was socially awkward. INFJ MBTI type, here, folks. I’m not only a snowflake, I’m a weird, obsessive, overthinking and over feeling snowflake. We won’t even go into the nearly constant catastrophes that my oversensitive and analytical little ego embarks upon while dating.

I’m experiencing a different type of awkwardness. One anyone who is or has been an expat can relate to feeling.

I’m quickly learning and improving my Spanish by the day, but right now I’m also in that stage where I can hear, as I’m saying or immediately after saying, exactly what I’m doing wrong. Like the day I told my little old (conservative and Catholic) lady neighbor I’m pregnant instead of embarrassed. Talk about “embarrassing.”

I have no hot water, and that’s accounting for the days I have water. Bienvenidos a Oaxaca! I’m taking the quickest showers of my life! Whether the gecko in my courtyard, neighborhood dogs barking, the bells of the basilica, or my neighbors blowing up firecrackers at night (they love to blow things up), I’m not getting that much sleep. Crossing the street has become an extreme sport. I’m cold in the mornings and a hot, sweaty mess in the afternoon.

There’s a weird outsider isolation I feel. I’ve always been proud of my words and my ability to access language. The level of frustration I feel for my inability to express myself in my new language is infuriating. More than once per day I want to clam up and shut down in the middle of conversation. I miss my condo and my little balcony with twinkle lights shaded by a giant ficus tree and overlooking the Spanish style fountain. And I miss my quaint little neighborhood tucked into a mountain preserve. I miss my little pup. And my friends. I have thought – for maybe half a minute at a time – of moving back and immediately work to rebuild my savings. This could have been a massive mistake I will regret in time. But, no.

Hygge - why i can't get hygge

We grow in discomfort.

Think about the times you stepped out of your comfort zone. Even in failure, there is a lesson, that lesson itself is a win, and in that win is a growth opportunity. And what of the times we step outside our comfort zones and we succeed?!

If we stay in comfort, and stay doing what has always been done, we might keep what we have, but likely not to get any more. What is the biggest risk in asking for that promotion for which you have been working your butt so hard? Train for that Grand Canyon hike. The waterfalls, the stunning force and power of the Colorado River, the quiet… worth it. Striking up conversation with that cutie you see every Sunday at your coffee shop? Well, you never know….

What about saying “no” to the happy hour invitation you really don’t want to go on, anyway? There’s a ton of value to saying “yes,” and “leaning in.” We retain and generate so much positive power in saying “no.” There’s power in not apologizing for stuff that isn’t yours owing apology.

There’s warmth and comfort in seeking small pleasures, and by all means, we ought to celebrate them. We have a lot – a lot – of benefits to seeking safety and security. But, dangit, I think – right now – we have so much more to gain by seeking a bit more discomfort.

Hygge - why i can't get hygge

What do you think?

XO, Jennifer

Hygge - why i can't get hygge and marched on washington

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I discovered For the
Foxes in a rather “basic” way (Pandora’s BORNS station), but I am,
basically, fairly “basic,” so I guess that’s rather alright. I really
don’t even know why it’s considered a bad thing, anyway, to be “basic.” I
am aware the term is intended to be an insult, but by whom, and what is
so offensive to this particular snarky crew? There’s a punchy
competitiveness – and not relegated to females – I occasionally hear the
condescending cutes from men, too – and pressure to be unique and
individualistic. You know what, I’ll let Rihanna shine bright like a
diamond (I still am highly suspect about gross human rights grievances
and exploitation all for the sake of diamonds… “F” I digressed, again –
happens all the time). But, more to that in my next post…. See you tomorrow!

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Errance
The French have a word we don’t possess in English. Errance. It means “to travel without any clear destination.” Isn’t that rather a lovely word?

 

Finca Austria Nosara Costa Rica Sunset Pacific
For most of my friends, I know my plan – to not have a plan – is physically discomforting. I understand. They care for me, and above wanting me to have happiness and a deeper fulfillment. They want my safety. I desire safety for myself, too. Which is part of the reason I’m not planning a PanAmerican drive from Nogales through Darien Gap. Although, I would -LOVE- to do that. I don’t have a death wish, and I’m not an adventure junkie. However, I am insistent that – as of right now – I cannot force a prescriptive process to what I am going to do next after having completely dismantled my life in Phoenix. Selling all of my possessions and accounting my belongings to 12 boxes that now reside in my mom and stepfather’s basement was not a decision – nor action – I took lightly. But… deconstruction to rebuild at a later time… IS… the very process.
Oh, and if I could afford to, I’d gladly set a clear destination back to this view atop a hill in Nosara, CR.
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Fidelity to Finding the Open Door
When one door of
happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has been opened for us
. ~Helen
Keller 

Today is her birthday. Ms. Keller’s. She also penned poignant messages regarding suffering, pain, and overcoming adversity.

I left my employer 60 days ago, today. I retained my faculty role, but that is part time and inconsistent, dependent on scheduling cycles. I planned and set up my first weeks of unemployment to complete my dissertation data collection; I actually believed I would be able to accomplish so much more progress with my interviews with my open schedule. I did not factor an unexpected derailment in the form of obscure dates, paperwork filing, and administrative actions… and waiting and waiting. I did not factor in the emotional fatigue of selling and donating almost all of my possessions. I had NO idea of how exhausting and disorienting the process of dismantling my Phoenix life while simultaneously attempting my data collection would be for me. I thought leaving my job would release the stress, but if anything, I feel more stress, I feel less grounded, I feel less certain about my next step, than ever (ever) before, and I am in adversity of my own creation.  I’m in veritable Purgatory of sorts, and while I know this will pass and I will be able to eventually progress beyond the present situation, that does not mean any part of what I am doing… is… easy.

 

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I’m leaving it. Selling, donating, and giving away almost everything I own to follow a path that will lead to an unknown outcome. That scares me to such a degree I have a difficult time articulating the scope of fear
I feel. To follow a voice inside of me that has been muffled for far, far, too long. On one hand, I’m scared that leaving the work force at a pivotal point in development and advancement opportunity will be
damaging for my career and my long term earning potential. But on the other hand, I feel such an internal dissonance, I cannot continue to remain in such state of being.

So that being, I am taking the risk. I have been saving a substantial portion of my gross income for quite some time, and while financial insecurity is a big fear of mine (note the trend of fear), I’m making a calculated gamble and feeling thankful I have a financial cushion to support my step out. Quite a few more steps have to be made and I won’t receive confirmation of the current plan (this would be Plan D-2 of my life, D being my PhD) for about 4-5 more months. There is a very strong likelihood (not 100% confirmed but all, current, indicators are my new reality will be) I will be living in another country this time next year. Not working, traditionally. Living in a much reduced standard of living than I am accustomed to, so far out from my comfort zone I don’t even have a word to describe how much my world will be rocked, and living in complete service to others and channeling as much moxy as I will be able to muster.
sola vieja she travels puerto viejo pura vida
My mother is already having some of her own anxieties about me moving so far, but to her credit, she is supporting my choice. She is my biggest cheerleader and advocate, and is behind this move of mine, in spite of the sacrifice that means to her for me to be so far away and with reduced access to communicate with me.

I’m <so> scared. But it’s time for me to get really uncomfortable. Because, I surpassed the magic American salary that is supposed to bring happiness and contentment, and although I am a generally happy woman, I’m not content. I can do more than this.

Vieja Sola.

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