So what IS Lifestyle?
We find ourselves picking up magazines and watching a plethora of trivial TV programmes all annotated with the title of LIFESTYLE…it’s a phrase so often used in modern day life and in so many books, documents, publications and in the media and I simply wonder whether anyone stops to contemplate what the phrase means to you as an individual.
“It’s self explanatory” I hear you say and yes initially that would be the impression but dig a little deeper and you will find that generally speaking it is “All things to all men” …in other words one persons acceptable glamorous lifestyle is potentially another person’s purgatory.
I took some time to look into what the dictionary meaning of Lifestyle is and it is a term relating to the art styles in the 1950′s but has now been adopted to mean many differing aspects of life.
Wikepedia definition: Lifestyle (sociology), the way a person lives to one’s own ability
I would like to consider it in a similar but slightly different way.
… two syllables
First syllable ……………………. LIFE
The meaning of life has been pondered down through the ages and in the comedy by Monty Python the meaning of life was looked at in ways many of us would never consider.
Going away from a comedic look at life if we break it down into its simplest and most basic terms; for a human being to live, they require three things FOOD, WATER and SHELTER
It could be argued (and I am open to that in any comments you might leave on the site) that the human also requires social integration, emotional support etc but I am going to concentrate upon the three key elements listed above as the basis of a look into different LIFESTYLE options available to us right this moment….and then perhaps look at why one or the other is more important to one person than to another. Other aspects of the human psyche may be addressed in another article.
What do we recognise by LIFESTYLE?
Other websites and magazines look at LIFESTYLE in a different way with the emphasis firmly on all those things which require you to spend money with the likes of antiques, homes, holidays, food, gardening, fashion, and consumer advice highly focused upon but again for this article I would prefer to you to consider this in a more basic way.
Who the heck am I to talk?
Before I try to draw you further into this discussion perhaps I should give you an insight into who I am and why I consider myself to be in any way qualified to talk with you on this subject.
Well, I have NO sociology degree so this is not part of a sociology study or thesis but at the age of 57 I have considerable experience in a number of significant areas gained in most part in the clichéd ”University of Life”. Additionally I have lived in different parts of the world and experienced many different cultures, been subjected to the strict regime enforced by being in the military for almost 30 years , however, this is balanced by long periods spent exploring and searching for other LIFESTYLE regimes.
I have been fortunate to have rubbed shoulders with the very rich and influential in big business and have owned my own small company but equally worked or volunteered for nothing just to help others. At the age of 51 I quit a high placed position and highly paid job to spend a year as a backpacker living in hostels and on beaches or working as a woofer on farms in Australasia and in Asia and so am well placed to, at the very least, encourage some interesting thinking about YOUR current or future lifestyle situation.
No lecturing here…
This is by no means a lecture on how I think you should live your life, rather, consider this an article which might evoke a rational (or drunken) debate over a glass of wine, jug of beer or bag of goon. Some of those self same discussions have charged me into action myself so just look at this as a little acorn from which you may grow into the proverbial oak tree in stature….remember, any change does require a catalyst.
Pics above show that life style means different things to different people…most of these are photos by my sons and I who have a much more “earthy view of life than many…not so much bling here except around Ian’s neck!!
If you look at one or two of the other review articles on this and many other travel related sites you will see that many of them are specifically presented to cater for our need to access each of these three main LIFE critical criteria…Food,Drink,Shelter
These articles and reviews will have key sections invariably relating to Accommodation, Food, Drink and Cuisine (our 3 key LIFE Elements)….these aptly cover the three essentials to your survival whether it be day to day living or in fact a simple one week holiday. So whether you head to Vegas, Dubai or Hong Kong you will be interested in where you will be sheltered and what food and drink you will survive on…. Yes I appreciate it is not ALL about simple survival but it is the core starting point and for many in third world countries it is ONLY survival that they can look forward to.
The STYLE in LIFESTYLE comes into play when you determine how and where you wish to eat the food you have, how and where you wish to drink the drink you have and then importantly where and how you wish to live in the shelter you have…oh yes…a bit of pleasure and fun along the way is not one of the essentials…or is it?!!
So, whether that will be finding your shelter on a sampan wallowing in the South China sea off Hong Kong or whether you will be shown to the penthouse suite in the prestigious Peninsula hotel on Hong Kong Island; whether you will camp in solitude in Alaska, live in a commune in Israel , adopt a nomadic life never settling in any place or whether you simply follow the lead you have been provided by your parents and family these are all the factors leading to your current, future or lost lifestyle.
