We are defined by our lifestyles. Some people would say “I don’t like his lifestyle” It speaks in volumes. Does it mean the way he dresses, the posh car he drives, the way he speaks, the company he keeps, his mannerisms, or his scandalous life? This is more or less an ensemble of one’s life. Does this description of the man expose his morality? That doesn’t conjure moral excellence.
What is he conveying to the world especially the youths? Is it showing to the youths, what happiness is all about? Is he exhibiting Michael Jackson’s lifestyle? Michael Jackson has exhibited his lifestyle and he is gone, many of his dresses are kept as antiques for posterity. Some may admire him while some may not but how he ended his life was tragic because lifestyles that do not attract people or any form of simplicity is a one way or zombie lifestyle. To the young people who admired his unique dance steps, he was their hero but they did not know what he was facing deep down him. In today’s world, young people get their heroes from television.
They are called Social heroes. A hero’s lifestyle is inspired by spiritual values and is attractive to the young and old. He is spiritually motivated. He exhibits good manners and shows a sense of decorum and he is also admirable. He is from a civilized culture. The social hero lives in his own world and the world that laughs and claps at all he says but may lack content. He may look like a governor of his life but not a governor himself. He can be an impostor and not being real but masquerades himself as real.
One’s lifestyle can make one live outside the mainstream of the society. So one’s inner self reveals who one is in the spiritual and social world. One is not himself when he poses something that is contrary to the world. Social heroes may not like rules that will restrict them from doing what they like. They do not like authorities or harmony in their lives. They do not accept corrections and may love what others hate. Those with bizarre or fake lifestyles do their own things not minding if they hurt people or not.
They have double personae. They are like Actors who need attention of the crowd and when they don’t motivate the crowd properly, the crowd becomes numb and they believe they have lost their audience because of their dead silence. Only a huge crowd motivates them but when the crowd is less they feel empty and may resort to drugs to feel high. A great number of social heroes are not happy as we think and if we imitate them our lives can be ruined.
Those with lifestyles that do not attract people but only impose their personalities in order to be on the limelight are lacking something. All these characteristics define their lifestyle. Habits, both good and bad are clothed in lifestyles. Lifestyle that offends sensibility has no moral foundation. When a hero’s lifestyle does not evoke wonder, candor, civility, spiritual aura, it becomes something everybody receives with skeptical smiles and becomes a butt of ridicule because he mimics life that is meaningful and full of abundance of creative people whom are role models that inspire people.
When people see such a man or woman with a wonderful lifestyle, people long to be nearer to such a person. He becomes a person to be imitated. In another sense, lifestyle can be viewed like a man who indulges in bad habits; egoistic and selfish. The person has bizarre way of looking at the world created by God. He drinks and does not know what it means to live a life of unity of self. Such a person may not know that he has entered the halls of luminary Judges who will dissect his file and welcome him into a hall where people of absurd behaviours and lifestyle are displayed in the gallery of the nation.
They live in our psychic archives. These people ruin their lives through bad habits and pseudo philosophy of life thereby messing up their lives and looking like strangers. Because of their lives, life becomes meaningless and they may not cope with the exigencies of life. They were like you and me. Our different lifestyles can lead us to other disorders such as fear of ourselves and fear of others. In short there would be phobia and the inability to know our surroundings. Fake lifestyles can lead us to premature ageing and we begin to lose the sense of who we are which can lead to adult insanity.
Even though we have been bombarded with much information today, we should know what to pick and what to reject. We must not respond with fear but critical mind, for today many people are suffering the aftermath of destructive messages from the social media that were not vetted before the youths disgorged them. Today, the internet has got hold of the youths which has affected their lifestyles. They believe the rosy and flashy lives of celebrities showcased on the social media while in the real life those celebrities need help and are not as wealthy as they appear.
When they imitate to live their lifestyles, they are caught up with what they never expected. In doing so, there can be disconnect when they live out such life. Many lifestyles are displayed on the television and internet. Internet has become a vendor of false values and lifestyles. Many of our youths are victims of uncensored information and values displayed by the media. They have developed many lifestyles that do not really inspire people. People today sell their cheap ways of living on the internet and the youths are buying them.
What we get from the internet makes us develop a bizarre personality and look awkward in the society. Following bad lifestyle can make one develop drug addiction; a way of escape from pains and sorrows, to live in one’s own world not feeling concerned about what happens in the real world. We must develop critical facility to know how to live in this sophisticated world where many people showcase their lifestyles to the public. We must know what is good for ourselves and what is not good to imitate. It is a tragedy today seeing many young people who have become casualties of lifestyles they imitate without going deeply before adopting such lifestyle.
Very Rev. Msgr. Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author of many books and a Social Justice and Peace Advocate.