Life VS. Lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a kid growing up I always loved gathering for the holidays because I always got to see my Uncle Tony.  What was great about Uncle Tony was he was a “Dead Head”.  So while all my friends sat around their dinner tables during the holidays and listened to their families talk about how grateful they were and then spend hours complaining about life,  my uncle spoke of touring with the Grateful Dead and how amazing his life was.

This made me realize at a young age the difference on what constitutes a life and what constitutes a lifestyle is pretty ambiguous. One thing that seems pretty clear to me is the lifestyle is observable while a life can have many internal aspects to it. A lifestyle can include people, material things, environments, how we spend our time, energy, and money. A life includes things like our beliefs, our values, our commitments, our soul’s dream, and our vision. If you choose a lifestyle first you could wind up with an empty fortress. If you choose the life first, you will design your lifestyle to support the life.

Since most of us already have a lifestyle, and a default life, we usually have to do some redesign work. Choose a life and then redesign our lifestyle. It is possible that the lifestyle you currently have will never support the life you truly want to live. It is possible the lifestyle you currently have has many supporting structures and only minor renovations need to occur. It is possible that you are a highly intuitive person and your lifestyle is in perfect alignment. I know very few people who fall into that category. My Uncle Tony did but what I noticed about him, was he made a conscious decision to structure his life outside the social norms. He made that decision early in life and lived true to it.

As we evolve we begin to look at various aspects of our lives for congruence to our values and commitments. The disparity shows up with exclamation marks behind them and sometimes our response is discouragement and self-disappointment. We act as if we should have known better when the truth is how could we have known better? So the first thing to get over is “I didn’t know” and then after we get over that we come to “but I know now…now what?” It takes a courageous person to see this and then set their intentions on bringing integrity into their life so that their lifestyle gives them a life that serves their higher self. You will notice some people trying to work around it, pretending it doesn’t matter that their lifestyles don’t measure up to their core values.  Although my Uncle spent 90% of his life living in a VW Van, eating Tofu chili and selling his own Tye-Dye T-shirt designs I never once heard him complain about his life and I never saw his core values not match up with his lifestyle.

The real problem in life is once you see the inconsistency, not doing anything actually makes things worse and you lose ground really fast. It cost you big time to keep that inconsistency in place. You can’t be with yourself and be at peace in your life. It wears you down like water will wear down a mountain over time. Your life will devolve instead of evolve. If that is not a price that’s too high to pay, I don’t know what is. Just think about it and choose wisely the path you will follow.