Not Much Style to this Life

“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

7 thoughts on “Not Much Style to this Life

  1. I just love Ian Drury, the personification of a cockney accent, although not a born cockney. He came from the area near where my dad lived – Harlow, although he claimed Upminster which would have been nearer. There were lifestyles which I would have been glad to have, but never got round to it. I was too busy moving around. The nearest I got to drugs was smoking and now and again too much of the drink when I was a teenager, but today I don’t drink or smoke. There are always things I would have loved to have achieved as a life style when younger, but life just takes it course. Who needs a style if you are content with your life.

    • Exactly! I love Ian Dury, too. The first song of his I heard was “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick.” It was “Where have you been all my life???”

  2. I just wanted cooler clothing and better shoes. The rest of it? It was never going to be for me, but clothing and maybe some really great furniture … and a very very HOT camera.

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