There are two reasons why I’ve hesitated in writing this post for so long. One, I’m not a huge fan of these big cliche posts where people go on about the changes that need to happen in there lives and two, I wasn’t entirely clear what the change was that needed to happen to help me fall in-love again with this space and online sharing in general.
Since 1995 I’ve had a blog and HyggeHouse.com since 2002. As you can imagine, I’ve seen all the changes that have happened to the online communities. And honestly, I’ve felt really lost in the space and frankly saddened by a lot of the direction that sharing/creating has taken. I recognize that I will sound like a grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn, so I think an explanation is needed. It used to be that it was hard to share online – there wasn’t the ease producing a blog. WordPress and Blogger were in their infancy and unless you could code and design and had the money for hosting, you were kind of out of luck. So those who really loved sharing and connecting worked through all the challenges. The content and concepts were just that important to get out.
Over the past few years, blogging has become an industry. I’ve seen so many bloggers who had a POV change their whole voice because they basically just became cheap ad agencies for brands. And having worked on the brand side of things, I’ve seen the blogger greed and lack of return and wondering how this industry will survive if it’s just ad after ad after ad.
Instead of talking about life and helping each other discover new things or talk about ideas, we are selling to each other or feeling like we have to be like those we see “making it” (and feeling like a failure if we aren’t). It’s the online Martha Stewart syndrome for a new generation.
The sad thing is, having known a lot of these well known bloggers on a personal and business side, I can tell you only 1% are really making it financially or are happy personally. “Professionally blogging” isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. When you have to hustle all the time, don’t really control your own content because it’s dictated by brands, your work is all from home and isolated and your life is as small as the paycheques, it can’t be that great. But the need to keep up appearances to keep generating ad revenue puts the writer – and reader – in a vicious cycle.
Hygge House has never had a goal of monetization. I don’t want to ever do sponsored posts or advertising – it’s just not my thing. I hesitate a lot in even doing posts in which I recommend stuff because I don’t want to come across as shelling things. But I do because 1. I’m asked a lot about what my favorites are and 2. it’s part of sharing and 3. it’s all stuff I have bought and am not asked to mention.
The goal of this blog has always been to talk about the concept of hygge and really living. I mean, it’s in the tag line for a reason – live well, live simply, live hygge. I feel like the art of living – of enjoying small moments, making coffee a verb, of enjoying home and not having a fear of missing out – has vanished from online blogs. How do we live well and observe everything around us without having a brand attached to it or feeling like we’ll get it in a box delivered to us? I realize I will contradict that paragraph above at some point because I do love things. When I go home to Denmark I bring back candle holders or a dress to remind me of my travels or a moment. I love linens and can’t stop collecting tea cups or tea. I’m not going to have a home filled with nothing. It’s just that I want a life filled with more than things. I want it filled with experience, love, friends, joy, success and even failure.
I feel like that’s the kind of storytelling I’ve tried to do and what people connect to. I’ve just forgotten how for awhile which is why it’s been so quiet here. Part of that reason is because I think I’ve been focusing too much on what I think is wrong with blogging and being frustrated by it. Paying too much attention to what you don’t like always prevents one from paying attention to what they do. And also, 2013 was the most brutal year on record for me.
I moved in spring and put all my things in storage. So I didn’t have a hygge home. I struggled with where I should live, I struggled with what I should do, I struggled in so many ways last year that the hyggeness was just completely gone. The old quote from Henry David Thoreau “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” kept ringing in my ears and it felt completely inauthentic to be writing about a way of living that I myself was not.
I think when a person is unhappy, there is both a sense of confusion and a sense of direction in which to go. The hard part is being strong enough, brave enough or clear enough to move in that direction. Because confusion is so powerful that it can make one feel like they know nothing at all. But I think we always know what’s right for us. We just don’t always know how to make it real.
Currently, I’m in a very little New York hotel room. My initial reaction when I got in at midnight last night to my room was “I can’t believe it’s so small. Where is the desk? This is not the Four Seasons!” But this morning when I woke up and rolled over right next to a big window, I saw this view: It was so hygge to me. That unexplainable charm. Being cosy in a little bed in front of a big window – hygge. Walking through Chelsea to get coffee and seeing all the old buildings – hygge. Bundling up with a scarf – hygge. Coffee as a verb? Very hygge.
The stark difference of NY’s spring time versus the perpetual blue skies and perfect whether of Los Angeles was what I needed to snap me out of being complacent with life. Hygge is not about that – it’s about fully participating in it and recognizing all the small moments instead of focusing on the once in awhile big blasts. This simple re-discovery of something I used to live so well, helped me to feel confident in the direction that I and HyggeHouse.com need to go.
There’s been an idea brewing for about a year and I’ve even been vocal about it with close friends, but I’ve just been keeping it idea. But this trip and the inspiration I’ve been getting from friends who are doing some incredible things, was enough to snap me out of dreaming and into reality and also into the habit of living. Not observing, not going through the motions, not thinking hygge, but living it again.
I cannot promise to update this frequently because I’ve never been one to share daily or even weekly. But I am working on finding my voice and online purpose again and sharing what I learn and love in the honest way I always have. There will still be no sponsored posts or advertising on this blog, so that’s not going to change.
What will, will hopefully just be in the volume of sharing stories and connecting with you once again.