Living vs Lifestyle

By Christina Kim - April 17, 2020

One of the most important things that this quarantine period has brought to surface is our way of living. It gives us an opportunity to closely examine and to take a microscopic view of the existing ways of how we have been living until now. With the restrictions imposed during this time, it goes without saying that grocery shopping is not like before. In fact, even stepping outside our houses is already considered a challenge and it is of course crucial not just for the containment of the outbreak but also for our own safety. It would do us good (even without the authoritative order) to stay inside our own homes unless it is absolutely necessary, i.e.: to buy food and groceries or any essentials needed such as medication. Even so, there are still many who failed to comprehend nor comply with such an advice, insisting on going out every single day (as they had been doing all the while on their normal routines) to buy their favourite food even if it is all the way in another district or even to buy their groceries every other day, when they ran out of one carton of milk or their favourite snack. It sounds ridiculous but there is not one or two, but many who are doing the same thing which is frustrating everyone and the authorities, as people are still going out and about as though nothing is happening and that it is just any other day.

Also, when it comes to groceries, many buy amounts of perishable goods in numbers which do not last long, with excuses that they prefer fresh or maybe just to find the reason to justify them going out a few days later and all these just defeat the purpose of the lockdown in the very first place. This brings me to my focal point here, about the way we are doing our groceries. 
No, I am not providing a lesson on how to do your grocery shopping, that is up to you.
However, take a look at your grocery basket/cart, are you buying or stocking up on the essentials needed for survival or for a long term vacation. Of course, it is not something that I would like to judge nor would I want to, but just to share my personal perspectives on.

Limitations imposed no longer allow us to have a lot of choices to do anything we want and in fact, I am sure we have noticed that even supermarkets and stores have limited varieties as compared to days before this. The reason is simple, it is all about survival, and when it comes to survival, we should only look at our basic needs and not our desires. This quarantine is only temporary (hopefully) and we should be returning to our lives as soon as this whole issue is resolved and we only need to look at the means to maintain our lives and not enjoying ourselves. Besides, this is really not a time to be partying when there are people dying all around the world, every single waking second. Also, spare a thought for the health workers, do you think they would be looking through the menus to decide what they should have for lunch after their shifts are over? It is just about filling their stomachs, to get them going. 
I am not telling you to live like a monk either, or not to buy your favourite food, and stay in a sombre mood. No, it is just a perspective that we can all look at, that when it comes to a time when we need to purely survive, can we differentiate between trying to live or are we still trying to live and maintain a lifestyle?
In fact, it will also make a huge difference in managing our expenses and this is something that most working class people, striving to make a living would understand. They do not have the luxury nor the privilege to enjoy a burger every day or a chocolate fudge several times a week. These are their occasional treats, the once-in-a-blue-moon kind and usually only when a special occasion calls for it. We are again very fortunate to be able to have and enjoy anything we want just with a single craving.

However, this time is also a time of uncertainty and whether we are privileged or not, it is also interesting to look at ourselves and ponder upon this concept. One of the simplest and cliche ways to put this into perspective is to imagine ourselves being stuck in the forest or on an island without any mode of communication. 
Do we still strive to maintain a lifestyle, or do we just simply want to find a way to survive until we get out of that isolation?
Sure, there will be some who will still lament their fates and get frustrated as their minds are filled with all their favourite treats and that unfulfilled cravings but imagine being stuck longer than expected, and this, being on an isolated place means an indefinite time of being there where in our current lockdown situation, we are still told of the deadline. Then there is the availability of resources, on an island or in the forest, there is no grocery store nor your favourite pizza joint but only nature and you don't even the faintest idea on where you actually are, let alone know the way to the river or anywhere you can find food.
This is the perfect example to highlight the needs for living as when it boils down to a situation like that, with nothing, after all that whining, we will snap to our senses and realise that we need to, no, we must survive and make it out alive. The will and determination will give rise to strength to keep us going. That is when we know that we need to have the basics to keep ourselves alive which probably only comes down to air, water and food. We will figure out ways to find that source of water which we can drink, and forage for plants and even living beings (sans human of course, but in "Alive" - the book and movie, it shows us otherwise) to satisfy that hunger and to simply keep ourselves alive. Never mind about our skills, when we are forced to, we can and will definitely survive. That is how and what us humans are made of. It is no longer the time to think of things we want when even trying to survive each day is so mind-boggling. 
Living is basically being a survivor on one's own, and what we really need, our basic needs, which, when you really come to think of it, is not really that much for it is all about keeping our lives. Staying alive, that is.

So, what we have been doing and the way we have been living has simply evolved into a lifestyle and that is of course, not surprising, given the evolution of life in general as well. It is not that we cannot enjoy all the things we want, in fact, we are truly blessed, privileged even to be able to enjoy everything and anything we want in this modern age but that probably has led us to be complacent and perhaps a little greedy as it seems that the more we have, the more we seem to want and that is the problem for we have lost sight of what is truly important and think that everything is important. We can no longer separate the essentials versus the luxuries and they have overlapped each other, blurring the lines, confusing us even further or perhaps, we have allowed ourselves to continue to be misled by that misty situation simply because we do not want to get out of it for our pure enjoyment.

That is the reason why I see that this quarantine period slowly brings to light that reality and for us to realise that with limited resources, we could actually do without most of the stuffs we used to have especially since we cannot replenish everything right now when they run out. We just do not have the luxury to nor the means to, as everyone is confined to their homes where not even the vendors are allowed to operate unless they fall into the category of essentials such as food and critical functions. Furthermore, there are also many who have been affected as they are not allowed to work where even their basic mode or rather, their source of income is already on the borderline and they are even more savvy with their spending where they can no longer splurge on anything they want anytime. 
This is the important realisation that we have built too much on a lifestyle and we have lost sight of truly living.

We do not need that much to live upon, to be honest and all that we think we "need" are actually more of a desire. When it comes down to it, we will realise that we can do without it as well, especially during this time for even if you think you "need" it, you simply cannot get it anyway and you are forced to make do without it and you will realise that even without it, you are still breathing and alive.

Of course we can still live and enjoy a lifestyle, but just take some time to ponder upon this, have we built too much of a lifestyle to really focus on living and do we still remember what truly living means? Are we just too focused on the material needs that we think are important to keep us going and lose sight of what truly matters most?
Besides, air, water, and food, think about love, health and passion and other things or even people close to our hearts.
There are definitely more things more important than that chocolate fudge or brownie you reach out for.

Ask yourself, do you really know the difference between living and lifestyle?

To live is to stay alive and be human and a lifestyle is simply one built of wants and needs and to be perceived as the ability of more as we want to be seen as living a good life, which has gotten us to be sucked into this whole thing in the modern society.

In a time like this, is it important to live or to have a lifestyle?

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
Photos/Videos all belong to me and are copyrighted.
Please kindly ask for permission if you need to use any of my images.

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