Of the cozy life

Each year I get a little more comfortable with how I want to live my life. This really is the wonderful thing about ageing that we learn who we are and, in doing so, become more comfortable with this self-knowledge. Less by less do I feel the desire to pretend to be something I am not. It is a wonderful thing.

Increasingly, my preference is to pursue a life of the cozy. The things that get me excited these days are not lining up to try the buzzy new restaurant or throwing myself into a concert’s seething mass, but instead simple, quiet pleasures. 

A simple demonstration of what I mean: the joy I experienced, deep and profound, upon receiving a shipment of new socks. They are thick and soft and warm. They came in a variety of staid yet rewarding colourways. One is the exact same green of the fountain pen I am using to write the first draft of this essay. The other is a ruddy brick red that makes me feel warm and comforted just by looking at it. To appreciate the joy of new socks is to be attuned to the cozy.

A cozy life is a satisfying one, perhaps because coziness has, at its core, a sense of quiet self-care. Coziness is all about slowing down, disconnecting from an oft cruel and chaotic world, and connecting with the pleasures of doing simple things just for one’s self. Indeed, coziness helps reorient our focus and attention from the big world-threatening issues that can make us feel powerless to simple immediate gratification that restores us. Think of brewing some coffee on a cold winter afternoon while wearing a delightfully warm fleecy jumper. The world feels a little bit better. Moments of coziness reminds us that while there is so much wrong with our world and our lives, there will always be solace in simple joys. 

Coziness is healing. For those who share my disposition towards depression and anxiety, coziness, with its natural focus on gentle self-care, is incredibly helpful. When I’m at my lower ebbs, consciously deciding I am going to take a cozy afternoon helps me weather the storm. The worries and concerns are, of course, still there, but one feels better. A small moment of coziness is a sensible antidote to that which ails you.  

The shape of coziness will differ for everyone, and rightfully so, but I suspect there are some common elements:

  • Physical comfort: Socks, fleeces, warm cuddly slippers, hot water bottles, cushions, soft friendly fabrics. Or a gentle breeze, shade, comfy shoes. 
  • Emotional comfort: gentle music, a hot drink, some snacks, a conscious decision to set the pressing matters of the day aside, perhaps even a three-legged greyhound by your side. 
  • Idle distractions: an absorbing but narratively gentle book—I read the first book in Becky Chamber’s Monk and Robot series lately and it was perfectly cozy—a movie where nothing much happens and the camera lingers gently on the landscape, a video game where you can do something satisfying like run a boutique farm or befriend a variety of animal friends. Or, of course, a creative project like crochet or colouring-in. 

There are bonus factors, which are sufficient but not necessary conditions of coziness: rain, snow, BATHS, being in a vaguely arboreal setting, having a long weekend. Again, coziness is different for everyone and I heartily encourage you to explore what is cozy for you. 

Given the social pressure to be productive at all times, being cozy is a brave and necessary act of rebellion. So much of society is predicated on performative business which hurts us all. Deciding to be cozy is to connect with who we are and to respect the simple, honest pleasures available to us. 

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