LIFESTYLE: A CONTINUOUS PROCESS OF ADAPTATION AND ADJUSTMENTS

Geographic location, family background, socioeconomic status, culture, people and individual personality patterns give shape to our lifestyles. There are certain commonalities in the lifestyle of the human race. But, the ways of living out those lifestyles often varies. For example, all humans eat to live and all wear clothes to be socially presentable. However, who eats what and who wears which type of clothes may differ even between houses on the same lane.

And so, we all have our lifestyles. As adults, we either choose to maintain the lifestyle that we are brought up in or we opt to change that lifestyle radically because of certain thought processes or influences in our lives. Many of us decide to tinker with our foundational lifestyle and imbibe a few features of a new lifestyle and find a middle path to retain the old and imbibe the new. Whatever said and done, we all have certain unique lifestyles.

For a little more than twenty years of my life, I grew up in a city that defined my lifestyle with its mannerisms. Later as I moved to the national capital, I found myself blending in with the capital city’s lifestyle all the while holding on to the mannerisms I grew up with. Close to nine years of my stay in the national capital helped me discover myself and be me. That was something I didn’t get to do in the initial years of my life. Presently, my job has brought me to a semi-rural place with its share of challenges. The transition needed a huge lifestyle shift because since the last four generations no one in my family has lived anywhere close to a rural habitation. To live and work in such a set up requires lifestyle changes.

We, humans, are shaped with such personality traits that help us to adapt to our surroundings on most occasions (though the extent to which we adapt varies from person to person). That’s how we thrive. 

But, then some aren’t able to cope with lifestyle changes. There was this family I know who moved to New Zealand from India, on getting more promising work opportunities. Their children were quite small at that time. However, they had to return to India in a year’s time as their little daughter wasn’t able to acquaint herself with the new place and the lifestyle changes. 

Also, there are some who don’t wish to cope with lifestyle changes. There’s a friend’s vegetarian husband who was to travel to London for an official trip of a week. From the day he received the order, he fell sick with rising blood pressure (though he is an absolutely healthy man). His worry was how would he have his meals at a place that served non-vegetarian food! (He assumed there is no space for vegetarians in Western countries). Well, finally he ended up stuffing his suitcases with a lot of eatables so that he won’t have to eat a thing in London. Of course, he had a different story to tell on return!

The most demanding lifestyle change of all is brought about by marriage. No matter how well the couple know each other before marriage, staying under the same roof with a commitment for life is a different ball game altogether. It requires huge lifestyle adjustments. Sometime back I heard a person nearing sixty describe how his and his wife’s tastes are polar opposites in every matter. One needs the fan to run at full speed while the other barely needs the fan. One dislikes cold drinks while the other dislikes all hot drinks. He cited many other such instances. It was really amusing to hear him narrate. But, he concluded that in spite of all these differences they have loved each other all these years and have remained committed without any major argument between them. Well, I won’t call it ‘the perfect marriage’ as I have written in one of my previous articles that there aren’t any perfect couples and perfect marriages – only well-adjusted ones.

Lifestyles can be static – especially if people do not wish to let go of traditional generational mannerisms. But, lifestyles can be vibrantly dynamic as well, for people who are open to exploring and imbibing newness and variation.

It’s wise to be open to exploration, but instead of blindly aping on newness, it is prudent to adopt the lifestyle that is good and acceptable in the eyes of God.