Break {age}

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We all need a break at times.

It seemed so much easier when we were in school. Set holidays, you just worked towards that goal, eye on the prize, come hell or high water you know when that day comes you are free.

Then you become an adult, with a real job and BOOM that dangling carrot is gone. You get 3 weeks, 21 days and depending on where you work it might be even less. The challenge is to fit all your relaxation requirements into a limited amount of time. To put it in perspective, it goes from about 11 weeks down to 3, not feeling the love.

(I suppose I could throw in the parenting gig but that would just throw this whole story off topic because as we all know parents do not get holidays, well none of them longer than a few minutes anyway-those 2 seconds when you take the first sip of 2007 pinot noir from your plastic cup-because your kid managed to break all your “adult” glasses and you cannot be bothered to buy more, the brief 58 seconds you lay against the elevator door and fall asleep whilst waiting for it to stop on your floor-if you have never done it I would advise you to steer clear of that idea, your head moves with the door as it opens-who would’ve thought? And the few minutes after loading the kid in the car and running around to get to the driver side.)

As an adult (and parent) life does get overwhelming at times and it seems that social media has added fuel to that fire. Have you ever browsed through perfectly curated photos with products and thought “How will I ever live up to THAT?”

Yes? No? Maybe? Just me then?

The lines between reality and cyberspace become more and more blurry and the days of a clear distinction has gone out with yesterday’s trash. We identify with people we see on the internet, and these people are no longer only celebrities that we have carefully placed upon little pedestals in our minds. The people are everyday people, laymen, (and women) that just as easily could be you and me.

And that is what makes it destructively beautiful.

I grew up without social media, yes I am a 33-year old that can happily say that I am one of the last generations to go through my formative years free from the ways “social media wrecks self-esteem”. Facebook only made an appearance towards my final year at university, it was an exciting concept but I didn’t read too much into it.

To be honest as an introvert, it was wonderful to feel connected to the outside world without having to actually go out in it. But this new socialization brought it’s own pressures, like the desire to look good online, and to come across as funny and interesting — all struggles people have in real face-to-face interactions, but applied to a non-stop, global network of people.

Fast forward about ten years and it seems to have become a global pandemic. You not only have to look good and appear interesting, you also have to be good at things and appear to be successful and you have to have an interesting life. The watchers become more and more and more brands and advertisers are thrown into the mix.

It’s a recipe for disaster, right?

Our social media profiles are an extension of our identity-that makes our posts, pictures, and activities like virtual possessions.

That alone makes us objects for marketers who want to sell us products to make perfect photos, increase our popularity, have the nicest profile, and get the most views and likes. It’s kind of like the old “keeping up with the Jones'” trope that has neighbours out-buying each other for appearances.

It keeps us in a place where we equate self-worth with stuff, even if the “stuff” in this case, is our social media profiles.

All this started to take its toll on me a few weeks ago and I just decided to unplug for a while, and it was great but then I also realised that I have a community of people who uplift and support me on social media. A group of people that I got to know personally, that I enjoy talking to and that can lift the spirits when life gets a bit, dreary. (I guess my friend do live in my computer/phone/tablet.)

Despite all the negativity there is positivity, even if it’s just a glimmer, there is still good.

The key, I think, is to not become obsessed.

*Picture is an artwork by IHeart and appears in Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada

Social media and parenting

This has been something that has been weighing on my heart heavily, and I am not going to lie to you, technology and social media scares the shit out of me. It has been a concern even before I had a child but after the events that took place this past week, I am back […]

THE CONCEPT OF HYGGE

In the beginning of the year I decided that, except for the usual lose weight, save money repetitive New Years resolutions which I usually break by the 10th of January, I am going to make it my goal to find happiness. True, make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, happiness. Turns out I am not alone.

So apart from extensive Ted Talks I watched on the subject I found a book as well. Strangely that excited me more than the “answers” I found on the internet. (I am a pre-historic creature that loves old school, I am convinced I’m living in the wrong century but for now let’s just say vintage brings me joy.)

Now you must have heard of hygge, I actually saw a big chainstore use the word in one of their advertisements and I am pretty sure that it’s going to become quite a trendy term.

But what does it mean?

Hygge {pronounced HUE-gah} is of danish origin and though there are many ways to describe it, the best way would be to see it simply as the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness.

You see Hygge is more of a concept, a feeling, which can incorporate many things. Hygge is about atmosphere, an experience rather than about physical things. It is about the people we love, a feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe, shielded from the world and able to let your guard down.

It can be an endless conversation with an old friend or just enjoying each others silence. It can also be just you drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace in warm knitted woolen socks while just looking at the flames licking at the wood.

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There are a few materialistic things you can add to help sweeten the mood. Lighting plays an important role. Soft light that creates a warm ambience. Yes you guessed it. Candles. Other things can include a fireplace, things made out of wood, nature.

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In the book I got Meik Wiking says;

“Wood is not enough,Danes feel they need to bring the entire forest inside. Any piece of nature you might find is likely to get the hygge greenlight. Basically you want to think: How would a Viking squirrel furnish a living room?”

Examples would be covering windowsills and couches in sheepskins and animal skins and of course greenery. Throw in some books and ceramics for good measure. It’s not just about how things look but also how they feel, so think tactile add some blankets and throws. Vintage goods are also very hygge. You can pick up vintage items from second hand shops but if it’s a family heirloom with a story that comes with it, it makes it so much more appealing.

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Probably the most important thing is to be present in the moment. Switch off all technology. Yes even your cell phone, and just enjoy it for what it is. You will see finding hygge actually comes a lot easier than you think.

You can purchase The Little Book of Hygge here.

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DISCLAIMER: Images were sourced from pinterest