Until I used the attic office for my full-time work, I believe I felt hygge as I ascended the steps to the attic space and smelled the mixture of old house, carpet, dusty books, disintegrating slate shingles, baseboard heating and the odor of technology. It was my haven. It was where I escaped from the children and where I met up with friends from around the world in online communities (years before Facebook). It was where I sat on the tiny sofa-bed and read or watched television. It was where I listened to Dan Bern and Kate Bush.
Even before we had the attic refinished, before we bought our first computer, I would sit on a kitchen chair at a desk that Dean brought up for me and write in journals or on sheets of legal pad paper — pour out my thoughts, feelings, emotions. Of course in those days I could only go to the attic in the fall or spring because it was neither heated in the winter nor air conditioned in the summer.
Lately, I’ve gotten the feeling back on weekends when I don’t have to sit at the desk and write reports admonishing website developers for forgetting to add alt text to their images or aria-labels to redundant links. I’ve been cleaning (really really really, cleaning) out my office closet and throwing things away that I don’t need and sorting things I might still need. Blogging about some of the things I threw away, and wondering why I’d kept the others for so long.
I still have a ways to go, and come the fall, when I retire, the office will no longer be my work-space. It can go back to being only my place of hygge.
Side note: I’d hoped the enclosed screened in porch (our Lodge) would become my hygge place, but so far it is not doing it for me.
If you recall, at the beginning of the year I decided to make it my year of letting go. In addition to my near Sisyphean task of disposing of unneeded belongings, I also planned on letting go of some unwanted emotions.
Today’s emotion is brought to you through a note my son brought home after helping a friend’s parents move. He parked his car on a street and spent several hours on a thankless and difficult task only to come back to a note on his car scolding him for parking on a public street.
While I understand that the space in front of a house is prime parking for the residents of that home, it is also not a crime to park there unless the neighborhood requires permits and you don’t have that permit (which is the case in our neighborhood — but if you have a permit for the neighborhood you can park anywhere, even if it is not in front of your own house). I also understand that most of the homes in neighborhoods around here have no garages.
This note is probably 3 years old, and I am mostly over it, but when I came across it in my recent purge attempts it made me angry again so therefore I needed to write about and then destroy the note.
Just a few minutes ago, while I was waiting for the Instant Pot to do its magic on eight eggs and hard boil them, I noticed that the side of our new kitchen drawers have the manufacturer’s name on them (Medallion) and that made me remember our old kitchen cabinets. When we moved into this house, a friend who helped us move was impressed with the brand of the cabinets (Quaker Maid) and told us that we had some quality kitchen cabinets. Several years later I mentioned that to the uncle of Clare’s friend who we’d hired to paint some rooms in our house. He made some disparaging comment about the brand which implied that they were not all that great. That comment has stuck with me through the years and when I remember it my stomach tightens and I am pretty sure my blood pressure rises.
I thought about how that made me feel, this first day of a new year and new decade and realized that I needed to let it go. To somehow make that comment not bother me any more. It is really silly that it bothered me so much and even sillier that it still does. I mean, this guy was living with his brother and doing side jobs to make a living. His actual home was a double-wide trailer (in Lake Tahoe, but still). Maybe saying that made him feel better about himself. His brother was not much better with the side comments, so maybe it was a family thing. When I spent a week in their double-wide in Tahoe and was asked to share in a rather expensive restaurant bill (which I was happy to do) instead of just paying for the kids and me he remarked that, after all, I was staying in his home, rent free for a few days.
Anyway, I think that this year I will dedicate to letting things go. Memories like the above, things I don’t need/use/wear, and hopefully a few inches around my waist too.
I am not making resolutions, I am not making a list of things I want to learn, I am not going to try to read a book a week and I am not doing a no-buy challenge. I am just going to let some things go.