BY ASHLEY SPURGEON
There can come a point where interests or activities take over a person. Where the lifestyle or subculture suddenly becomes the most important thing about them, to the detriment of all other aspects in their life. In my extensive research as a human being who has met people, I’ve pinpointed five particular categories of Lifestyle that can turn a well-rounded friend or family member into a one-note evangelist for their preferred pastime.
The Collector. In my particular social circle (love you all), it’s records. Maybe you know someone who collects clothes, or shoes, or laserdiscs, or vintage roller skates, or porcelain, or back issues of rare West German political magazines from the 1970s. Expect to become a mini-expert yourself, by the way, because collectors are very proud of their collections. “Were you mentioning that your grandfather had heart surgery? Funny you should say that, I just bought this really great medical book from the 19th century that has crazy illustrations of human hearts.” And no collector ever collects anything lightweight, so be prepared for some heavy lifting when you’re invariably asked to help them move.
The Decorator. Life is a photoshoot, we’re just living in it. Immaculate homes, immaculate family, immaculate yard. Aaaaany day now a design magazine will profile their home and life — but in the meantime, that’s what Instagram and Pinterest are for! Just because the kitchen is French rustic, though, don’t go thinking you can treat it like a kitchen, getting food everywhere. We’ve all been to homes, I’m sure, that remind us of a quote from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”: “The place is like a museum. It’s very beautiful and very cold, and you’re not allowed to touch anything.”
The Health Nut. Everybody reading this knows at least one person who cannot make it through a friendly conversation without mentioning their foolproof method of how they’re going to live forever. Who hasn’t seen at least one person in their life get sucked away into marathons, or yoga, or veganism, or weightlifting, or Paleo dieting, or this particular kind of Japanese seaweed that will lower your blood pressure if you stick it up your butt? “Stories about other peoples’ children” is the universally accepted “topic that is boring,” but the adventures of Lil’ Jamie on the playground are a thousand times more scintillating than whatever modern-day version of graham crackers and calisthenics your acquaintances are falling into.
The Careerist. There is a certain sort of Type-A person who lives for work, and only work, whatever that work may be. The Medieval convention of names being occupations (see "Miller," "Baker," "Fletcher," "Whatever") would likely be wholly embraced if any of these hard-working people took a second to think about something else:
"Hello, I’m Sam VP of Regional Sales, nice to meet you."
"Hi Sam, I’m Alex Event Planner. Here’s my card."
"Excuse me, I’m Morgan Boutique Manager. Have either of you seen my child, Morgan Boutique Manager-Barista?"
For the record, no one who reads obituaries particularly cares about the work history.
The Appreciator. Have you ever really tasted beer (or wine, strawberries, pork and beans, et cetera ad infinitum)? It’s just that you need to truly open your ears and eyes and nose and understand the essence of a saxophone or the color blue or the scent of a rose. Not these roses, though, these are garbage roses for peasants. Let me tell you about the best roses, it’s a pretty rare cultivar from India that can only be imported under a full moon. Man, India really gets it, don’t you think?
Here is the caveat paragraph, wherein I admit my hypocrisies. It is nice to admire or enjoy something and have the means to acquire it. Makeup is my thing — lipsticks in particular. I have enough to last into the next decade of my life, but will likely acquire more before the month is out. It’s natural to want to live in a home that makes you comfortable and happy. Had I the means, I would reside in an Art Deco wonderland. It’s smart to want to feel your best, doing whatever makes you feel good. (Bustin’ makes me feel good.)
And it’s even better if changing something in your life has caused a real improvement in how you feel; being proud of that is normal! It’s practical to want a job or career that suits you and pays well and makes all of your hopes and dreams come true. In fact, this is such a rare occurrence in our oh-so-odd-modern-world-of-today that you should wholly embrace such opportunities. And it’s fun to like things! I’d never say don’t like things. Learning the interesting minutiae of a topic is the best way to get through terrible dinner parties.
It’s all about balance, you see. Don’t let a lifestyle become the defining aspect of your life. Save it for the newsletter, and let the people closest to you in on all of you, even the parts that aren’t very impressive. That way, when you meet up, you’re free to talk about creative people like writers, actors and musicians — who are, in fact, the worst.