happiness

The Ultimate Satisfaction

Be careful what you wish for, it might come true!

It’s exciting to daydream about future plans, but it can get a bit too exciting when all of a sudden it seems like it may actually come true. I want to do that… one day! If I had a penny for every time I said it, I would be moderately wealthy by now. Daydreaming in general is my safe place, it can be completely devoted to details like someone’s shoes and socks combination, or it can lead to making up hilarious scenarios in my head. The leading roles sometimes belong to people I know like friends and family, sometimes it’s random strangers or even completely invented personalities.

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It’s all about the Fear

I do feel like there was a certain change in my mindset, though. I no longer follow the familiar routine:

I’m not ready yet, I’ll do that after I’m done with this thing, and then I have to finish that other thing, and then I’ll go for what I have always wanted.

Solving the step by step puzzle becomes exhausting and in the end I’ll lose the primary goal from my focus and that’s that, until the next time when I start it all over again. What lies beneath it all is the fear that derives from two sources – the natural fear of failure and more complex and contradictory – the fear of success. Overthinking is the mother of all failures, it is even bigger than actual failure because it stops you from trying in the first place and that is when you feel unhappy. Overthinking is the opposite of the best Instagram filters – it brings out only the flaws and worst case scenarios, creating scary endings in our minds before we have even reached the beginning. It takes a lot of time to learn how to wrestle with the ‘overthink’ demon and finally pin him to the ground. We all have this image of our ideal self in mind, it can be more or less realistic depending on our ability to be an objective observer,  but the more you stray away from that image, the bigger the frustration.

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Never Complain, Never Explain

The best way of living a calm, fulfilled life comes from not comparing your own status, abilities and achievements with others. Sounds simple, but we all know it’s not always THAT simple, right? I suppose it was easier to achieve in the pre-Internet era, but when it comes to emotions and ambition, people weren’t that different 20, 30 years ago after all. Just the other day I had an interesting discussion with a friend that made me think about the absurdity of the social media persona most of us have created. It doesn’t mean we are all ‘selling’ that filtered image with a goal to become a brand and attract audience, but even the intimate moments serve as a representation of something we are trying to emphasize. What we seek with it, to be more precise, what our online persona looks for is approval. Approval of our life choices, looks, boyfriends, girlfriends, jobs, careers and lifestyles. The next step, if possible, is causing admiration and, although we are reluctant to admit it, jealousy. Just for a day, or maybe only for a couple of magical moments that are captured and enhanced through the lenses of our super smart phones, we are the winners. Yes. Look at me, I love life and it loves me back.

Don’t Follow Leaders

I don’t know what I think about it now, it used to annoy me much more before, I guess I’ve learned to deal with it. Also, I follow the imaginary line that gives me a ‘warning’ when someone crosses is it. My closest friends never cross that line of overly exposing themselves while begging for approval and I am very grateful for that. It makes me feel at peace and destroys the anxiety from its roots.

During our conversations we got to the conclusion how real satisfaction is achieved. I call it a ‘modern-day ultimate satisfaction‘. The recipe? I get goosebumps only writing about it, yet it’s so banal. When something (or someone)  special happens to you, you don’t immediately share it with the rest of the world. Maybe later,  but here’s a crazy idea,  maybe never.  You jealously keep that information for yourself and cherish the intimacy, there are no Facebook check-ins, photo albums  Instagram posts, screenshots,  etc.  Whether it’s just a shiny detail that made your day or grand life achievement that’s going to make a bigger impact,  don’t spill the beans just yet.  There is something so appealing in a dose of mystery, compare it to a sexy outfit that can be revealing, but it’s not really showing too much. This feel good experience can’t be overshadowed by any amount of attention. When it comes to making plans, I heard smart people conclude that the more you talk about your goals and dreams,  it is less likely they will come true.  So, once again,  be careful.

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Black humour, cold weather and warm, happy feelings

After a colossal fuck up of a week and much more pleasant first part of the weekend, I can only super intelligently conclude – life moves on. It really does. Even if it’s moving in a slightly awkward, gloomy way. The love of cinematography and simple design aesthetic of clothes, interior and life in general started bringing Scandinavia to my focus 4 or 5 ago. More precisely, the mentioned cinematographic aspect placed Denmark in the spotlight of my interests. I have this love – hate relationship with the most internationally acclaimed Danish director, controversial (by American standards at least) Lars von Trier because let’s say I like half of his (newer) work and the rest not so much due to unknown reasons, I’ve never felt the need to explore them by now.  I just want to add that the ‘touchy’ subjects or gruesome, overly sexualized scenes are not part of the problem, on the contrary, I am used to and usually drawn to that kind of ‘vivid’ expression.

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Anyways, thanks to von Trier I’ve discovered the Dogme movement and director Thomas Vinterberg whos style blew me away after watching the movie The Celebration.   The days of following Dogme rules are now behind him, but I continue to appreciate every new film he creates. Ugh, this was not supposed to turn into a movie post, but I have to add some other directors like Nicolas Winding Refn, Anders Thomas Jensen and Susanne Bier. Many different styles (for example Winding Refn and Bier are almost incomparable to me; aggression vs, pure emotion), but they all have something in common – the dark, ironic, raw, sometimes humorous approach to the story. The dark part can easily be described as ‘too dark’ for those who like to cherish society’s taboos or are simply used to a different sense of humour/storytelling.

All  those elements they generally have in common can be perscriped to Danish mentality and social structure; this can’t be applied to the whole nation of course, it’s more of a generalized stereotype of traits such as: self criticizm, tolerance, equality, being prone to modest, but quality lifestyle, etc.  And of course, the all round acceptance of alcohol consumption from the teenage years – maybe that’s why the Danes keep regaining ‘the happiest people in the world’ title.

The motivation to write all of this on a cold but feel – good cosy Saturday afternoon is one word  that is getting more and more popular on social media – hygge (pronounced hoo-ga or something like that – Danish language is weird).

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The thing about languages is that each one of them has some words that can’t be translated in English for example, but they can be closely described in a way, but without capturing the full meaning known to the native ‘inventors’ of the word. To put it as simply as possible – hygge is a trademark that represents Danish approach to life, it basically means ‘creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people‘.

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It can be translated as ‘cosyness’ or ‘togetherness’, but the simple translation doesn’t do it justice.  Having a tasty cup of coffee/tea with your friends is hygge. Reading an awesome book curled up on a sofa with a blanket is hygge. Having a walk in the park while holding hands is hygge. Inviting a couple of friends home for a simple dinner and talk is hygge.

You get the picture, and if you haven’t by now – google it, the photos are amazing. Also, I have to share another quote/description of hygge that I found and find the most attractive, just reading it makes me calm down:

A complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.

The christmassy time of the year we’re in now is when hygge is most appreciated due to cold weather, especially in Denmark and the rest of the Scandinavia. It’ s a way of saying ‘Yes it’s really dark and cold, but hey, we can be happy and have fun nevertheless!’

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I appreciate the little things more than anything, I’ve always had, even though I didn’t know that whole set of feelings and simple pleasures has its own name. The best part of it all is, you can create hygge with no problems starting from your home – find some candles, use different lightning or even light bulbs, get a warm blanket, maybe a new fluffy rug… or take a bubble bath! You can experience hygge alone or by inviting your favourite people over, the only important thing is to feel comfortable and relaxed. That’s about it, can you feel it already ?

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