Lifestyle is a term that has become intrinsic to our modern lexicon. It touches on everything from personal fashion and diet choices to social behaviors and consumption patterns. But with such a broad scope, what exactly does ‘lifestyle’ mean? How can we best define this term that seems to encapsulate so much of human existence?
The word ‘lifestyle’ originated in the early 20th century, evolving from the older term ‘style of life’, which was primarily used in the psychological realm to describe individual life patterns and behaviors. Today, the term has expanded well beyond its origins to include a myriad of personal choices and practices.
A Basic Definition:
At its most fundamental, lifestyle can be defined as:
“The habits, attitudes, tastes, moral standards, economic level, etc., that together constitute the mode of living of an individual or group.”
However, as with many concepts, this basic definition can be unpacked further.
Components of Lifestyle:
- Habits and Routines: These are the daily practices and rituals we engage in, from our morning routine to our bedtime rituals. This includes our eating habits, exercise routines, and even our screen time.
- Attitudes and Values: Our attitudes towards various aspects of life, be it work, relationships, or leisure, all come under lifestyle. This also encompasses our broader worldviews and values, which shape our behaviors and choices.
- Tastes and Preferences: What we enjoy in terms of entertainment, food, fashion, and hobbies all fall under the purview of lifestyle.
- Social and Economic Factors: Our social interactions, relationships, networks, and our economic status also play a crucial role. For instance, a person’s socio-economic status can greatly influence their lifestyle choices, from where they live to what they eat.
- Cultural and Environmental Influences: Our upbringing, cultural background, and even the geographic region we come from or reside in can significantly influence our lifestyles.
In today’s digital age, the term ‘lifestyle’ has also been co-opted by the influencer culture, giving rise to terms like ‘lifestyle blogger’ or ‘lifestyle brand’. In this context, lifestyle often pertains to an aspirational way of living – a curated presentation of one’s life, often showcasing affluence, aesthetic appeal, and desirability.
Lifestyle is a multifaceted term that encompasses a range of personal choices, behaviors, and cultural influences. It’s more than just habits or daily routines; it’s a reflection of who we are, our values, and how we choose to navigate the world around us. As society evolves and diversifies, our understanding and interpretation of ‘lifestyle’ will undoubtedly continue to change and expand. But at its core, lifestyle will always be about the mosaic of choices and practices that define our individual and collective experiences.