Lifestyle checklist: Quick hacks to turn your life into an enviable lifestyle
The dictionary defines a lifestyle as ‘the way in which a person lives’. This is both painfully obvious and strangely vague all at the same time. Step back for a second and take a look at your life; chances are the kids are swinging from the chandeliers (or would be if you ever had time to buy one), your boss is bombarding you with emails signed off with passive-aggressive smileys, your beau is complaining that he never gets to see you, and most of your meals look more fast-food-window than artistic Pinterest feed. So, what exactly is ‘lifestyle’ supposed to mean to you? Wait, not just you, but all women in the Western hemisphere who aren’t a) Blake Lively or b) Reese Witherspoon?
Well, the first thing the dictionary teaches us is that when a definition is this vague we’re likely dealing with a made up concept. More precisely? A marketing ploy.
‘Lifestyle’ is an aspirational concept. It’s a clever tool designed to allure people currently only living their lives into living their lives. (Still with us?) It’s a far more complex story than simply eating, breathing, sleeping and doing the innumerable little things throughout the day that technically make up our lives. So it’s not just a life, but a way of life. You know the types – those led by certain wholesome, blow dry aficionados Lively and Witherspoon. (Although, ladies, do please take comfort in the fact that not every celeb we hear about actually lives a perfect life).
Now, this is isn’t a condemnation of the concept. In fact, here at YCB we’d like to think it’s quite the opposite. ‘Lifestyle’, as we’ve discovered, is not necessarily a tangible thing: no one can own it, and much less tell you what it’s supposed to mean to you or how your lifestyle should relate to your real life. It means that anyone with an imagination – so all of us, really – can turn her life into a lifestyle.
Lifestyle is simply about taking agency over the little things: baking a loaf of bread from scratch once a month or colour-coordinating your cashmere throw with the pillow in the corner. That way when you walk into your bedroom you’ll think you’ve walked into an Apartment Therapy blog post and your kitchen will look like it’s jumped straight from a #homebaking Instagram feed. Sounds pretty fabulous, doesn’t it?
More than a way of life, lifestyle is about curating moments of beauty and pleasure; sometimes for yourself, and sometimes for others. This could be through setting up a blog that you enjoy designing and writing yourself before sharing with a community of people with similar tastes as you. They don’t have to know that you sat there writing your post about haute-couture on the red carpet whilst wearing your seven year old running tee.
Let’s take a successful blogger like Béa – the multi-talented women behind The Tartine Gourmande – as an example. Poring over her pages, you might wonder how on earth you could ever make a picnic look like a still life from the Louvre. Okay we’ll concede, with a lot of practice and an artistic eye, of course, but the entire picnic doesn’t have to be perfect. All we’re talking about here is a little food-styling, breath-holding and finger-crossing for just about long enough to take a picture. Think about it, with your own blog you can upload your perfect picnic photo of your ripe radishes and juicy gooseberries, then bust out the hot dogs, crisps and ketchup that you actually want to eat. Voilà, a lifestyle moment in the middle of your life!