Now the three essentials of life can be provided to us in so many different ways and forms and in this modern world they all have an associated cost…not just monetary but also in the impact they may have on our living world and it is this factor as much as any which is now heavily influencing the current trend to buck the lifestyle you are used to and adopt another which is simply much more conscious of the issues affecting our planet and its population.
How therefore, do we choose the lifestyle we wish to adopt; consider these searching questions and one or two sample answers below them:
- As mentioned above, is our lifestyle chosen for us through our upbringing and culture?
- If this is indeed the case is it possible to adopt a lifestyle different to the one you have become accustomed to?
- If you do have a choice which type of lifestyle would you choose?
- If you have restrictions do you then have a choice?
- What would it take to make you wish to change your lifestyle?
- What does it take to change your lifestyle?
- What about pleasure? Life is not surely just about survival…
- What affect does advertising have upon your LIFESTYLE?
- What affect does politics in your particular country (and other countries for that matter) have on your lifestyle?
- How does our education or “intelligence” impact our lifestyle?
- Can other individuals or groups effect changes to your lifestyle?
- How does religion have an impact upon your lifestyle?
- How does money come into the lifestyle equation?
- Can your lifestyle reflect your compassion for others or your benevolence?
- Can we ever really be content that we have our lifestyle the way we wish it?
My thoughts?..any good?
Let us look at these questions individually:
As mentioned above, is our lifestyle chosen for us through our upbringing and culture?
Our upbringing is the foundation for the rest of our life and this is demonstrably irrefutable but in the modern age (in many but not all societies) most of us have the opportunity to alter and adjust our lifestyle to suit ourselves according to our interpretation of our own feelings. Gone are the days when you religiously adhered to exactly the same pattern of life as your parents had…there is so so much more choice of direction available to us now.
If this is indeed the case is it possible to adopt a lifestyle different to the one you have become accustomed to?
I believe it is but you have to factor in the whole host of other influences outlined below to determine whether you have the character and mental and psychological ability to make those changes.
If you do have a choice which type of lifestyle would you choose?
You do have a choice, in fact probably too many choices but it then is simply down to the person you are and how you respond to all the external influences attempting to persuade you to adopt specific lifestyles to suit other persons agenda (advertising plays a huge part here)If you want to drive a huge gas guzzler then that is your choice, live in a huge house…again your choice, put on a backpack and head out to offset the damage by the gas guzzler…your choice again but try to think about who is attempting to influence you and why.
If you have restrictions do you then have a choice?
By restrictions this can mean geographical, cultural, religious, health and financial to name but a few but each and all of these restrictions does have some element of flexibility associated and so whilst there may be less capability to adopt what you might perceive as a perfect lifestyle, there is still some opportunity to make radical changes towards that lifestyle. It is true to say though that many facets of global society do have a significant disadvantage in their starting point and for this reason it is always good to consider the plight of others before trying to establish what you feel might be your ideal lifestyle.
How do you get to a point where you can look inwardly and realise that you do have more of a choice than you care to let yourself believe?
Often this self appraisal comes about when you hit a low in your life and look for answers…Often, but not always, because I have made changes in my life and yet I consider myself very, very lucky and have not had the same lows which many have experienced. Just remain open to different views and never reject any recommendation thinking you could NOT change…everyone ALWAYS changes it is just the degree that is in question here…heading out of a comfort zone is not so easy
What would it take to make you wish to change your lifestyle?
Something about your life circumstances and your refusal to accept those changes MUST result in change if you are to successfully adjust your Lifestyle to accommodate your current thoughts and feelings.
What does it take to change your lifestyle?
An initial desire to change and then probably a catalyst to help you make the changes needed. The initial desire can only come about by alteration of your thoughts and feelings brought about in a number of ways; advertising, peer pressure, social media pressure and other social pressures and initiatives.
What about pleasure? Life is not surely just about survival…
Correct…we all wish to enjoy our life and of course there are so many ways we can make our lives more enjoyable. Lifestyle can and should be enjoyabe but of course maybe it’s worth thinking whether we are enjoying “pleasure Activities” at the expense of other who are struggling to meet the basic needs of survival….enter your conscience.
What affect does advertising have upon your LIFESTYLE?
