“Everyone has the right to choose one’s own lifestyle” are words from a fortune cookie I had pondered, saved, and rediscovered recently in some little time-capsule pocket of my house. I remember reading this and considering the word lifestyle and what it meant to me. And what potential this concept held to release and remake certain of my life choices.

Lifestyle seems to mean any combination of life choices that create and make-up your life. Lifestyle is defined as the “usual way of life of a person, group, or society”. Simply, the way we live. What you do in your spare time, how you dress, where you live, whom you call your friends, and how you earn your living all encompass your lifestyle.

Eureka Moment

You think about the myriad of choices one can make and suddenly, there’s an understanding of how varied an individual’s combination of choices can be from another. In first world countries, the immense power to choose all of this individually and create a life we want to live is totally taken for granted or dismissed and all the while thinking the choices and lives we live are the only ones we can. But truly, we all have an opportunity, recognize it or not, to be uniquely ourselves and happy.

Is there a “right” choice for you?

First, I’d like to say, these are your choices. No one else needs to be given the power to tell you what choices are good for you. It’s your right as an individual to live your “inalienable rights”.

In America, these are protected by a system of laws.

But more, I’d add that your duty to yourself as an individual is to be true to your authentic self. Making choices to live a life aligned with happiness and values is how you do this. People will be uncomfortable with you reclaiming and changing these lifestyle decisions because they haven’t caught on to how they too have the same rights they are resenting you for upholding.

Like when I tell people I don’t shop at Walmart but a few times a year. They look at me like I’m crazy and I’m judging them. But I’m just exercising abstinence of my buying power there.

Another familiar story is the one where you decide to follow your creative dream and someone who you were sure would be supportive, criticizes you or wonders why you do something so risky? They find a typo to prove you weren’t perfect enough. Because their fear tells them that’s crazy talk.

Or you paint your fingernails, wear makeup, or dress in something unusual for your style and suddenly there’s too much attention on you. That’s how I felt, and it made me not want to do it anymore to avoid the attention. Notice how the world projects it’s feelings of change on you. And then do it anyway to prove death doesn’t follow.

All The Choices You Could Make

I could be someone who takes weekends off to cruise around on someone’s yacht. Or I could be showing my art at local art galleries. Or I could be speaking to foreign dignitaries about programs for teens in their countries. Or wearing really cool false eyelashes. I’d have to know people with yachts, have a body of artwork to show, be driven to make a difference for teens, or have some saved money to get the lash extensions, but these are doable lifestyle choices and changes.

The trick for making the changes that hit home for you is to actually listen to your heart and let it lead you. No matter how silly your heart’s desires may seem at first, they have an incredible potential to take you to the place where inevitably it will just be easier being yourself. I’m heading there myself. Maybe I’ll see you there.

If you have any thoughts, please drop a word below in the comments. Or

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