A seemingly simple word, associated with satisfied people or happy families, is actually a complex metaphor of dominant imperatives that some handle in the correct way, and others not so much. One thing is certain – those truly brave don’t even take them into consideration.
When did lifestyle become the question of all questions? The answer lies, to a large extent, at the very core of contemporary communication based on visuals, pictures, airs, image that a person reflects in their environment as a form of a non-verbal i.d.
Image, comprised from a myriad of different elements, like a mosaic, contains all the messages that the person “sends” to the world around them. About themselves, of course. The manner in which these will be interpreted depends also on the “eye of the beholder”, how interested and how capable others are of observing and understanding. Be that as it may, we can express almost everything there is to know about us through our appearance, from our social status and education, to our taste, style and, finally, lifestyle. Today’s world communicates in visual codes, that allow us to judge – and frequently dismiss – the person sitting opposite us even before they speak.
This is why lifestyle is sometimes a faithful, and sometimes a deliberately deceptive representation of habits, personal standards, expectations, tastes and education of each of us. And it sends a clear message, even when it is free of ostentation, completely immune to “showing off”, independent of others’ judgement. That is exactly when it is at its most authentic. This well known formula applies to much in life. Those that can experience complete satisfaction only when they are noticed, when they elicit reactions, when they gain approval and endorsement from their environment are usually the puppets of that same environment (the case is even more severe with those who get full satisfaction from provoking judgement, negative comments and disdain). Because, to do things to gain others’ approval means to give others unlimited power.
In such a case, how faithfully do the displayed lifestyle and self-image reflect the true aspirations of the person? Partially, or not at all. Photos from summer holidays or evening parties are always a good indicator; and just how far this has gone can be seen from the jokes on social networks. Such as, for example, fake enjoyment of a night out to snap the perfect selfie for Instagram or taking pictures in the lobby of the most luxurious hotel on the riviera – one we are not staying at.
Pressured by the fantasy of success, perhaps the cruellest dictator of our times, many are aware that they will be “out of the game” if their lifestyle does not come with five gold stars. The image of happiness portrayed on billboards yields unrealistic dreams, excludes self-improvement; it is focused on finding shortcuts and instant solutions and very dependent on the approval of others. In all of this, the real needs of the person are left on the sidelines, and there is an increasing number of people who never truly get to know who they are because they are too busy striving for “perfection”. For example, spending summer holidays at the “hot” location and not where they would actually feel fulfilled. With regards to this completely common life activity, which should be a cause for joy and not a burden, people can be classified into two groups.
The first group will go to the place dictated by trends and “successful, influential people” and, consciously or unconsciously, sacrifice their own desires. Others will do the same, but the difference is that this group doesn’t even know what it is that they like, that they truly enjoy.
Authentic choices are a minority, just like authentic people. Yes, they are the ones that may even keep up to date on the most popular things, even on “ultimate trends”, but will only accept them if they really like them and can adapt them to suit their needs. And, of course, they will take photos to capture lasting memories and not to impress or irritate the world, which never gives up on its pre-formed opinion anyway.
autor: Saša Anđelković