“I don’t want a lifeSTYLE. I want a LIFE.”
Yep, I said that and I stick by it, though when I said it I was in my twenties, and the term “lifestyle” was pretty new. To me it carried with it the idea that life was a product. It seemed to turn life into a superficial commodity, a fashion, something that could be curated, decorated, washed and set, categorized.
Back then the people I saw with lifestyles were guys like Billy Kidd, the great skier who lived the ski-star lifestyle, Jackie O who lived the jet-setter lifestyle, and Mick Jagger who defined the lifestyle of the rock star, lots of “sex and drugs and rock’n’roll.” Donald Trump had a lifestyle; not a LIFE.
The lifestyles around me at the time, from which I could choose, were ski-bum, successful young lawyer/executive, grad school, and mom. If I had to pick any of them, I think ski-bum would be the best, but I stuck with my idea of having a life rather than a style and even now, I can’t find a pigeonhole for what this is I have. The photo of my dog, Mindy, recently clipped wearing my Dead Kennedys T-shirt says it all.
Lifestyle vs. Life is a philosophical question. Do we do what we do because of who we are or are we what we do? For me, as Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote:
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves–goes itself; myself it speaks and spells
Crying, What I do is me: for that I came