As many different stars as there are in the sky, so numerous are the lifestyles of humans, but how have they improved or changed through history?
By broad definition, the word “lifestyle” means “the typical way of life of an individual, group or culture” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Defined a bit more specifically, lifestyle can refer to “a way of living of individuals, families (households) and societies, which they manifest in coping with their physical, psychological, social and economic environments on a day-to-day basis” (The Business Dictionary).
We each make a series of choices that define our way of life. We choose what time to wake up, our preferences for food, fashion and music, and how often we should shower. The sum of all such choices eventually becomes our style of life.
Of course, there are also numerous external factors that dictate our lifestyles, too. Laws, religions, social orders and cultures are just some of the many outside variables that contribute to molding our lives.
In Paleolithic times , the lifestyle could be considered man’s “default” way of living. A typical day would include foraging or hunting food, socializing with fellow tribe members, caring for children and elders, and avoiding prehistoric predators.
This might not seem like an ideal lifestyle from the point of view of modern materialism, but it was definitely far more exciting and considerably healthier. Frequent adrenaline fixes made for greater intensity of living and (dare we say) perhaps happier, less stressful lifestyles, too.
Apart from high-profile celebrities and some athletes, most people today avoid adrenaline-producing situations. Our lifestyles are typically based on convenience and, as a result, are generally rather mundane.
Indeed, ever since the advent of farming, man has slowly shifted what’s “normal” from a dynamic lifestyle to a more routine one characterized by prolonged levels of stress.
Our ancestors woke up only when fully rested, not when the alarm clock rang. They spent much of their time stalking and hunting, whereas we sit in traffic jams and express “road rage.”
Hunter-gatherers fasted involuntarily and moved from place to place to seek food resources. We fast voluntarily to curb obesity caused by a sedentary existence fueled by “fast food.”
What we forget sometimes is that the vast majority of lifestyle choices are essentially based upon our own free will. We choose how we want to live.
Laws may prevent us from doing some things, of course, but the most awesome privilege of the modern age is the freedom we have to “stylize” our lives to our liking.
If we feel that our lifestyles have not improved, we can change. We can reclaim control and live in any style we choose, including a much simpler one, more primal and in tune with nature … more like cavemen times.
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