Yesterday, D and I celebrated fourteen years of marriage and fifteen years of being-together-ness. We don’t usually get to do much for our anniversary cause this tends to be a really busy month for both of us but this year the planets, stars and schedules aligned, so we were able to spend the day together doing lovely things. We had a whole afternoon wandering around the National Museum of Scotland (the photo above was taken from the seventh floor roof garden), went to a gorgeous little Lebanese restaurant (with the best hummus ever) for dinner, then headed home to play with our newly acquired Nintendo Wii.
I’m honestly so excited about the Wii. We’ve been a zero console household for years because D tends to play PC games and although I love a bit of Tekken, I’m not into gaming enough to justify the cost of consoles and games. A few years ago, friends of ours got a Wii and after some tipsy Mario Kart sessions we were both hooked. We thought “Yeah, we should get one of those some day” but never got around to it. After realising how cheaply they can be bought second hand, we decided to get ourselves one. It’s black. Because of course it is. Grown-up goths forever.
This post is basically All The Happy. I absolutely adore this time of year and I’m so grateful to be spending this Yule in our lovely new home. Ever since I heard the word hygge (kind of a physical and emotional cosiness, but here’s the Wikipedia article for a better explanation), it has played a part in pretty much every choice I’ve made about decor, lighting and furniture. I was looking up how to use hygge correctly in a description (I think it’s hyggelig or hyggeligt but I’m not sure which) and found a perfect word that I didn’t know existed until tonight – julehygge! It’s hygge specifically for this time of year.
I’m sitting in a room lit with candles, a glitter lamp and fairy lights on our baby tree (it lives in a pot and will be spending the rest of the year in the garden, growing up). There’s gold and black tinsel on the yukka and the rubber plant. There’s a cat snoozing on a pile of cushions next to me. I’m wearing pyjamas, wrapped in a fluffy blanket and feeling snuggly (and hyggelig/t). My parents are arriving this time next week for a few days and D has two more days at work until he’s off until the end of the month.
The last decade has been incredibly tough. Living with a chronic illness where I’m in almost constant pain and running on very little power can make things really difficult, especially as it massively affects my ability to do the exercise I need to do to minimise progression of the damage to my back and legs from an old injury. I took care of myself as best I could but I’d been skimming along rock bottom the entire time and as much as I needed to completely change how I lived my life, I couldn’t do it in any meaningful or effective way because it wasn’t financially viable. Right now, it is, just about. I ended a part-time freelance work contract that had been causing more unhappiness, stress and cognitive dissonance than it (or anything, really) was worth. It was a big, scary step but it is one hundred per cent the right thing to have done. We’re super careful with money because we have to be but I’m finally able to give myself some much-needed space to prioritise my health and manage my time instead of struggling to get through each day.
December is my month off. I made a conscious choice not to plan, not to think about the future and not to make any big decisions. This is a luxury I have literally never had before in my life and I am so unbelievably grateful that I have it right now. Come January, I will focus on what happens next and what I want to do. I intend to give full and honest consideration to what is realistic for me and remember that waking up crying every morning after two hours sleep because everything hurts and my brain is imploding, loading up on frustratingly necessary stimulants and painkillers to get through the day, and accepting dissociative episodes as the refreshing alternative to near-constant anxiety attacks is not feasible. Until then I am allowing myself to nurture a beautiful sense of hygge, spend time with friends and family, go for wintery walks when I’m able to, make our home extra lovely and allow parts of my soul to resurface and grow that had been buried under pain, exhaustion and fear for far too long.
My heart is so full of gratitude and love. In a world filled with so much violence and horror, especially right now, I appreciate every second of goodness and am in no doubt about how immensely lucky I am.