Lifestyle is a word we use to describe the way in which we live. Where we work, whether we go to church, how busy we are, and what we do to relax are all a part of our lifestyle. We find houses, cars, and even jobs and schools based on the lifestyle we want for ourselves. Many people dream of that white-picket-fence lifestyle, with two-and-a-half kids, one dog, two cars, a nine-to-five job, and a middle-class economic status, and some of those people have achieved their optimal lifestyle.
This month, my family moved to Cypress, Texas, and I am realizing all the differences between this suburbian paradise of Houston, and the quaint, tropical town of Lakeland, Florida. In Houston, people are always busy. The traffic is horrendous at all times of the day, the map of the area is far too big to remember, and the rows of cookie-cutter housing and identical streets goes past the horizon in all directions. It takes at least half an hour to go anywhere, and there must be a school zone on every other block. When people say the ‘suburbs’ they are talking about right here, in Cypress, Texas.
Lakeland, on the other hand, is much smaller. It is only a twenty-minute drive to the other side of town, and although we lived a bit outside of town, everything was still close to us. Traffic was never bad, unless there was construction or an accident. Except in the newer neighborhoods, you could never find two houses alike. Everyone had personality, and friendly southern hospitality was abundant at every business.
Moving to Houston has been a major culture shock.
I’ve been asking myself lately, as the end of high school, and the beginning of real life approaches quickly, what kind of lifestyle that I want, and how can I get there? I don’t think I want the white-picket-fence dream, and I don’t want that bustling-but-lonely one-bedroom apartment in New York either. I don’t want to stay in a tiny-yet-friendly town like Lakeland forever, either. So what do I want? I don’t know– I’m still deciding, and I’ve got plenty of time to think on it.
For me, the thought of being able to choose and pursue a lifestyle that I want is ground-breaking. I can define my family culture. I can create and form a lifestyle, based on myself. I don’t have to fit into anywhere– I don’t have to be that twenty-eight-year-old that lives with her parents, and I don’t have to be that successful, career-oriented person with no social life. I don’t have to fit into any of those roles. I don’t have to fit into any pre-designed lifestyle, I can figure it out myself. As long as I have that list of necessities, like transportation, running water, and food covered, I can do anything I want.
I don’t think many people fully understand how important this concept is. Not having to conform to expectations is a huge burden off of my chest– it’s alright to run into financial trouble, as long as you have food, a roof, and water. It’s alright to be considered a ‘failure’ in the eyes of successful people, as long you have food, a roof, and water. It’s okay to choose the lifestyle you want, regardless of letting other people down (Unless you have dependent children. Don’t let them down.) You just choose your battles– what are your priorities? What are the things that you love to do? And how can you go about doing them for the rest of your life?