Living a Lifestyle, or Living a Life

A few days ago, I read an advice column on my Google news feed in which a woman wrote in wondering what to do about her husband. They’d been married for a long time and had raised a son together, built a small business, and spent a lot of time working on their house. But now that their son was grown and on his own and they no longer had their business, her husband didn’t want to do anything she wanted to do activity-wise. She said in her letter she wondered if they had stayed married for the ‘lifestyle’.

I thought this was interesting question because I had never really thought of the term ‘lifestyle’ for what she had described. But it got me thinking and finally a question has come to my mind:

Are you living a lifestyle, or living a life?

I think in this woman’s case here she was looking back and thinking they had spent so many years on a set path of childrearing, business, and home without anything else. I have a feeling if you looked further past the surface of what she described you might find a need to maintain a certain appearance or a certain way of living.

Many years ago after I went out on my own for the first time, I began to wonder if  a certain type of lifestyle would be for me. I wondered if I had ventured out and gotten married and had kids, would I have settled down as a stay-at-home mom or a working mom? Would I have gotten so caught up in that I would have put my own goals and dreams aside for everyone else?

Now please understand, I’m not knocking anyone’s life choices. I believe with all my heart and soul every single person has to figure things out for themselves. But I will say this in return: who are you living for and why?

I spent my twenties trying not to let my own life get in the way of my responsibilities though that didn’t work out too well. I will say this, if you ever feel you have no time to yourself then do whatever it takes to make that time and stand up for it, too. And to anyone who thinks someone is a selfish brat for doing what they want to do in their sometimes-limited free time, fuck you. In reality, no one should have to feel like they’re hoarding their own time and freedom and feel like they have to defend it.

Another question here then is this: do you feel like you have to live to someone else’s expectations and not your own? If so, why? To be honest, I really don’t think people give two shits about what other people are doing unless they’re exceptionally bored and stupid. So if you’re worried about what some bored and stupid person thinks and what they’ll say to you, I say this:

You do NOT have to respond to everyone who says something to you or about you and the life you live.

This is a radical concept to say the least because I’m sure the first reaction is how rude. But I don’t think it’s rude to a let a stupid comment or piece of advice lie on the table untouched like the turd it is. Why? Because your time is your own and unless you’re out destroying mailboxes or beating on people, you can do what you want in your own free time.

But this feeling that you have to respond or show someone that you’re doing what you’re supposed to just to keep them quiet is total fucking bullshit. Most people don’t advertise their every movement and there is no need to. I mean, if someone wants to sit on their sofa eating potato chips and vegging out to Netflix, more power to them. But this idea that people have to do certain things because of this or that or because of what someone might think, again, that’s total fucking bullshit.

And most of all, if you’re a crazy creative-type like I am, it’s a real battle sometimes to push all those stupid boring-ass people out of your mind. Of course I’m sure they would fire back and say what about this here? My response to that: this piece here isn’t about you. This piece is for anyone who needs to know it’s okay to live a life and not some ‘lifestyle’. For as I wrote the day before yesterday, there is no such thing as a sure thing and there never was in the first place. Don’t try to live your life like it’s a guaranteed path that won’t have any bumps or detours.

If you want my opinion on this: don’t live a lifestyle. Live a life. Sure life can be messy and unpredictable as hell sometimes. But unless you sit around boring yourself into a puddle of bullshit and destroying your brain cells, it won’t be so bad. You don’t have to numb yourself out to put up with people’s bullshit. You just have to shut the door on their bullshit and live your life the way you want to.

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