While I was editing the photo of the day, I was listening to the great Neil Diamond song I Am, I Said and pondering just how important our time in New York City has become to us as a family. Not just because we see a doctor there, but because it has brought us closer together. At the same time, the more we bounce between coasts, the more unsettled life feels at times, and the more Neil’s words hit home:
Well, I’m New York City born and raised
I’m lost between two shores
L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home
New York’s home,
but it ain’t mine no more
“I am”… I cried “I am” … said I
And I am lost
and I can’t
Even say why
Leavin’ me lonely still
THE MYTH OF LIFESTYLE DESIGN
Ever since Tim Ferris published his bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek and popularized the term lifestyle design, the idea of building a profitable online business, dropping the day job, and traveling the world living the dream has become the obsession of many wannabe followers. I will admit being seduced by the idea. Who wouldn’t want a life of dreams, white beaches and minimal work!
But life does not work that way. In fact, I am surprised it took so long for many to realize the myth of lifestyle design. Peter Shallard and Alexander Heyne both have written wonderful blog posts on this topic that are well-worth reading. While all of the tenets of lifestyle design are possible, the idea that we can design a particular lifestyle to bring us eternal bliss and fulfillment is what is a myth.
Life is constantly changing, challenging, redirecting us, going left when we want to go right. Just when we get comfortable the apple cart topples over. We get thrown back into chaos to learn, grow, and uncover the meaning of life. You may quit your job, begin traveling the world in search of adventure, only to return home weeks later to spend months caring for a dying loved one. Add spouses and kids to the mix and the lifestyle design myth actually becomes laughable. But all is not lost. There is something to be taken away from all the hype about lifestyle design.
We do have choices about our lifestyle. Where we live, the work we do, who we hang out with, the daily behaviors we do (or don’t do). As a family of three we are constantly weighing our options, asking ourselves whether our present lifestyle is optimizing our individual and collective growth needs. It is one of the reasons we choose to spend most weekends at our cabin. Designing a life around family, community, spiritual growth, creativity and self-discovery is lifestyle design, just without the get-rich-quick hype and perpetual white beaches. Not that hanging out on a white beach from time to time is a bad thing!