Hygge. It's nice that my aesthetic has a Danish name. I'm just a little bitter I never knew about it until the word is on its way out. Because yes, even words can be trends. Apparently 2016 was the year of hygge (hoo-gah) across the pond and more than twenty books on the word were published in America alone. And yet somehow I did not realize the word was even a word at all (or a movement) until it was popularly "over with." Not happy, Bob. Not happy. Thankfully I'm advised of most trends before they phase out. I like to be informed even if I don't choose to participate in the trend. For instance, I don't love green tea so I've ignored the matcha craze but I am aware that it exists and that dozens of moldy-looking cakes are the Instagram It-Foods of the moment. I've even heard that the world isn't done with matcha and that Australia is currently the hot-bed of the fad, propitiating it into 2017 and beyond. But I tend to feel a deep sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) if I don't opt out of a tend voluntarily. So hygge? Come on! It even has its own adjective: “hyggelig” (hoo-gah-lee). I love that the enjoyment of simple things produces hygge. I love that taking shelter from something (a thunderstorm, a crowd, deep snow) can also produce hygge. So whether humanity will join me or not, I intend to keep the art of cozy living alive and well in 2017. Oh, and lest you think I'm just talking, I've literally been living a hygge life from birth so it's no great sacrifice to slap a label on the status quo. No, the thing that will be harder to follow if I so choose is 2017's projected trend of “lagom.” What the heck is lagom? Well, besides not being a misspelled version of “lagoon,” “lagom” is a Swedish word translating to “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right.”
While hygge is more of a feeling, a mood, a setting lagom is more of a mantra of moderation. A restaurant could be have both hygge and lagom (cozy, perfectly lighted, the portions just right) but a pair of snuggly cashmere socks would likely be less lagom, more hygge. I always find myself interested in what we feel we need more of, collectively. I think the austere minimalism of 2015 left us lacking the essential comfort of home. Personal spaces were zen for sure, but clinical in their empty whiteness. Not the sort of place you feel like letting down your guard. So in 2016 we wanted a retreat away from the cold world and all its madness. We wanted to settle down, dig in, burrow like a velveteen mole into a world of crackling fire and mulled wine. Welcome to 2017! Now it is time to emerge into this new world we somehow created, to face it like adults, and learn to live in the balance. We're always looking to create balance, aren't we? That is probably the basis of ninety percent of the New Year resolutions people make: more of this, less of that. So lagom isn't quite a new idea as much as it is a reminder to live with intention and moderation. There is so much wisdom in the idea of lagom and so many ways to apply it to the everyday. Eat well, not legalistically. Buy quality items but don't get distracted by excessively priced things that are “on trend.” Exercising doesn't mean you have to sign up for a SoulCycle class. A hyggelig walk in the rain would fit the bill just as well. I'm looking forward to a return to moderation as a focus, aren't you?
Let's pretend lagom is the reason I've been spending my evenings and weekends deep-cleaning and de-cluttering my bedroom in preparation for the massive project which is "re-decorating." As terrifying as the mess of seven years' living in that bedroom has been, it has felt wonderful to get rid of things. To simplify. To focus on what I really value to toss or give away the rest. Lagom when I'd never even heard of the word. And no, these plants aren't mine. They're my younger sister's: a person who (in her room decor) achieved the 2017 ideal last year. As I redecorate and repaint and finally hang my gallery wall, I'll still be as hyggelig as a cotton-tail bunny but I'm ready to embrace lagom as well. Fewer things, quieter surroundings. Moderation is something we could all stand to focus on this year and for the rest of our lives. In 2017, the only thing I want to have (and give) in excess is love. Not even the lagom trend can convince me the moderate that.