Advertising is not a new thing …but it is insanely huge now and cleverly disguises mechanisms to trick and coerce the unwary and vulnerable into entering themselves into a lifestyle which they neither require or can sustain which in turn leads to illness and poor health amongst other things. Just be aware…you cannot avoid it but you can resist it.
What affect does politics in your particular country (and other countries for that matter)
have on your lifestyle?
Politics has always impacted upon us all and affected our lifestyle…just know it and if it is preventing you living the lifestyle you wish then provided you are living in a democracy you are empowered to do something about change…it isn’t easy but you can debate this one forever!!
How does our education or “intelligence” impact our lifestyle?
Some of us appear to be more ambitious or restless, some of us are quite content with their lot and some of us live their live moving from one stance to another…It really would now need Sociology degrees and special testing to determine which group might present higher IQ or indeed whether there is any link at all between our choices and pure IQ or Education and the choices we make. Take time to look at the video posted on this site about Dick Proenneke who took himself to live a unique lifestyle in the Wild …was he intelligent? Was he educated at the top universities?(watch his story here) I believe we will indeed be more susceptible to peer/advertising pressure if we are less logical or cant reason rationally but is this indication of differing intelligence…Gary doesn’t know…sorry.
Can other individuals or groups effect changes to your lifestyle?
Peer pressure, family pressure, religious pressure, advertising pressure all impact greatly and it sometimes requires a strong character to resit these pressures before a change to circumstances and their lifestyle can take place…nothing easy here…either accept it and run with it or pucker up the courage to resist. It really only depends upon how much you really want to change your life style.
How does religion have an impact upon your lifestyle?
This is such a far reaching subject that I am not even going to give my thoughts other than to say you have to make your choices about your religious and social stance at the same time as deliberating over your lifestyle…they are usually inextricably intertwined.
How does money come into the lifestyle equation?
Every political, religious and social decision these days if blighted with the need/desire/greed driven power of money. Many have attempted and some succeeded in living a lifestyle based upon barter with the concept of money never ever entering the equation…but this is rare and difficult to administer. We can all, however, consider not putting our focus exclusively upon money and you will certainly find a weight off your shoulder and a bit of real peace. really think hard about how money impacts everything in your existence and then look at nature and imagine a year living in nature and what the differences would be without the requirement to pay for absolutely everything.
It is however an undeniable fact that in this world we cannot possibly survive a “Simple Life” without some form of income…the size degree and way we generate this income is a totally separate debate.
Can your lifestyle reflect your compassion for others or your benevolence?
Course it can…look at the people who you admire the most and you will find that the majority of them are very conscious of their position on the planet and most of them will be taking steps to use their position to help others and bring a little bit more equality to the earth’s population.
Can we ever really be content that we have our lifestyle the way we wish it?
Maybe, maybe not…I want this Nirvana but it still eludes me.
You have a choice but can you make it?
I keep making choices and noone is twisting my arm to do it!! Knowing what I know am I any closer to making a final and lasting decision on the LIFESTYLE I wish to adopt? Probably not; I have been so close so many times and it now seems to me that to change your mind is not just the prerogative of all the females on the planet but we males also should not feel uncomfortable doing so!!
Look at me…I am currently living in a 6 bedroom 5 bathroom mansion with stables and a swimming pool in the UK and am I content? No not really. In the past year I have lived on a farm in Greece sleeping in a bunkhouse shared with 3 others, lived in numerous guest houses and hotels throughout Europe, lived in a basement flat with my son and our friend in Heiraklion, Crete, lived in a suburb of Athens, Greece and lived in a luxury Villa in Southern Italy. For the whole time I have been living out of a backpack but the LIFESTYLE associated with each of these places is really quite diverse.
I have no comprehensive answer to many of these debate questions and perhaps there is no complete answer…this is why we as the human race are so fascinating and diverse. The world would be an extremely dull place if we all led the self same lifestyle and so it is remarkably good to research and consider other peoples lifestyle choices before making adjustments to your own. I personally would relish more equality in this world of ours and I also see nothing tree hugging or weird about thinking this way and I do not have any fear of what others might say ….. Dealing with FEAR ….now this is another article to evoke debate.
You might like to check out an article “Should you retrench your lifestyle?
BY SARAH BRITTEN I found which is related to changing your lifestyle.
I wish you all the best in making your way through LIFE… with your very own STYLE interpretation. Please feel free to add to this article with comments below and I will even incorporate your thoughts in the body of the article if it suits.. :)